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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Timeframe: A stealthy visitor arrives in Dubai

The stealth aircraft first flew in 1981, had a distinctive angular design, and claimed to be virtually undetectable on radar

AFP Photo
AFP Photo

It’s not what you’d typically expect to see at an airport. Sitting on the apron alongside passenger planes, helicopters and military jets is a Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk. It’s December, 2003, and Dubai Airshow is in full swing – with this United States-constructed Nighthawk its star attraction. The distinctive black aircraft first flew in 1981 and claimed to be virtually undetectable on radars. It came to prominence in the 1991 Gulf War, in which it flew more than 1,000 sorties and was dubbed the “stealth fighter”, despite being primarily an attack aircraft. It was also deployed in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The Nighthawk only sustained one loss – in 1999 over the former Yugoslavia, before retirement in 2007.

This year’s Dubai Airshow starts on Sunday at Al Maktoum International Airport, where, you will be able to see a Sukhoi Su-35 Russian fighter; the Saudi Antonov/Taqnia An-132 twin-engined military transport plane; and the new Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 passenger jet.

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