FJV, I doubt F-117 retirement in 2007 had anything to do with the shoot-down in Serbia in 1998. The airframes were getting old. We lost one in combat and six in peacetime. See below.
Wicked, the shoot-down actually had a lot to do with the skill of the Serbs. They fought the war in survival mode, constantly relocating their SAMs (at least once a day), and rarely turning on their local acquisition radars unless they had other indications that NATO aircraft were nearby. This allowed them to avoid getting killed and remain a threat throughout the war. Of course, it also prevented them from getting more than just a few shots and basically ceded air superiority to us, allowing us to bomb our targets with near-impugnity. But it also meant we had to provide SEAD throughout the 78-day campaign.
Just as Herald said above, and I and many others have said before, LO is not invisibility. Even a SPOON REST or FLAT FACE may well be able to detect, and even a LOW BLOW may well be able to lock onto, an LO aircraft when it's only a dozen miles away. No further mental gymnastics are necessary to explain the event than that.
... Even a SPOON REST or FLAT FACE may well be able to detect, and even a LOW BLOW may well be able to lock onto, an LO aircraft when it's only a dozen miles away ...
© 1998 -