Polish F-35s To Use Low Visibility Checkerboard

F-35 Polish Air Force checkerboard
An F-35A with a notional low viz checkerboard (Image credit: The Aviationist)

The low-visibility checkerboard (the Polish equivalent of a roundel) will replace the traditional white-red one on the Polish Air Force F-35 jets.

According to a news piece published by Interia.pl on Apr. 28, 2024, Polish Air Force F-35s will not sport the white-red checkerboard symbol. The traditional Polish Air Force’s equivalent of a “roundel”, will be replaced by a low-visibility counterpart.

This is a revolutionary change, since so far all of the Polish Air Force’s assets were wearing the full-color white-red checkerboard. This also applied to the Su-22s or  MiG-29s, after they received new, all-grey camouflage schemes.

In the past, a low-viz checkerboard was only worn (operationally) by a W-3 Sokół helicopter used by the Polish JW2305 GROM SOF unit. The concept was also presented by the WZL Bydgoszcz maintenance facility, however, never did it make to an operational airframe.

Interia reports that General Wiesław Kukuła, Chief of the Polish Armed Forces’ General Staff, announced via X.com that “No traditional white-red checkerboard would appear on the Polish F-35s” which is to contribute to greater stealthiness. A gray-toned checkerboard is to be used instead.

This would require changes in legislation. Kukuła added that “Warfighting and safety of our pilots is a priority”.

Interestingly, earlier on rumors were being spread, suggesting that ‘low-viz’ marking is mandatory for the F-35, given the nature of the RAM (Radar Absorbent Material) coating of the airframe. Notably, however, the RDAF F-35s are wearing a colorful, white-red roundel and national flag.

It also remains unclear whether the Polish F-35s would be the only combat aircraft operated by the Polish Air Force wearing the lo-vis marking, or whether the remainder of the jets will undergo a relevant change to homogenize their appearance. This remains to be seen. Remarkably, the latest addition to the Polish Air Force’s inventory, the FA-50 jet, is wearing a normal white-red-colred checkerboard. The same goes for Fulcrums, Fitters, and Vipers.

If you are interested in the history of the Polish Air Force’s marking, make sure you read our past article in which we cover its history in greater detail.

The Polish F-35’s name

Following the acquisition of the F-35 by the Polish Armed Forces, the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces announced a competition for the name of the new fighter jets.

To participate, individuals had to submit their proposed name for the F-35 fighter under a post on the official profile of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces on social media between April 12 and April 18, 2024.

About Jacek Siminski
Standing contributor for TheAviationist. Aviation photojournalist. Co-Founder of DefensePhoto.com. Expert in linguistics, Cold War discourse, Cold War history and policy and media communications.