F-117s to be retired
Despite a U.S. defense budget in excess of a half-trillion (yes, that's a "t") dollars per year, the Air Force doesn't have enough resources to proceed with its modernization program. So, according to an MSNBC report posted this morning, "The Air Force decided to accelerate the retirement of the F-117s to free up funding to modernize the rest of the fleet." Program Budget Decision 720 (signed in December 2005) is coming to fruition six months ahead of schedule.
The F-117 NIGHTHAWK, developed by Lockheed's (NYSE: LMT) famous "Skunk Works", was the first ground attack aircraft designed with low-observable ("stealth") technology. Its first flight was in 1981, and its combat debut was in 1989 during Operation JUST CAUSE in Panama.
So while soldiers and Marines while away in forty-year-old helicopters (q.v. here, here and [from a 1995 report] here), our airmen need to retire dozens of mission-capable aircraft to get more RAPTORS.