|Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk|
|Class||Ground Attack Aircraft|
|Armor||Front 0 / Side 0 / Rear 0 / Top 0|
|Fuel Capacity||4500 L|
|Type||Airborne, Mechanized, Armored, Motorized, Support|
|Bomb||GBU-27/B Paveway III (AoE, F&F)|
The American F-117 Nighthawk first appeared in Wargame: AirLand Battle, serving as a stealth ground attack aircraft to NATO forces. The F-117 appears in the game as a prototype, so a national bonus is needed.
The Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk is a single-seat, twin-engine stealth ground-attack aircraft formerly operated by the United States Air Force (USAF). Its first flight was in 1981, and it achieved initial operating capability status in October 1983. The F-117 was "acknowledged" and revealed to the world in November 1988.
A product of Lockheed Skunk Works and a development of the Have Blue technology demonstrator, it became the first operational aircraft initially designed around stealth technology. The F-117A was widely publicized during the Persian Gulf War of 1991. It was commonly called the "Stealth Fighter" although it was a ground-attack aircraft.
The F-117 Nighthawk is best used to incinerate concentrated unarmored enemy pockets. Given its exceptional stealth capabilities, it could avoid many types of Anti-Air weaponry, which renders it useful even for destroying sparse Anti-Aircraft vehicles. The drawbacks to this aircraft are that it could only carry a single GBU-10 Paveway II Laser-Guided bomb, so once it is delivered the aircraft must return back to base. In addition, the GBU-10 bomb is useful only for relatively unarmored targets, although it still could deliver some devastation to lightly armored and recon vehicles. The best a strike on a pocket of enemy Main Battle Tanks could do is stun the tanks for awhile while causing relatively little damage. It is also worth noting that even though the F-117 can avoid many types of air defense, once it is spotted it could still be shot down, especially by enemy air-superiority fighters due to the fact that this aircraft is not at all armored and that it does not carry any other weapons besides its main bomb. Therefore, it is still wise to protect the F-117 with your air superiority fighters like any other ground attack aircraft.
In summary, the F-117 is useful to some players of the American faction as means of delivering a quick burst to their command points, but it is not a necessity and could be replaced by the cheaper F-111E.
The F-117 Nighthawk in Wargame: Red Dragon is a 150-point Stealth bomber available to American decks. It carries two GBU-27/B Paveway III, which have similar characteristics to the GBU-10 Paveway II carried in AirLand Battle. The type features Exceptional stealth, but no ECM and no aerial armament, and so if it directly overflies an enemy SAM site, or is closed upon by enemy fighters, can be shot down fairly easily.
It's a good idea to order the Nighthawk to the side of the map to avoid detection, as you would do with a SEAD aircraft. When used properly, the Nighthawk is great at destroying enemy AA and entrenched infantry. However, the Nighthawk doesn't carry any weapon other than their Paveway bombs and once spotted, can easily be shot down by enemy fighters. Thus, sending it out when enemy Air Superiority Fighters (ASFs) are patrolling behind their line is a terrible idea. Sending out the Nighthawk with an escort is a viable option, but considering the fact that fighters are not as stealthy as the Nighthawk, it could blow the surprise and make the enemy send their own fighters to shoot down the Nighthawk once it is spotted. It is therefore imperative to clear the airspace with your ASFs before sending out the Nighthawk alone to achieve surprise.