How Serbia Shot Down the Stealth F-117

Discussion in 'Military History' started by Pathfinder, Mar 23, 2016.

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  1. Pathfinder

    Pathfinder Lieutenant Colonel

    Dec 17, 2015
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    Serb discusses 1999 downing of stealth


    Canopy from the downed F-117, in a Serbian museum.
    SKORENOVAC, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) — Col. Zoltan Dani was behind one of the most spectacular losses ever suffered by the U.S. Air Force: the 1999 shooting down of an F-117A stealth fighter.

    Military analysts debated how the planes would fare in a war against a militarily sophisticated opponent if an obsolescent air defense such as Serbia's could manage to track and destroy them.

    In an interview this week with The Associated Press, Dani said the F-117 was detected and shot down during a moonless night — just three days into the war — by a Soviet-made SA-3 Goa surface-to-air missile.

    "We used a little innovation to update our 1960s-vintage SAMs to detect the Nighthawk," Dani said. He declined to discuss specifics, saying the exact nature of the modification to the warhead's guidance system remains a military secret.

    It involved "electromagnetic waves," was all that Dani — who now owns a small bakery in this sleepy village just north of Belgrade — would divulge.


    The F-117 was developed in great secrecy in the 1970s. It entered service in 1983 but was not revealed officially until 1988. It saw its first combat in the 1989 invasion of Panama and was a star of the 1991 Gulf War.

    "Long before the 1999 war, I took keen interest in the stealth fighter and on how it could be detected," said Dani, who has been hailed in Serbia as a war hero. "And I concluded that there are no invisible aircraft, but only less visible."
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