Aggressors F-16 got a new “splinter” color scheme

The 64th Aggressor Squadron has unveiled the new “splinter” paint scheme for the F-16 Aggressors at Nellis Air Force Base during the 57th Adversary Tactics Group change of command.

On Aug. 5, the 64th AGRS unveiled a new “splinter” F-16.

According to a U.S. Air Force release:

“The paint scheme is a means of representing threats more accurately,” said Capt. Ken Spiro, 64th AGRS chief of intelligence. “There are real world threats that paint their jets in this way so we are changing over to make it more physically like their aircraft. Once a pilot who is training comes within visual range of the new Aggressor, they’ll be seeing a similar situation to what they would see with an actual threat aircraft.”

To represent these threats more accurately, the 64th AGRS looks for any and all ways to try to emulate the threats that are opposing combat air forces.

“The idea started at the 64th AGRS because we’re always looking for different ways to be more threat representative, and make the training more realistic,” said Spiro. “The 64th AGRS gets creative in extra ways, such as paint schemes to accurately and better represent threats. We act like, look like, or anything you can think of we try so we can be true to the threats. We’ve had some jets that are painted like a regular F-16, and then we’ve had some that have more of a tiger stripe pattern. Our F-16’s paint schemes have been similar to threats in the past and this new scheme is more representative of today’s threats.”

Noteworthy, a new F-16 with a new “shark” paint scheme is being prepared at Nellis. Inspired by the T-50?

“Splinter” paint schemes have become a distinguishing feature of U.S. Air Force Aggressors to make their fighter jets similar to a Russian 4th and 5th generation aircraft.

However, this kind color scheme was “inadvertently invented” for U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornets to aid the young pilots in target ID: it was not introduced to make the jets similar to their Russian adversaries, just to make them more visible.

Splinter scheme F-16

Image credit: U.S. Air Force


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. That looks like a model airplane. The men are just pictures below a model. Maybe I’m wrong but that’s what it looks like to me.

    • Try a reverse image search with Google and you’ll find other pictures. The photo here was edited and it looks a bit overexposed now.

      • My dad was actually the CC on that plane when it was at the 122nd Blacksnakes in Fort Wayne, IN. He confirmed that’s where it went and what it looks like now.

  2. Interesting concept. It’s much like the dazzle camouflage used on ships during World War One:

    “Unlike other forms of camouflage, the intention of dazzle is not to conceal but to make it difficult to estimate a target’s range, speed, and heading. Norman Wilkinson explained in 1919 that he had intended dazzle more to mislead the enemy about a ship’s course and so to take up a poor firing position, than actually to cause the enemy to miss his shot when firing.”

  3. Inadvertently exactly like Russian paintjobs? Sure, sure. I think it more likely that the low trust in NATO of the north-eastern European states has something to do with it… It’s like they’re saying, “Watch how we’ll destroy Russia.”

    But so clearly calling a country an aggressor against your own, doesn’t that only increase the likelihood of conflict?

    • Why do you think there’s low trust in NATO? It’s because these countries, notably in the Baltic, aren’t sure NATO is going to defend them in case of Russian aggression.

      And what do you suggest they paint the planes like then? Their own? Other NATO members? Nations that present low threats? Hello Kitty? Or countries that are politically, potentially militarily hostile?

      • The RAND Corporation itself estimated that any attempt to defend these countries is futile. No matter what, in a conventional attack, they are overrun within 60 hours. The only purpose of a multinational NATO garrison there is to drag as many countries as possible into the conflict in case of an attack. But I highly doubt the Russians will ever do that. The “Russian aggression” is a propaganda myth to justify a new arms race. Read the leaked e-mails of Gen. Breedlove to get a glimpse of warmongering.

  4. Doesn’t that qualify as wearing enemy uniforms?
    Poor yanks constantly cry about copyright infringements… but still resort to copy others’ designs when convenient.

    • “…but still resort to copy others’ designs when convenient.”

      A Russian jock strap saying this with a straight face is absolutely hilarious.


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