You Can Now Vote To Give Your Favorite Name To The New Nellis Air Force Base’s Aggressor F-16

“Wraith” or “Fury”? The first round of polls is already online on FB for the name to be given to the new 64th Aggressor Squadron’s F-16.

As many of our readers will probably remember, last year, the commander of Nellis 57th Wing, Brig. Gen. Robert Novotnycrowdsourced 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. 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 the pixelated camouflage that appeared in 2018  on the Russian Sukhoi Su-57 stealth jet.

The new aircraft was given the name “Ghost” and was unveiled in May this year.

After the success of the somehow innovative and unprecedented social media campaign of popular voting, the 57th Wing commander is taking polls to give a name to a “new” F-16 in overall black with red stripes and markings livery.

The first poll is already online and lets you vote between “Wraith” and “Fury”.

As we wait for a name to be chosen, we can’t but notice that the livery looks great. It clearly reminds the paint scheme that appeared on U.S. Air Force F-16C Fighting Falcon aircraft, 86-0295, assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron,aking part in a Red Flag-Alaska mission in overall black paint job in August 2017.

Even though it initially seemed that the 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 it was almost immediately explained that the F-16 was a half-finished paint scheme, rushed into service to take part in Red Flag Alaska. Indeed, the aircraft got a so-called “BDU Splinter” paint job in October 2017.

Anyway, this is what I wrote as soon as the “black” F-16 appeared. It still applies today:

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.

Do you like this possibly Chinese stealth jet-inspired livery? And, what’s your favorite name for it? Vote and write your comment below the 57th Wing Commander’s post.

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.