Take A Look At This U.S. Air Force F-16C Aggressor In Brand New Black Color Scheme. Mimicking China’s J-31 Stealth Jet?

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron has been given a black color scheme. Inspired by the Chinese stealth jet or something else?

Update: According to Eielson AFB, the one sported by the aircraft is actually a half finished paint scheme. The aircraft will be given a splinter color scheme after RF-A.

The U.S. Air Force has just released some cool shots taken during RED FLAG-Alaska (RF-A) 17-3, underway at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.

Among these, the most interesting one was taken on Jul. 31, 2017 and shows a U.S. Air Force F-16C Fighting Falcon aircraft, 86-0295, assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron: the aircraft, previously wearing the “arctic” Aggressors color scheme is now sporting a brand new overall black livery.

F-16C belonging to the 64th and 18th AGRS have been sporting different paint schemes for decades now. As reported last year, when the 64th AGRS unveiled a new “splinter” F-16 the purpose of these liveries is to make the Aggressor jets as similar as possible to the real threats and put the pilots in training against the Red Air in a similar situation to what they would see during an engagement with the opposing combat air forces.

“Exotic” paint jobs 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, the new, black livery might have been inspired by a Chinese aircraft: the Shenyang J-31 Falcon Eagle (or “FC-31 fifth Generation Multi-Purpose Medium Fighter”), China’s second stealth fighter jet.

Indeed, the first prototype of the aircraft, that performed its maiden flight on Oct 31, 2012, and made a public appearance on Nov. 12, 2014 at Zhuhai Airshow, was painted in a black color scheme somehow similar to the one recently applied to the F-16C of the 18th AGRS. This would probably be the first time the Aggressors give a Chinese-inspired color scheme to one of their aircraft.

The Chinese J-31 during its display at Zhuhai Air Show 2014.

Let us know what you think. Inspired by the J-31 or by something else?

H/T to our friennd @aircraftspots for the heads up! Top image credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Isaac Johnson.

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About David Cenciotti 3635 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance 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 four books.