The F-117A Black jet (also known as Nighthawk) was one of American aviation's best-kept secret. The attack aircraft was developed in 1976 at the clandestine Skunk Works facility and flown under the code name Have Blue. Leading the project was Ben Rich, who employed mathematician Bill Schroeder and computer scientist Denys Overholser to complete the project. After a few equations, they created the Echo computer program, which allows the aircraft to be designed with flat panels that can scatter over 99% of radar's signal energy. This would render the Black jet practically invisible under the radar. Skunk Work's founder and consultant Kelly Johnson wasn't impressed by the technology, saying that the plan would not work. Nonetheless, Rich's idea took flight and the Echo program was immediately applied to the F-117 prototype during the production. The first unit, the YF-117A, made its maiden flight in June 18, 1981. The Black jet officially entered production in 1982 and entered the US Air Force. However, up until November 1988, the entire F-117 fleet was kept as a secret even after the USAF employed it. The Black jet wasn't strictly a stealth fighter as it had no ammunition that would allow it to engage in dogfights. But the stealth technology applied in creating this aircraft enabled it to fly undetected by enemy radar.
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