Years later, when it was officially withdrawn from service, the F-117 continues to fly stealth attack aircraft at night and actively participate in various exercises and activities of the US Air Force. On this occasion, their presence in Alaska occurred in the framework of the multinational air exercise Northern Edge 23.
Operating out of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, the F-117 shares platform and air operations with the latest combat aircraft from the US, UK and Australian Air Force. Despite the fact that no further details have been officially released about the operations of the famous Nighthawks, various analysts agree that the F-117s have fulfilled the role of attackers as well as flight test platforms. The main features of these aircraft continue to meet current challenges, which makes them an ideal platform to evaluate the capabilities of different armed systems that are in service in the US, Australia and Britain, as in the case of the 23rd Northern Edge.
Northern Edge began on May 23 with the goal of implementing joint, multinational and multi-domain air operations, “…encouraging joint interoperability and improving the combat agility of participating forces…”. One of the goals of Northern Edge is that participants can practice in a challenging multi-dimensional environment, where scenarios are represented very close to real situations.
David Piffarerio, NE 23-1 exercise manager, said, “… this is the largest and most complex North Edge exercise we have ever conducted. We have gathered the best soldiers from overseas services to include Guard and Reserve, as well as our partners from the UK and Australia… This includes the participation of the nation’s current capable weapons and communications systems: F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning II, F/A-18E/ F Super Hornet, EF-18G Growler, F-16C/D Fighting Falcon, F-15E Eagle and B-1B lance bombers.
Photo: USAF – Airman 1st Class Shelimar Rivera RosadoPhoto: USAF – Airman 1st Class Julia Lebens
Photo: USAF – Sheila deVera
Within this framework, the participation of the F-117 Nighthawk continues to stand out to demonstrate its validity, despite the fact that the US Air Force officially retired it more than 15 years ago. So while Night’s presence in the USAF depot did not last long, it surfaced a few years ago for the return to service of the famous “Stealth” fighter-bombers famous for the “Desert Shield/Desert Storm” operation.