The XRA-117B Ghost Hawk, also known as the XRF-117B, is an experimental reconnaissance derivative of the F-117A Nighthawk attacker.
Unlike other variants of the Nighthawk, the XRA-117B is strictly a reconnaissance aircraft. Utilizing the same basic airframe as the F-117A, the Ghost Hawk, predictably, has a very small radar cross section. In place of internal weapons storage, the Ghost Hawk carries high-definition cameras, to facilitate the aircraft's role of reconnaissance.
Unique to the XRA-117B is the deletion of the non-afterburning engines of the standard F-117, in favor of engines similar to those used in the F-22A Raptor, which allows the XRA-117 to egress from its reconnaissance zone at supersonic speeds, limited to Mach 1.8. Along with this, the addition of F-22A engines gives the Ghost Hawk a limited degree of thrust vectoring. Despite this, the XRA-117B is not very maneuverable, and pilots are instructed to avoid dogfights wherever possible.
In Strangereal, the XRA-117B was developed in the mid-1990's, around 1996, as a lower-altitude spy plane, to fit in areas where the U-2 simply couldn't. The Federation of Central Usea had commissioned Balrog Inc. to develop this new aircraft. In light of the recent economic recession going on in Erusea, Balrog Inc. simply converted three pre-existing F-117A airframes to XRA-117B spec. These conversions included the complete deletion of the internal weapons bay, default engines and low-vis engine vents. In addition, several additional cameras were added to the underside of the nose, adding some aspects similar to those of the COFFIN system developed by Grunder Industries. The three XRA-117B Ghost Hawks were delivered in 1998, where they would see very limited use during the Usean Continental War.
In Shattered Skies, the XRF-117B was developed in 2006, towards the end of the F-117A's life cycle. With both the F-35 Lightning II and SR-92 Aurora behind schedule, XRF-117B was approved by the United States DoD (Department of Defense) as a stop-gap between a stealth fighter, and spy plane. The aircraft first took flight in 2010, two years after the final F-117A was retired. Following the impact of Hades 1983XK05, however, the project was put on hiatus. In 2026, the XRF-117B was revived and put into full production.
Three XRA-117B's were used during the Usean Continental War, where they helped aid the Allied Forces to a limited degree.
Four XRF-117B Ghost Hawks (three standard production, one converted from F-117B) were utilized by the Independent States Air Force during the early stages of the Inter-Megalithic War. The four Ghost Hawks belonged to the Spectre Unit. During an incursion into Royal airspace, Spectre 2, 3 and 4 were all shot down by Bolt Squadron, the Royal Air Force's elite ace unit.