During the Cold war years, the US Air Force planned to use the Stealth F-117 Nighthawk to launch nuclear attacks on the then Soviet Union. It was the first stealth airplane that went into service possessed by the US.
Stealth F-117 Nighthawk: one of a kind
First entering service in the USAF in late 1983, it was the first plane that radar could not easily detect with its unique design. It is designed to penetrate the challenging Russian network of radars, and surface-to-air missiles that would shoot down ordinary planes easily spotted, reported the Fighter Jets World.
Some planes like the B-52H and B-1B bombers and F-111 strike fighters could enter soviet airspace flying at low altitudes. Things changed as the Soviets developed more advanced radar systems made to counter them.
These new systems were put into service before the Nighthawk was operational, more threats like the MiG-31 Foxhound and MiG-25PD (4th gen) were equipped with advanced radar, and the R-33 radar-guided homing missile next was using S-300 long-range air defense systems that can shoot down American bombers like the B-52 and B-1B.
Improvements in Soviet air defenses made conventional planes easily detected and will have a lower chance of surviving. This is why the Nighthawk was forced into service to deal with these threats.
The Senior Trend Program was the Nighthawk source, which needed to carry all arms the USAF had to offer; it is a tactical fighter and strike craft born in the 1970s.
It all came down to what the Stealth F-117 Nighthawk can do with its weaknesses and strength; it can carry various weapons like nuclear gravity bombs-namely the B57 and B61.
Looking at the F-117, it was customary to think the Soviets will have a handful stopping it from entering air defenses. The Nighthawk was made to enter and launch weapons undetected by radar.
Components of its stealth is the shape that lessens radar detection via materials that absorb radar waves, advanced software on the plane's computer, that was second to none that made it the most survivable bomber in the USAF inventory.
One of the problems is detection via long-wave radars; the F-117 was most vulnerable at shorter radar wavelengths, less visible than non-stealth planes. Considering it can be seen, it was better at reaching targets than less stealthy planes that would be shot down.
They are designed to carry nuclear bombs like the B57 and B61 nuclear gravity bombs, with Aircraft Monitoring and Control (AMAC) panel to improve its chances of destroying its targets with more precision.
Most Nighthawks had a pre-planned route to avoid Soviet air defenses at their thickest and pass-through gaps with fewer defenses. The pilot can avoid long-wavelength radar systems and avoid getting seen until it delivers its payload.
F-117 units would be operating in Europe and pass through Warsaw Pact countries before reaching the Soviet Union, between fighters and surface to air batteries that can make short work the stealth fighter if detected.
If the Stealth F-117 Nighthawk does get to lay down its B57 or B61 tactical nuclear warheads, that is not as precise as munitions are now. It has to fly out in a huff to fly back unmolested by missiles or interceptors, but they are designed to survive a nuclear blast, unlike other planes.