U.S. F-117A stealth fighters to stay in S.Korea until November
SEOUL, Oct. 1 (Xinhuanet) -- A squadron of U.S. F-117A stealth fighters
deployed to South Korea three months ago will remain in the Asian
country until this November, South Korean Yonhap News Agency quoted an
official at South Korean Ministry of National Defense as reporting on
The radar-evading combat aircraft, dubbed the "Nighthawk", will continue
to conduct training aimed at familiarizing themselves with the
geographical features of the Korean Peninsula until November at the
latest, the official said.
The five-month deployment of a Nighthawk squadron is rare, as the U.S.
military dispatched the fighters to South Korea in 1993, 1996, and 2003
to attend the annually "Foal Eagle" joint military exercises and only to
withdraw them two to three months later. A squadron usually comprises 12
to 24 airplanes.
The Nighthawk is the world's first operational stealth jet and is used
to penetrate dense-threat environments and attack high-value targets
with accuracy. The fighter employs a range of weapons, including GBU-27
laser-guided bombs and AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface guided missiles.
In August, the U.S. military also deployed a squadron of U.S. F-15E
Strike Eagles from Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska to South Korea for
months of training.
I was stationed at Kunsan AB, Korea '93-'94 and remember well when the F-117 was there. I was Transient Alert/Crash Recovery and we got a "familiarization" tour of them as we were first responders if anything happened to them (in-flight emergency or ground emergency). It was an interesting tour and what sticks out in my mind is that they told us not to touch any of the black coated surfaces with our bare hands as the coating had been found to cause cancer, this of course was after many years of maintainers handling the coating without gloves when the jet was still in the "black" program. The other thing we had to do is refer to it as another name (liberty I think) on any radio traffic we had as well over the phones, we had Koreans asking about the mystery plane but couldn't tell them anything as they only flew at night and never came out of their shelters during the day. I remember one time we had a F-117 land and declared a ground emergency for hot brakes, we responded down to the EOR but had to call the tower and inform the Liberty jet to turn on some kind of wing lights so we could see it. At Kunsan when they black out the flightline/runway area there is no residual lighting and could not tell how to approach the aircraft and park/respond without the pilot giving us some kind of indication where he was located.
Ahhhh....Kunsan AB. I was there in '85, when we really scared the North Koreans. We had three squadrons of F-16s with tactical nuclear bombs. If they decided to start any serious shit, we could turn it into a very short war.
Believe me the Kun hadn't changed much from '85 when I was there. The Army moved in their Patriot batteries that Spring and kind of took over the chow halls...that sucked and I'm glad I left when I did! We only had two squadrons of F-16's then and it was the 35th and 80th...you've never been Packed till you've been Wolf Packed!
P.S.---They did add a Burger King (tiny) in next to the Robin Hood sandwiches shop before I left though
That wasnt the first time they were scared. And it wasnt like we were never scared either.
You should have been there and up north for Kim Il Sungs 70th birthday (Google)
The rumor was always he was coming to Seoul for his 70th Birthday, but nobody ever really believed it, until the week before it happened.
We went on alert once a month every month, year in and year out, but always in the morning, daytime or during the evening. This time was different, we went on alert about an hour after curfew (0100). We had never gone on alert during curfew (12-4 or 5, shit, years ago I forget). And never full loadout. Ammo, all gear, everything. Our tanks (M48A5's) were always combat loaded, and we always did NBC stuff, but TA-50 was for the field, not for bugouts.
And every swingin dick rolled out. HHT, everyone. Full bugout. Armor out the gate first, then everyone else. The ROK's across the road and down the road were already rollin when we left.
Lord only knows what was in country for that event, but I know there was enough fear to go around on both sides.
I was in the 35th from JAN97 to JAN98. Worth a visit, but what a horrid place to be for a year.
The F-117 skin isn't what possibly causes cancer, it's the "butter" that fills the seams. Also the naptha they used to clean the skin isn't very good for you either.
(worked on the thing for 4 yrs)
I'm going to be Packed this coming Feb. RNLTD 10 Feb 05 to Kunsan.
Trust me, at Kunsan we understood all too well the stakes involved in our (then) 30-year stand-off. Because of the payload that we could deliver, we were near the very top of Kim Il Sung's "To Do" list if the balloon ever went up. When he was rebuffed in his demands to co-host the 1988 Olympics, he started making all kinds of threats. We were on alert and in chem-gear half the damn time. Still, a great experience.
To anyone at Kunsan during the '90s; was B-Town still there?
B-Town was a bar run by the cop squadron out of an old portable building. The folks who ran the NCO Club hated us, because we were pretty popular and took away some of their business, but there were just enough senior officers around who thought that closing us down would be bad for morale.
From what I understand the USA only as 59 of those $2 billion planes, and we're down to 58 since one crashed in Bosnia.
Yes it is. Crew Chief. I'm going to the 35th.
I was with the Army and I did a few TDY's to the Kun in 1990. Never heard of B-Town, but we sure tore up A-town. My unit ran our own unit bar up at Camp Red Cloud. I heard they got shut down when someone noticed they were buying $500.00 bucks worth of beer at a whack.
Tuesday, October 5, 2004
8th Fighter Wing to relocate during Kunsan runway work
By Franklin Fisher, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Thursday, September 30, 2004
The roar of jets on the runway at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea soon will give way to the rumble of dump trucks and cement mixers as the base closes its runway for major repairs.
Meanwhile, the F-16 fighter planes of Kunsan’s 8th Fighter Wing will have flown to another air base in South Korea, where pilots and support troops will live and train while their home runway is repaired, said 1st Lt. Michelle Estep, a wing spokeswoman.
“They are being moved to another location on the peninsula and they’ll return here when the runway’s complete,” Estep said, declining for security reasons to name the other base.
“We’re going to conduct our everyday operations and we’re going to maintain our readiness. We’re just not going to have any flying going on” at Kunsan.
She said she could not divulge, for security reasons, what would become of a squadron of F-117 Night Hawk warplanes. The Night Hawks, more commonly known as stealth fighter-bombers, have been at Kunsan since July. They’re on a temporary deployment from the 49th Fighter Wing at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.
Repair work is to begin Monday and end Nov. 27, said 1st Lt. Sang Lee, chief maintenance engineer with the wing’s 8th Civil Engineer Squadron.
The $7 million project will replace worn concrete slabs, remove skid-like layers of rubber formed when aircraft tires touch down, repaint lines, and repair “spalling” — loose concrete fragments that create pitting or potholes.
“Over time, as you can imagine, the planes are coming down pretty fast and pretty hard and when the rubber meets concrete, the rubber peels. We have to remove it because it covers up the markings, and rubber has less traction than a concrete surface will,” Lee said.
Also scheduled is replacing the “threshold lights” on each end of the runway, extending the approach lights and installing or repairing airfield signs.
Those replacing concrete slabs likely will have their hands full. The slabs measure 25 square feet and can range from 13 inches to 18 inches thick, Lee said.
“To replace one whole pad — we’re talking a lot of concrete,” he said.
But the replacements are crucial.
“If you have a severe crack that goes along the length or width of it, it’s not supporting the load now,” Lee said of cracked slabs. “We consider it a critical failure.”
Fresh sealant also is important, he said: “It’s the synthetic material that’s between. Wherever those slabs meet, you want to create pretty much a water-tight seal because you don’t want water getting between the concrete slabs. If you have water between the cracks, when the weather gets cold and you have the freeze-thaw cycle, it’ll just destroy the concrete.”
First, they don't cost $2 billion. You're thinking of the B-2. The F-117A comes in at a cool $42.6 million per. Second, they originally built 59, but there have been numerous crashes over the years. Bakersfield in '86, on the range in '87, the E-Bay fire in about 93/94, another on the Holloman range in the late 90's, the airshow crash, the shootdown, probably one or two I'm missing (it's early, and I'm not thinking full speed yet). Two full squadrons, plus a training squadron, plus some test assets left.
F-117A pilot '88-'91
Date Cause Comments
04/20/82 Crossed Controls First production F-117A
07/11/86 Spatial Disorientation Maj. Ross E. Mulhare killed
09/14/97 Missing Support Bolts
08/04/92 Incorrect Installation of Air Duct
03/27/99 UNKNOWN Probable enemy fire Lost over Yugoslavia during OPERATION ALLIED FORCE Pilot rescued by CSAR Teams
10/14/87 Spatial Disorientation Maj. Michael C. Stewart killed
05/10/95 Spatial Disorientation Capt. Kenneth W. Levens killed