The A-12 Avenger II - America’s First Real ‘Stealth Fighter’

In October of 1983, the world’s first operational stealth aircraft took to the skies under cover of both physical and metaphorical darkness. This new jet, dubbed the F-117 Nighthawk, would revolutionize America’s approach to air warfare, pivoting away from the higher and faster mantra that had dominated much of the Cold War, and toward the doctrine of stealth. As of its introduction in 1983, being sneaky became more important than being powerful in military aviation. While this technical frontier was first explored by the U.S. Air Force, by the time the Nighthawk was on duty prowling the sky, the U.S. Navy wanted a stealth platform all their own.

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