U.S. Navy’s Adversary F/A-18E Super Hornet Has Been Given A Su-57 Felon Color Scheme

VFC-12 F/A-18E Su-57
The F/A-18E of VFC-12 in Su-57 color scheme. (All images: VFC-12)

One F/A-18E Super Hornet of VFC-12 now sports a paint scheme inspired by the Russian Su-57 Felon.

A U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet “Red 12”, belonging to Fighter Squadron Composite Twelve (VFC-12), the “Fighting Omars”, based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia, has been given a paint scheme with a paint scheme that features the profile of a Russian Air Force Su-57 Felon.

The aircraft has made its first public appearance on Jun. 18, 2021, in a FB post about the retirement ceremony of VFC-12’s Commanding Officer CDR Runzel. Interestingly, the F/A-18E sports the name of VFC-12’s new Commanding Officer, CDR Scott “CAWK” Golich on the canopy rail.

VFC-12 F/A-18E Su-57
VFC-12’s new commander officer name appears on the canopy rail of “Red 12”.

VFC-12 is the U.S. Navy adversary squadron. The unit has started the “migration” from  “Legacy” Hornets to Block I F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Along with “Red 12” at least another Super Hornet, an F model, “Red 22” appears to have been delivered to the squadron.

The “Flying Omars” of Fighter Squadron Composite VFC-12, have always operated Hornets in camouflage schemes which mimic the patterns used by some Russian Air Force fighters, like Su-27 Flankers, Su-30SMs, Su-34 Fullbacks and Su-57 Felons. In 2019, we reported about an F/A-18D Hornet two-seat aggressor aircraft painted in a unique pixelated aggressor color scheme similar to the one shown by the Sukhoi Su-57 fighter.

Paint schemes similar to their Russian counterparts are a distinguishing feature of U.S. Aggressors and Adversary jets whose liveries 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.

The new F/A-18E “Red 12” of VFC-12 shows a color scheme sported by the Su-57 prototype nicknamed “White Shark”: it appears to be painted in such a way the silhouette of a Su-57 is seen from distance, a scheme referred to as “Mako”. This reminds what the Russians did on the Su-57 with bort number 053 that, wearing a a special pixelated camouflage on the underside of the aircraft that mimics the plan view shape of the Hunter remotely piloted aircraft, was seen at MAKS 2019.

Some other interesting color schemes should be applied to the Adversary Super Hornets in the coming months, some of those can be found in this article published at The War Zone last year.

Another image of the new adversary F/A-18E Super Hornet.

H/T Steve Fortson for the heads-up!

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.