After several attempts, the U.S. Air Force is finally getting rid of the F-117 light bomber. Long called the "stealth fighter," the F-117 was designed from the start as a bomber. But the aircraft is now 18 years old. It's really 1970s technology that, after years of effort, was made to work in the 1980s. But better stuff is out there, and the stealth technology of the F-117 is obsolete when it comes to some of the more recent sensor developments. The new F-22 will be a direct, and more effective, replacement for the F-117 as a light bomber. Plus, the F-22 is also a superior fighter.
Earlier attempts to take the F-117 out of service ran up against political opposition. Bases would have to be closed, which means lost jobs. The air force has since worked out deals to take care of that angle, and the F-117 will be gone within a few years. The last class of F-117 pilots was just graduated. The air force believes that, with the F-22 being able to do the job of the F-117 so efficiently, the political opponents to retiring the F-117 will be overwhelmed. Yeah, that's what logic would say. But when it comes to defense dollars and politics, anything is possible.