A US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon has been given an elaborate makeover including the popular ‘ghost’ paint scheme similar to that of a Russian Su-57 fighter jet.
Although the service did not mention the Su-57, it said that the paint scheme is intended to replicate an adversary’s fighter jet.
“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,” the Air Force said in a release.
The 576th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron painted the jet at the request of the 64th Aggressor Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, that participates in training with Air Force and other aviation branches during Red Flag exercises. This was the 576th AMXS paint shop’s first time painting a jet with the scheme that emerged via a crowdsourcing competition held on social media in 2019.
Gill said the digital pattern came in adhesive roll stencils that were three feet wide and six feet long. It’s a six-foot piece of tape that had to be overlapped and put exactly in place to get everything lined out.
Usually the paint shop can apply a new coat of gray paint to an F-16 in 11 days. The timeline to get a ghost F-16 aggressor was 18 days. Twelve people worked 18 days on three different shifts to apply blue, black two different grays and red paint to the normally solid gray aircraft.