A Nellis Air Force Base’s Aggressor Viper to be painted with the same color scheme as the Russian radar-evading 5th generation aircraft.
Eye-catching paint schemes which make fighter planes similar to their Russian counterparts have become a distinguishing feature of U.S. Aggressors and Adversary jets.
Indeed, the Aggressors Squadrons F-16s (and, previously, until the 65th Aggressor Squadron was disbanded, their F-15s too) sport liveries that replicate the paint schemes, markings and insignas of their near peer adversaries, so that pilots in training who come within visual range of these adversary jets get the same sight they would see if they were engaging an actual threat.
Even if they are said to “replicate a capability of various aircraft platforms to train our blue forces on how adversaries will employ them in combat” rather than a certain country’s adversary, it’s pretty obvious that some famous “splinter” patterns worn by Nellis AFB’s Aggressors as well as more “traditional” camouflages, like the one applied to U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornets in the last years, are inspired by Russian Air Force and Navy aircraft.
Interestingly, a couple of months ago, the commander of Nellis 57th Wing, Brig. Gen. Robert Novotny, crowdsourced the new adversary livery to be applied to one of the 64th Aggressor Squadron’s F-16C in the need of a new paint job. Through his Facebook page, Novotny let the social media vote on several color schemes, some of those based on existing patterns, others designed by the users, narrowing down the choices and helping them picking the new pattern.
After a few rounds of polls, likes and comments, the winner was announced last week: the F-16C will get the Russian Sukhoi Su-57 stealth jet’s digital paint scheme (the newer pixelated camouflage that has appeared last year).
According to the 57th Wing Commander, it will take some time for the 64 AGRS to paint the Viper: they expect the aircraft to be ready in the new paint scheme by early next summer so it will probably be one of the highlights of Aviation Nation airshow at Nellis AFB, in November 2019.
Can’t wait to see it!
Update Jan. 17, 12.00 GMT: we have received the renderings of the F-16 paint scheme designed by Scott Brown.