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Posted: 9/24/2004 4:26:54 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/25/2004 4:59:01 AM EST by thebeekeeper1]
In the 60's, 70's and much of the 80's, we saw a variety of paint schemes. There was camo, silver, gray and various shades of it and patterns. There were colorful squadron markings and the isignias were colorful and lively.

Then starting in the mid 80's, everything was slowly changed over to this dull, boring monochrome gray finish. Much of the traditionally lively markings and insignia were replaced by the new "tactical muted" designs.

Now I can understand infantry personnel toning down their shoulder patches for camo reasons. But aircraft? Why did they change? If you look back at old photos of US aircraft from the 60's, 70's and the first part of the 80's, they look 10x better than today's stuff. Heck, even the US Navy aircraft have given up much of their beautiful paint schemes and markings. What's up with this? Is the new paint cheaper? Radar absorbent? Less visible? The UN behind it? LOL. What?
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 4:27:29 AM EST
Budget!
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 4:34:09 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/24/2004 4:45:02 AM EST by hk940]
like this?






Link Posted: 9/24/2004 4:37:06 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 4:39:05 AM EST
Tactical considerations.
Cost reasons.
Political corectness.
Ease of maintenance.

Most squadrons, USAF, USMC, USN, USA, have one bird that is called the "Boss Bird".
That aircraft will get the color markings, not as wild as the paint jobs of old.
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 4:40:42 AM EST
Here's an example of what I mean. This is an F-4B Phantom from US Navy squadron VF-111 Sundowners in 1972:



Isn't that purty? I've actually seen planes from this squadron that looked even better, with a more white paint scheme with those markings. That's one of my all time favorite squadron markings.
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 4:49:43 AM EST
The tomcat tail markings is pretty cool
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 4:53:05 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/24/2004 4:54:05 AM EST by Dave_A]
USN Jolly Rogers (See skull-and-bones marked F-14) & Black Knights still have their 'unique' markings last I knew...
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 4:57:00 AM EST
VF-111 has been gone since 1995.
R.I.P Sundowners.
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 5:00:12 AM EST

Originally Posted By KA3B:
VF-111 has been gone since 1995.
R.I.P Sundowners.



I'd rather think of it as........."until needed again".
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 5:02:46 AM EST
Because of common sense.

Best way to keep your toys from being shot down is to remove the colorful bullseyes.
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 5:03:42 AM EST
My uncle told me about some of the girls they had painted on their aircraft in WWII. Guess theyr're not politically correct anymore.




Link Posted: 9/24/2004 5:03:51 AM EST


The Jolly Rogers of VF-103 are on their last F-14D Tomcat Cruise.
When they get back they get the Super Bug.





Originally Posted By Dave_A:
USN Jolly Rogers (See skull-and-bones marked F-14) & Black Knights still have their 'unique' markings last I knew...

Link Posted: 9/24/2004 5:08:58 AM EST
Weight savings.

An F-14 painted in the current gray color scheme saves something like 300 lbs. Yeah, hard to believe that paint can weigh that much!

See, 300 lbs can be better alotted to carrying beer and dope more ammo dude.
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 5:09:13 AM EST
He who gets seen first gets shot first. The primary way to kill the other guy is still to see him before he sees you. So now you're thinking hey I'll just use my radar. Just one problem, his threat recievers will pick up your radar energy before you lock on to him, now he knows you're out there looking for him. That's why air to air intercepts are run with a radar source far from the target (the carrier or an AWACS plane) giving radio calls that guide the good guys into the target. So the bad guy knows that there is a radar source that sees him but that it is to far away for him to kill. If he moves torwards it he knows that someone must be defending that high value target. Thus air to air is still a game of who sees who first, mostly. BTW, F4's were famous for being smokers, that is they are a relatively BIG BIRD that left a smoke trail across the sky from it's two engines giving the smaller MIGS a slight advantage in who spots who first. Of course the F4's were being radar guided to the Migs. This can all be made more complex if your ROE (rules of engagement) require you to make a visual ID of the target before you can shoot.
Okay, so I read to many books about fighters, blame it on Top Gun.
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 6:04:15 AM EST

Originally Posted By nationwide:
See, 300 lbs can be better alotted to carrying beer and dope more ammo dude.


Ya got to give credit where credit is due, this line is from the movie "Blackhawk Down."
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 6:23:52 AM EST

My favorites were late 70s VF84 Jolly Rodgers Tomcats (USS Nimitz, I think) and VF1 Wolfpack Tomcats (USS Enterprise). This was back in the light gull grey upper/white lower days. Super cool!
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 7:12:40 AM EST
Nationwide and Lloyd-Jr both have it.

Tactical and weight. Paint isn't weightless.

I was talking to a guy at United Airlines after they changed their paint scheme back in the mid 90s and he said changing the paint scheme shaved something like 1200 or 1500 lbs off the weight of the planes.
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 7:18:01 AM EST
Even with AWACS, our guys pretty much have been forced to visually ID their targets before shooting them and this will probably not change until there is a way to positively id the target BVR.

In SEA they had a device called TISEO (Target Identification System Electro Optical) that was installed on some E models of the Phantom, which helped with the visual ID somewhat.

My dad flew Phantoms during his second tour in '72 (he flew B-57's during his first tour in '66). He said that the only way to stop the smoke was to go into afterburner...but then you were using up all your fuel.


Originally Posted By Lloyd-Jr:
He who gets seen first gets shot first. The primary way to kill the other guy is still to see him before he sees you. So now you're thinking hey I'll just use my radar. Just one problem, his threat recievers will pick up your radar energy before you lock on to him, now he knows you're out there looking for him. That's why air to air intercepts are run with a radar source far from the target (the carrier or an AWACS plane) giving radio calls that guide the good guys into the target. So the bad guy knows that there is a radar source that sees him but that it is to far away for him to kill. If he moves torwards it he knows that someone must be defending that high value target. Thus air to air is still a game of who sees who first, mostly. BTW, F4's were famous for being smokers, that is they are a relatively BIG BIRD that left a smoke trail across the sky from it's two engines giving the smaller MIGS a slight advantage in who spots who first. Of course the F4's were being radar guided to the Migs. This can all be made more complex if your ROE (rules of engagement) require you to make a visual ID of the target before you can shoot.
Okay, so I read to many books about fighters, blame it on Top Gun.

Link Posted: 9/24/2004 7:29:39 AM EST

Originally Posted By gamesniper:
I was talking to a guy at United Airlines after they changed their paint scheme back in the mid 90s and he said changing the paint scheme shaved something like 1200 or 1500 lbs off the weight of the planes.



Have you flown United lately? They could drop that much weight by upgrading their stewardesses...

-Z
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 7:36:19 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/24/2004 7:37:44 AM EST by Zaphod]
One thing I've never been able to figure out is what the "AJ", "AE", "AA", etc., symbols on the tails mean. Someone care to educate this Shoe?

BTW, the VF-84 Tomcats in their blask, yellow, and white warpaint always made me swoon.....


ETA: "Lucy Quipmet"!

Too bad the NOW-herd would have a collective cow over that today. Anyone remember that Broadside Cartoon of "Baghdad Belle"?
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 7:41:18 AM EST
nose art!

my grandfather flew in this squadron!


fwiw, i think that tuskegee painted P51 just crashed this year sometime.
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 7:50:07 AM EST
All these Navy birds! Don't forget the Air Force!





Link Posted: 9/24/2004 7:59:21 AM EST
The primary reason is simply to camoflage our planes and ships.

All Navy aircraft and ships were painted the standard camoflage pattern of light gray before deploying to GW I. I don't remember that paint scheme much before that...but the flyers might have.

Peacetime paint jobs for ships used to be haze gray on all vertical surfaces and dark deck gray on horizontal surfaces. Ship names and pennant numbers were white outlined in black. Now they are a slightly darker shade of haze gray. Antennas used to be all black, mostly to hide the nasty effects of stack gas. Now the they are all gray as well.

Embarcked helos used to be dark blue or sometimes green if they were assigned combat SAR...and attack planes were haze gray with decorative markings before GW I as discussed here. Now, all haze gray. That makes them much harder to see in an eyeball-to-eyeball visual range furball fight. Back to the future...WW I tactics...!

My favorite paint job was the VX-4 Tomcat in all black with the Playboy bunny on the vertical tail. After Clinton took over, his PC crew killed that.

I'm a picture posting dummy so someone else will have to post...I'm sure KA3B has it. Damn righteous looking plane. The women in loose shoes hated it.
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 8:03:15 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/24/2004 8:04:15 AM EST by cmjohnson]
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 8:03:18 AM EST
I think a lot of the newer paints used have been formulated using computers, spectrum analysis, etc. to help the planes blend in better with the sky or water. At least I think I saw something about that on Discovery Channel or some such place.
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 8:08:25 AM EST

Originally Posted By Crimson_Trace:

Originally Posted By gamesniper:
I was talking to a guy at United Airlines after they changed their paint scheme back in the mid 90s and he said changing the paint scheme shaved something like 1200 or 1500 lbs off the weight of the planes.



Have you flown United lately? They could drop that much weight by upgrading their stewardesses...

-Z


Link Posted: 9/24/2004 8:09:42 AM EST
Low vis paints contain low-e additives to reduce long wavelength IR. This makes those airplanes less vulnerable to all-aspect IR missiles.
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 8:12:55 AM EST

Originally Posted By inferno715:
nose art!

my grandfather flew in this squadron!


fwiw, i think that tuskegee painted P51 just crashed this year sometime.




I flew in this plane
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 8:23:55 AM EST
Notice all world military vehicles have dressed down in color scheme?


It is so we can merge into the U.N. global army easier.



I got my tinfoil hat how about you?
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 9:31:49 AM EST
Hey, I have a diecast model of that Michigan ANG F-4C posted on the previous page. Yes, I do collect diecast and mahogany models. And yes, the damn things are just as addictive and almost as expensive as guns. But hey what can I say? I love military shit. LOL. I've got an order out now for a 1:48 scale F-111A and F-105D. Anyone else here collect these models?
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 9:33:56 AM EST
Because the paint would fall off on the new jets from flying too fast.


Link Posted: 9/24/2004 10:34:36 AM EST
Some of the Air Defense Command's(ADC) were really wild in the '50s-60s. My dad flew an F-86D for the Danish AF,it also had some really wild red and white stripes on the tail.
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 12:31:20 PM EST

A look-down view of a Tiger-striped F-16C belonging to the 140th Fighter Wing, 120th Fighter Squadron, Colorado Air National Guard, as the aircraft flies over eastern Utah while returning from the Utah Test and Training Range. The aircraft has tiger-stripes applied to the upper surfaces and represented the Colorado ANG as their official Tiger jet as the unit hosted the Inaugural Tiger Meet of the Americas in mid-August.
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 12:38:47 PM EST
The Jolly Rogers actually painted up a couple of 'Cats like that for their final cruise. They should be out on the ocean right now.
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 12:54:36 PM EST
Distinctive paint jobs haven't totally gone away. In Navy squadrons, the lowest side number bird usually has more color on it. Example: The Red Tails (hornet squadron, F/A-18C) on my last cruise. The "color" bird had all red tails, both sides.

That VF-103 Jolly Roger pic is another good example. Usually the X00 plane. In my squadron, it's 500.

And the 2 digit letter designation on the tail means various things, depending on the service. In the Air Force, it denotes their home airfield. In the Navy, it denotes the airwing.

I used to know quite a few AIr Force tail codes, but have forgotten most of them.
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 1:23:14 PM EST

Originally Posted By Zaphod:
One thing I've never been able to figure out is what the "AJ", "AE", "AA", etc., symbols on the tails mean. Someone care to educate this Shoe?

BTW, the VF-84 Tomcats in their blask, yellow, and white warpaint always made me swoon.....


ETA: "Lucy Quipmet"!

Too bad the NOW-herd would have a collective cow over that today. Anyone remember that Broadside Cartoon of "Baghdad Belle"?



For the USAF, the two digit alpha marking represents the base where the aircraft is stationed. I don't think any of our heavies have the tail markings. Mostly just fighters, bombers & trainers.
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 1:26:14 PM EST

Originally Posted By trippletap:
Even with AWACS, our guys pretty much have been forced to visually ID their targets before shooting them and this will probably not change until there is a way to positively id the target BVR.

In SEA they had a device called TISEO (Target Identification System Electro Optical) that was installed on some E models of the Phantom, which helped with the visual ID somewhat.

My dad flew Phantoms during his second tour in '72 (he flew B-57's during his first tour in '66). He said that the only way to stop the smoke was to go into afterburner...but then you were using up all your fuel.



That's why we have IFF (Identify Friend or Foe) in all our aircraft now. Although a visual ID never hurts, it's not mandatory. Your IFF doesn't "squawk" when queried by an opposing US aircraft, you be sleeping with the fishes pretty soon!
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 1:54:07 PM EST
I had to paint a Duece and a half,I painted it in tiger stripes,the upstrairs gang was'nt too keen on it,especialy since the flat black turned into gloss,but KIDS LUVED IT!
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 2:10:13 PM EST
I read somewhere, swear it was the Navy website, that they got rid of the cool paint jobs for tactical reasons.

But so many guys complained about how they didn't like it that now 2 birds per squadron are allowed to be painted up however they want.
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 2:44:35 PM EST

Originally Posted By DnPRK:
Low vis paints contain low-e additives to reduce long wavelength IR. This makes those airplanes less vulnerable to all-aspect IR missiles.



This is the main reason… IRR… I did a course way back on painting military equipment and all NATO camo colors are optimised to reduce the IR signature, the dull semi matt finish is also part of this to reduce 'glint'. In actual fact any plane no matter what color looks black visually against a bright sky. What gives a plane away visually is 'glint' from the surfaces and the canopy. The major problem was developing a matt finish that did not add a bucket load of drag, once they cracked that problem, gloss (low drag) was out.

ANdy
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 2:48:33 PM EST

Originally Posted By nationwide:

See, 300 lbs can be better alotted to carrying beer and dope more ammo dude.



That's a quote from HEAT, right?

Link Posted: 9/24/2004 3:04:21 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/24/2004 3:05:53 PM EST by ARDunstan]
.
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 3:16:47 PM EST
govt dont want to spend the $$$ on paint

would rather spend it on that new RAISE for congressional folks. crooks
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 3:20:13 PM EST

Originally Posted By Lloyd-Jr:
He who gets seen first gets shot first.



In that case, glare from a cockpit canopy has killed more pilots than all the missiles, guns, bullets, bombs, and mountain top ridges combined.
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 3:26:45 PM EST

Originally Posted By TennVol:

Originally Posted By trippletap:
Even with AWACS, our guys pretty much have been forced to visually ID their targets before shooting them and this will probably not change until there is a way to positively id the target BVR.

In SEA they had a device called TISEO (Target Identification System Electro Optical) that was installed on some E models of the Phantom, which helped with the visual ID somewhat.

My dad flew Phantoms during his second tour in '72 (he flew B-57's during his first tour in '66). He said that the only way to stop the smoke was to go into afterburner...but then you were using up all your fuel.



That's why we have IFF (Identify Friend or Foe) in all our aircraft now. Although a visual ID never hurts, it's not mandatory. Your IFF doesn't "squawk" when queried by an opposing US aircraft, you be sleeping with the fishes pretty soon!



Tenn Vol is a winner. In WW2, the stripes were to ID the good guys. With advanced IFF, this isn't needed anymore.

Cost is another huge factor in today's fleet.

Link Posted: 9/24/2004 3:29:20 PM EST
It isn't PC.

MT
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 3:29:32 PM EST

Originally Posted By Sturmwehr:

Originally Posted By Lloyd-Jr:
He who gets seen first gets shot first.



In that case, glare from a cockpit canopy has killed more pilots than all the missiles, guns, bullets, bombs, and mountain top ridges combined.



True…
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 3:32:13 PM EST
www.military.cz/usa/air/air_accessories/usaf_tail_cod.htm

Tail codes for the USAF.

AF uses codes for the base assigned. Air Combat Command uses them, Air Mobility Command doesn't.

Some are easily related to the base. Others have some history or "joke". When the B-1's were active duty at McConnel AFB, Kansas, their code was "OZ".

WP here at Kunsan for the World Famous "Wolf Pack"
Link Posted: 9/24/2004 4:10:59 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/24/2004 4:22:14 PM EST by TheRealSundance]

Originally Posted By Zaphod:
One thing I've never been able to figure out is what the "AJ", "AE", "AA", etc., symbols on the tails mean. Someone care to educate this Shoe?



Tells you what carrier air wing they belong to. A (AJ) = Atlantic fleet air wings, N (NE)= Pacific fleet air wings






Link Posted: 9/24/2004 5:20:49 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/24/2004 5:22:25 PM EST by luger355]
Regarding nose art.
I dont know if its true or not,

But i had been told that on one sunny day during WW2 either "the queen" or some American high society chick took a tour of one of our airfields.

Opon seeing all the neked chicks and erotic scenes on the sides of our planes she was very offended and basicly had a hissy fit.

Then shortly after it came from the top down, nose art was to be more tasteful or removed. As not to offend the delicate lady folks.

I dont know for certain if this is 100% bonafide but it sounds typical.
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