When the war in Vietnam ended in the mid 1970s, the idea of stealth was born. This sci-fi concept would see aircraft absorb radar or deflect it in a way where there would be little or no return, rendering an aircraft virtually invisible when attacking heavily defended targets. Moscow was considered to be the most heavily defended target in the world, followed by Hanoi, North Vietnam.
For the United States, the gravest losses in Vietnam were the 2,256 downed aircraft, of which 1,737 were attributed to combat. At the same time, the South Vietnamese lost a total of slightly more than 1,000 aircraft. In the heat of battle, F-4 Phantoms and F-105 Thunderchiefs suffered the greatest casualties due to their missions to hit the most dangerous targets along Route Pack V and VI. Fast-forward a quarter of a century and compare those painful losses to the achievements of the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk over Baghdad during the first few nights of Desert Storm.