Coronet Havoc

Four black F-117A’s arriving at Gilze Rijen after crossing the Atlantic ocean.

The June 8th, 1993, eight F-117As of the 415th FS deployed to Gilze-Rijen, Netherlands for Central Enterprise 1993 under the code name of “Coronet Havoc”. They arrived under the callsigns “Clan” 51-54, 61-64, and spent a total of about 45 days in Holland.

“…. and we waited for the F-117A’s to arrive. We quickly found out that we were not alone, as large crowds of fighter aircraft enthusiasts would patiently await outside the perimeter fencing at the end-of-the runway, to watch the F-117A’s. The were there each and every day, waving flags, and shouting with pleasure. I think they even set up some snack bars! One would have easily mistaken the F-117A exercise for an airshow!”

Central Enterprise is an annual NATO live-fire exercise. The Central Enterprise exercise was designed to evaluate new joint air defense employment concepts. The exercise was a good start for NATO, though Air Force participation was initially relatively scripted in support of the Army evaluation and emphasis was on the evaluation as opposed to training. The objective of Coronet Havoc was not only to have the Wing practice moving to and operating from an unknown area but also to teach the NATO planners of air operations how to put the F-117 in the combined Combined Air Operations. Of course, the Black Jets operate almost exclusively at night and that meant that the start of the missions usually only fell in the evening after six o’clock and the last aircraft did not return until midnight.

A few familiarisation flights took place in broad daylight in the first two flying days.

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