When The US Tried To Sneak A F-117 Across Austria

When The US Tried To Sneak A F-117 Across Austria | World War Wings Videos

YouTube / The Military Now

A Minor Misunderstanding?

The whole story dates back to October 18, 2002, just before the second invasion of Iraq. That day, the US Air Force filed a routine flight plan for a KC-10A tanker to fly over neutral Austrian airspace. 

Wikimedia CC / DOD

But the Air Force left out one (or two) detail(s) – they must have forgotten to mention that there would also be two Lockheed F-117A Nighthawks tucked tightly beneath its wings.

It didn’t take long for Austria to think something was afoot, unsurprisingly. The KC-10A was hurriedly detected by Austria’s Goldhaube radar system as it approached Tyrol. 

Wikimedia CC / David E. Lucas

In response, the Austrians scrambled two Saab J-35 Drakens to lurk behind and photograph the tanker for ten minutes. There were even reports saying that the US’ formation tried a “defensive maneuver” when the Austrian Drakens closed in!

Luckily, no shots were fired – though it did spark a brief diplomatic spat between the US and Austria.

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