The Stealth Fighter, or F-117A Nighthawk, although a fairly antiquated aircraft by the time of the GLA conflict, was still put to good use by certain USA generals. In spite of its name the Stealth Fighter was more accurately a ground-attack or strike bomber aircraft, able to fire up to two missiles at a target before returning to a friendly Air Field to reload. More aptly for its name, the Stealth Fighter was invisible to most enemies at all times except when unloading its missiles or detected by any stealth-detect units and defences. Particularly effective against base defense structures, the Stealth Fighter gained further usefulness later in the war with the introduction of Bunker Buster Bombs.
The majority of US generals had to opt for the Stealth Fighter as a promotional choice if they wished to obtain it. However, Air Force General Granger could obtain them without spending promotional points. Also, keeping with the cutting edge of defensive countermeasures, Granger equipped his Stealth fighters with point defense lasers to protect them from enemy missiles.
|“|| Bunker Buster Bombs are ready sir!|
- Airfield Technician
- Bunker Busters - Made available later in the conflict, following the vast deployment of GLA Tunnel Networks. Bunker Busters were not only capable of eliminating infantry garrisoned in buildings, but also clearing out Tunnel Networks.
- Countermeasures - Standard upgrade for all US aircraft later in the conflict. Improved the Stealth Fighter's chances against anti-aircraft weapons, particularly missiles.
- Laser-Guided Missiles - Improved the accuracy and thus likely damage of Stealth Fighter attacks (up to 25%).
- Advanced Training
|“|| Hey General! Did you see that stealth fighter?|
- General Granger
Although periodically useful for clearing Tunnel Networks or garrisoned buildings and taking on individual base defense structures, the Stealth Fighter was seldom used, with the more powerful Raptor used for attacking units and the Aurora for structures. The Stealth Fighter was comparatively expensive, did little damage to enemy armour, and was vulnerable to a combination of stealth-detecting and anti-aircraft units. Its inability to attack air units was another considerable drawback when compared with the Raptor. Furthermore, most generals had to spend valuable promotional points on the aircraft.
However, the Stealth fighter was effective at attacking construction units such as dozers and workers, and was able to destroy base defenses with ease. Standard base defenses usually did not detect the fighters until they were literally right on top of them. While the Raptor packed a considerably more potent arsenal and capable of attacking air units, they were unable to cross a heated battlefield safely, especially if such units as Quad Cannons and Gattling Tanks were common. The Stealth Fighter was able to slink across the battlefield right on top of or into an opponents base if the proper counter measures were not built. With the bunker busters upgrade the Stealth Bomber was also able to force infantry out of garrisonable structures, often heavily damaged if not killed.
- The F-22 Raptor's stealth characteristics and avionics are largely superior to that of the outdated F-117A Nighthawk, not to mention that it is capable of engaging both air and ground threats. Therefore it is strange that the Nighthawk has superior stealth capabilites in-game instead of the Raptor.