As Time Goes By
The Strategy Page notes that the USAF is retiring the F-117 Nighthawk, the original Stealth light bomber which featured in Desert Storm. The Airforce also announced it is closing the F-117 flight school. "The F-117 Nighthawk pilot school has closed its canopy. The last class of F-117 pilots graduated from the school on Oct. 13, according to 49th Fighter Wing at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. The closure of the formal training unit was the latest sign that the F-117 is being phased out at Holloman and will eventually be replaced by the F-22A Raptor." (Air Force Times)
It may not be entirely accurate to regard the F-117 as being "replaced" by the F-22. Perhaps a better way to understand the aircraft's retirement is that the deep strike role it performed can now be better handled by a variety of other and less vulnerable platforms, some of which may be unmanned. And unlike the B-52, the F-117 airframe may not have any inherent virtues other than its radar evasiveness. Obsolescence is often a function of irrelevance rather than chronological age.