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Osprey Combat Aircraft No. 68


F-117 Stealth Fighter Units of Operation Desert Storm



Warren Thompson


S u m m a r y

Publisher and Catalogue Details: Osprey Combat Aircraft No. 68 F-117 Stealth Fighter Units of Operation Desert Storm
ISBN: 1846031823
Media and Contents: Soft cover, 96 pages
Price: GB£12.99 online from Osprey Publishing
Review Type: FirstRead
Advantages: Detailed coverage of subject, good first hand accounts.
Recommendation: Recommended

Reviewed by Mick Evans

Osprey's F-117 Stealth Fighter Unit of Desert Storm is available online from Squadron.com




Recently my local club, the ACT Scale Modellers Society hosted the outgoing Air Attache from the US Embassy. Why was this significant? Well the officer was in fact one of the pilots who flew the F-117 Stealth Fighter over one of the most defended cities on Earth during the opening phase of Operation Desert Storm. He and his cohort single handedly changed the face of aerial warfare, bringing new meaning to the effects of precision and rendering air defences obsolete along the way. Even as they are withdrawn from service, the Stealth Fighter has gained a unique place in the collective consciousness and for anyone who is unable to hear the war stories first hand, Osprey’s new title is a good starting point to understand how they achieved this.
This book by Osprey regular and Korean War Historian Warren Thompson is a quite detailed examination and analysis of the combat use of the F-117 in the 1991 war, and the lead up deployments and training that preceded it. The first chapter, “Top Secret” sets the scene for the subsequent narrative. An overview of the origin of the Stealth Fighter is followed by an examination of the workup process of the 37th TFW from secret unit based at Tonopah in the Nellis Range Complex to the media darling of Coalition air power in 1991. The following chapters follow a conventional format, ranging from the build-up of Desert Shield to the first night where the F-117 really proved its worth. The final two chapters cover memorable missions as seen by the various aircrew involved and the end game of the air war as ops transitioned from strategic strike to close air support and the utility of F-117 came to an end.

Also included are three useful appendices. From these appendices the reader can get an idea of the combat chronology of the F-117, a list of aircrew involved and an graphical explanation of the lessons of stealth, the enemy’s ability to exert command rapidly degraded even as his conventional forces remained strong, thanks to the precision of stealth attacks. Two pages of 1/96 scale drawings of the F-117 round this section out. As is usual for Osprey Publications, 21 colour profiles fill the centre pages. A recent feature of Osprey volumes is a nose art gallery (or should that be weapons bay door art) and two pages are included in this volume. This is a visually appealing approach and allows the coverage of more aircraft than the profiles would normally allow.



The book consists of 96 pages printed on glossy paper between cardboard covers.

This Osprey Book is comprehensive but, as I have observed with previous volumes, is not a definitive modellers reference. The majority of included photographs are small, but in common with many of the volumes on US subjects, includes a generous amount of colour.

Anyone wishing to model a Desert Storm F-117 will probably however not find any better references out there given the secrecy surrounding the F-117. What this volume delivers most effectively is the critical human dimension taking a model from being a toy to a historical replica capturing a moment in time.


Thanks to Osprey Publishing for the review sample

F-117 Stealth Fighter Units of Operation Desert Storm
(Combat Aircraft 68)
Visit Osprey Publishing
Author: Warren Thompson
Illustrator: Mark Styling
US Price: $20.95
UK Price: £12.99
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publish Date: April, 2007
Details: 96 pages; ISBN: 1846031823
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Review Copyright © 2007 by Ken Bowes
Page Created 25 July, 2007
Last updated 24 December, 2007

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