F-35 Aggressors!

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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viper12

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Unread post20 Jun 2022, 02:58

The F-35's paint scheme is very reminiscent of the Su-57's camo on one of the early prototypes : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukhoi_Su ... in_2011_(4).jpg

In particular the 2 colors have straight edges like on the Su-57, and with a pretty notable contrast akin to dazzle camouflage from the early 20th century.

The J-20 on the other hand either has a single color : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chengdu_J ... :J-20s.jpg

Or a 2-tone pattern with splotches and less contrast, very similar to the F-22 : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chengdu_J ... r_(cropped).jpg
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Unread post20 Jun 2022, 05:34

I think the F-35 aggressor camo is trying to replicate this J-20 scheme.

J-20A-LRIP-grey-splinter-camo-17.10.16-9.jpg
theaviationist.com

1000w_q95.jpg


Although the colors seem to have been inverted and there's a bit too much contrast, and also more recent J-20s now use a camo more like the F-22's rather than the splinter scheme.
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Unread post22 Jun 2022, 15:42

USAF Doesn’t Expect New Aggressor F-35s’ Camo to Interfere With Stealth
21 Jun 2022 John A. Tirpak

"The new “Splinter” camouflage on aggressor F-35s at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., shouldn’t negate or interfere with their low observability, meaning they can truly play the role of a stealthy sparring partner for USAF fighters, according to a Nellis spokesperson. The first two F-35s to appear in camouflage were revealed June 9 at a Nellis ceremony to reactivate the 65th Aggressor Squadron, wearing a paint scheme reminiscent of both the Russian Su-57 Felon and Chinese J-20 fighters.

“Nellis maintenance personnel applied alternate paint to create the unique camouflage scheme after coordination with the F-35 Joint Program Office,” the Nellis spokesperson said in an emailed response to a query.

“While the application of the alternate paint is a first, we do not anticipate it will have any adverse impacts on the F-35’s low-observable properties,” the spokesperson said. “The alternate paint can be removed at any time to return our aircraft to the original configuration.”

However, he later added, “Further testing will be required to discern if there is a difference in the low-observable properties. A standard Air Force aircraft paint was used for the paint scheme, and [Lockheed Martin] engineers approved the use and process of paint application.

A Lockheed Martin spokesperson said the company was “not involved in selecting or applying the paint.”

Since the first F-35s began coming off the production line, with the exception of national insignia, all F-35 aircraft have had the same finish, although a production line change from a few years ago replaced the light-gray raised material over some panel lines with material of a darker color. Lockheed Martin has explained that the gray-on-gray finish results from the special materials, paint, and coatings required to achieve a low-observable effect. Some of these coatings have a dull, flat appearance, while others are somewhat more glossy. The finish around panel lines is different, for example, from finishes on dielectric surfaces, such as the radome and leading edges. Under certain lighting conditions and from some angles, the underlying silver metallic sheen of the F-35 shines through.

However, the camouflage on the 65th’s aggressor F-35s is limited and does not cover the entire aircraft. No camouflage has been applied to the underside of the jets.

The exact function of the F-35’s paint and coatings is classified but is known to help reflect radar energy from some directions while absorbing, attenuating, or altering it in others, to reduce the aircraft’s radar return. The dull gray color also makes the F-35 harder to see at night.... [then F-22 info about their paint scheme - this is a long article]

Photo: "An artist's rendering of the camouflage paint going on two F-35 aggressor aircraft. USAF illustration." https://www.airforcemag.com/app/uploads ... essors.jpg


Source: https://www.airforcemag.com/usaf-new-ca ... h-stealth/
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F-35AcamoAggressorForm.jpg
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viper12

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Unread post22 Jun 2022, 21:59

I think there's a relevant part from the source above that should be noted :

The F-22—also a fifth-generation stealth fighter—has a different camouflage, which sources have said plays a role in confusing adversary imaging infrared systems. The application of the darker F-22 camouflage shapes, known within Lockheed Martin as “the amoebas,” is an extremely precise process requiring robots to ensure that the paint has no high or low spots that would affect the aircraft’s radar reflectivity.


We often forget that paint has to be so precisely applied on stealth aircraft.
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Unread post22 Jun 2022, 23:23

Over the years there have been a few articles here about F-35 precise paint application, often robotically, mostly.....

60 PDF pages F-35A paint, stealth coating & washing info that I could find at moment (reprinted PRN for forum file size).
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F-35 & some F-22 Paint & Stealth Coatings Info FORUMprn pp60.pdf
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