Was China’s Stealth Tech Made in America?
On March 27, 1999, during the height of NATO’s air war on Serbia, a very smart and very lucky Serbian air-defense commander achieved the seemingly impossible. Firing three 1960s-vintage SA-3 missiles, Col. Zoltan Dani managed to shoot down an attacking U.S. Air Force F-117 stealth fighter-bomber piloted by Lt. Col. Dale Zelko. NATO commanders had been sending the alliance’s planes, including the stealth attackers, into Serbia along predictable routes, allowing Dani to carefully plan his missile ambush.
A fast-acting team of Air Force A-10 attack planes and helicopters retrieved Zelko intact, but not so the wreckage of the colonel’s top-secret jet, one of the technological stars of the 1991 Gulf War. The destroyed F-117’s left wing, canopy and ejection seat — plus Zelko’s helmet — wound up in a Belgrade aviation museum, but most of the rest of the 15-ton jet was gathered up by farmers living around the crash site.