Hobbymaster 1/72nd scale HA5804 Lockheed F-117A “Gray Dragon” 53 TEG Det 1, 53 WG, USAF, Holloman AFB, 2004. Buy online at Flying Tigers.
In the 1970’s Soviet air defense systems improved and the U.S. realized they had to develop aircraft to counter this. Lockheed Skunk Works was tasked with the job and two aircraft were built under the code name “Have Blue” that proved stealth aircraft could be produced. As a result the F-117 Nighthawk was developed and first flew in 1981 with the first production F-117 80-10785 making its maiden flight on April 20, 1982 but it wasn’t until 1988 that the Pentagon confirmed its existence.
The Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk 0835 “The Dragon” first flew June 30, 1988. During the Gulf War 0835 carried out twenty six combat missions with the 416th TFS. In 2003 0835 was painted all gray; hence the Gray Dragon, to test the effectiveness of a color other than black. The standard F-117 black scheme helped stealth at night but was poor in sun light so 0835 was flown twice daily to test the 24 hour stealth presence. Before any conclusion had been reached the Nighthawk fleet was retired.