How the Balance of World Power Changed in 21 Seconds in 1999

Remembering Col. Zoltan Dani 12 years later

Technology of downed U.S. stealth fighter is now being used by Chinese and Russians

The balance of power in the world was changed in 21 seconds on March 27, 1999 by a colonel in the Hungarian Army. He’s retired, and back to his preferred career as a baker.:  As a tip of the hat to his military career, he makes a cake every year with his: platoon buddies to commemorate how he stole the best U.S. military technology from the sky.

Zoltan Dani poses with a piece of bombed U.S. F-117 Nighthawk

You won’t find this in any American history books or in the mainstream media. However, there was confirmation this weekend from a British newspaper. America will soon reap the whirlwind because of what went wrong in a farmfield with a high-tech aircraft years ago.

Maybe it happened because of hubris on the part of the U.S. Air force in the Kosovo War, or a momentary error, or a fatal flaw in the stealth technology of the aircraft, or maybe a bit of all three. It is known,: that if the U.S. government had bombed the: F-117 Nighthawk’s : remnants after the crash, nothing would have been stolen from it. Instead, because locals were swarming the aircraft, and concerns about the “political correctness” of bombing civilians, the decision was made to save the pilot and leave the wreckage.

This was a huge mistake. Will we learn from this lesson or is too late?

Chinese J-20

The U.K. Guardian cites sources for what has been suspicioned for years: China’s new “J-20” stealth aircraft and Russia’s Sukhoi T-50 prototype stealth fighter have both been developed from U.S. technology, which they obtained from wreckage of an American F-117 Nighthawk which was shot down over Serbia in 1999 during the Kosovo War.

“At the time, our intelligence reports told of Chinese agents crisscrossing the region where the F-117 disintegrated, buying up parts of the plane from local farmers,” said Admiral Davor Domazet-Loso, Croatia’s military chief of staff during the Kosovo war. “We believe the Chinese used those materials to gain an insight into secret stealth technologies … and to reverse-engineer them.”

The Nighthawk was downed by a Serbian anti-aircraft missile during a bombing raid on 27 March 1999. It was the first time one of the fighters had been hit, and the Pentagon blamed clever tactics and sheer luck. The pilot ejected and was rescued.

A senior Serbian military official confirmed that pieces of the wreckage were removed by souvenir collectors, and that some ended up “in the hands of foreign military attaches”.

China’s J-20 much farther along than the U.S. knew

The Chinese J-20 showed up on “leaked” videos world-wide two weeks ago, to create maximum embarrassment just as U.S. Defense secretary Bob Gates was showing up for his first visit to China in six years. Prior to this video release, the U.S. did not believe development on the plane to be very far along.

Russians’ and Indians’ joint project with stealth fighter jet technology

It was leaked in 2001 that Russians had gleaned enough helpful information about stealth technology from pieces of the U.S. plane that they were entering into an agreement with India to jointly develop a stealth fighter plane and other weaponry. It wasn’t widely known or admitted that the Chinese have also been working apace on the stealth fighter based on the American crash remnants.

Sukhoi T-50

The Russians removed all doubt and finally rolled out videos and news releases on the Sukhoi T-50 about a year ago. The plane is being jointly developed with India, and will be shared internationally within a few years. Countries with nuclear weapons are able to save decades of development time on a stealth fighter delivery system by using our stolen technology.

In the future, the two countries intend to sell T-50 planes to other countries. Russia and India are working on an export modification of the plane. The export version of the plane is called FGFA – Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft. Sukhoi plans to produce 100 fifth-generation aircraft a year.

A fifth generation jet fighter, it is designed to directly compete with Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.

Ret. Col. Zoltan Dani

Hungarian Army colonel shot down high-tech “stealth” plane with 1960s-era missiles

Though the event has been downplayed in the United States over the years, almost everywhere else in the world, Serbian Army Colonel Zoltan Dani, an ethnic Hungarian, is considered a game-changing folk hero.

F-117 Nighthawk

At the time, the F-117 Nighthawk was the best the American Air force had in the air. It was developed from the 1970s as a top secret project, and had previously done significant damage in the war in Iraq. But an F-117 was tracked in the night skies in 1999 and for a brief moment, 21 seconds, it was “visible” on radar to a squadron run by Hungarian army colonel, Zoltan Dani. Even though Dani had only 1960s-era Russian air defense missiles, he knew enough about “stealth” technology to use his “dinosaur” equipment to take down the USAF superstar.

Zoltan Dani’s name was kept a secret for many years after the downing of the jet. He retired from the Hungarian army in 2004 and returned to his village to be a baker.

Details of Dani’s mission and how he accomplished it gradually leaked out after he left the military. A detailed article appeared in The Strategy Page in 2005: “How to take down an F-117.”.

Zoltan Dani finally gave an interview to the western news media in 2009, the 10th anniversary of the attack and crash of the F-117:

USA today, 2009:

Dani said the F-117 was detected and shot down during a moonless night – just three days into the war – by a Soviet-made SA-3 Goa surface-to-air missile.

“We used a little innovation to update our 1960s-vintage SAMs to detect the Nighthawk,” Dani said. He declined to discuss specifics, saying the exact nature of the modification to the warhead’s guidance system remains a military secret.

It involved “electromagnetic waves,” was all that Dani – who now owns a small bakery in this sleepy village just north of Belgrade – would divulge.


“The Americans entered the war a bit overconfident,” Dani said. “They thought they could crush us without real resistance.”

“At times, they acted like amateurs,” Dani said, listing some ways the Serbs managed to breach NATO communications security, including eavesdropping on pilots’ conversations with AWACS surveillance planes.

“I personally listened to their pilots’ conversations, learning about their routes and bombing plans,” Dani said.

Dani said that his unit has had annual reunions on every March 27 since 1999 when a cake in the shape of the F-117 is served.

Retired Col. Zoltan Dani’s annual “F-117” celebration cake

A Hungarian documentary on the downing of the F-117 has been made, which features Dani as the hero. It is called “The 21st Second.”

Here is the trailer:

A description of the film:

A movie about ex colonel in SCG Army, Dani Zoltan , who was the leader of a team who shot down famous “Invisible” F-117 A, and who works as a baker now. Using his innovation, which he had been developing in secret, for the first time, in the night of 27.03.1999, he managed to see the “invisible” on the radar and to shoot it down, together with his team, within 18 seconds and by means of a rocket system, three generations older than famous “stealth” technology. After this he refused three consecutive million offers to move to Iraq and two more countries which struggle for their open sky. He stayed in Serbia, but not as a colonel in the Army. Now he works as a baker. He returned to his family and he starts a new life.

Dani keeps a piece of the F-117 engine in his garage.

There is one nagging fact about the U.S. military’s “mishap” with the stealth technology:

The downed plane had a pilot’s name painted on it, not uncommon in the Air Force.

The name was “Capt Ken ‘Wiz’ Dwelle” was painted on the canopy, it was revealed in 2007 that the pilot was actually Lt Col Dale Zelko, USAF.[45][46]

Captain Dwelle gave an interview years later to say that the downed plane had always been flown by him, except for that fateful flight. He says he was preparing to leave the Air Force for civilian work and Zelko filled in. Coincidence?

The Kosovo War has been controversial for many reasons. It has long been considered a conflict of “convenience” undertaken by President Bill Clinton rom March of 1999 to June of 1999 to distract the nation from the Monica Lewinsky scandal. General Wesley Clark took credit at the time for losing no military personnel in the war. The loss of the stealth technology from the F-117 was “glossed over” at the war’s end in June, 1999.
Human Rights Watch was quick to criticize the U.S.A. for loss of civilian lives in the conflict.

The “humanitarian” pressures and oversight no doubt factored into the U.S. decision not to bomb the wreckage of the plane, which landed on Serbian farms. Hindsight is 20/20, but national security now, 12 years later, is jeopardized by that hesitation to “finish the job.” History has repeated itself HOW MANY times ?

“Nice guys” lose wars and their countries when they don’t finish the job. War is hell. The valuable wreckage of the F-117 should have been destroyed at ALL COSTS.

More videos regarding the March 27, 1999 downing of the F-117 Nighthawk

USAF Pilot Dale Zelko’s name was also kept secret for years. Here is a video of a rare presentation he once gave, with his MayDay audio tape.

How Stealth was shot down

YouTubes about Zoltan Dani, the Hungarian “hero”:

Zoltan Dani Heroj 1/4
YouTube – Zoltan Dani Heroj 1/4
Zoltan Dani Heroj 2/4
YouTube – Zoltan Dani Heroj 2/4
Zoltan Dani Heroj 3/4
YouTube – Zoltan Dani Heroj 3/4
Zoltan Dani Heroj 4/4
YouTube – Zlotan Dani Heroj 4/4

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