A General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon at Hill Air Force Base, located in northern Utah, recently had an exterior makeover paint scheme that mimics the Russian Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighter, reported Defense Blog.
The 576th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron painted the fighter jet a “ghost” paint scheme at the request of the 64th Aggressor Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, that is responsible for holding Red Flag exercises, an aerial combat training drill held several times a year by the Air Force to prepare pilots for aerial combat.
The new paint scheme suggests American pilots will soon simulate dogfighting drills with mock Russian stealth jets.
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“The paint scheme is intended to replicate an adversary’s fighter jet. The United States, allied, and partner-nation aircrews routinely train against accurate and realistic threats including aircraft painted to replicate those pilots might see in aerial combat,” Defense Blog said.
Already, US and Russian warplanes have intercepted one another — indicating tensions are building.
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“The paint shop at Nellis did one of these planes last year and asked us to paint this one,” said Jim Gill 576th AMXS production flight chief. “They sent us pictures and gave us the pattern, but there were no instructions. We had to put it together ourselves.”
Here’s the video showing how the process was done last year.
Photos emerged on a Turkish website last year of a McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet belonging to Fighter Squadron Composite Twelve (VFC-12), a US Navy Reserve fighter squadron based in Virginia Beach, sporting the same Russian Su-57 color scheme.
Tensions are rising between the US and Russia, the Air Force painting fighter jets similar to Russian ones suggests pilots are being trained to identify and engage enemy fifth-generation fighters ahead of the next conflict.