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T7 Models

Jets are getting even more grey

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I notice both from the aviation press and visiting Yeovilton and Fairford on successive weekends that the RAF's Typhoons are rapidly losing all of their squadron colours and even their individual code letters, instead having the 'last three' of the serial number repeated on the fin. I have heard that this is to prevent revenge attacks against members of individual squadrons taking part in operations against the likes of Daesh, but it all seems rather headscratchingly excessive to me if so. The jets are looking so boringly dull without markings, but at least they can bin the contract with the suppliers of self adhesive squadron markings and save a few quid. Whatever happened to esprit de corps?

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If this is due to trying to mitigate potential revenge attacks, wouldn't this be 'giving in' to terrorism is some nominal way? I vote for the opposite - embellish these fighting jets with campaign flags and bomb logs as a reminder to all what the RAF and other coalition air forces stand for. 

 

... makes for better models as welll! 

 

Cheers.. Dave

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I'm guessing it will be something to do with pooling resources. I understand the F-35 fleet will be similarly lacking in unit markings.

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So the aircraft get pooled. Might they not at least be marked up for the squadrons that operate them , even if the pilot on board isn't from that particular unit. As before, esprit de corps.

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The US Navy's F/A-18's, on the other hand, seem to be returning (somewhat, anyway) to the old-style colorful markings.

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Its just down to showing their age..  we're all going grey.      For a long time now since the end of colourful unit markings(other than specials) Modern military have lost their appeal to me.  

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Didn't they try pooling in the Sixties, and gave it up a few years later because of the loss of morale and esprit de corps? That was The Bean Counters' idea as well.....

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They certainly decided to pool all the groundcrew at wing/station level. Aircraft were still generally held at squadron level, but a lot of people were very unhappy. Certainly some of the larger aircraft types were 'owned' at wing level, including Nimrods, Hercules and the V-bombers, but combat types were still allocated to individual squadrons for many years afterwards. Even then there were variations. During the latter years of Tornado ops with the Marham and Lossiemouth wings, one wing allocated aircraft to squadrons and the other was pooled. I can never remember which was which.

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Could be for moving Aircraft across the squadrons to fill holes left by cut backs. Britannia Sqns 99 and 511 had pooled Aircraft and ground crew and no Sqn markings on them. Which beggars the question...

 

Not suggesting for one minute this is the case but ... The Germans tricked Chamberlaine during the pre war Munich Crisis with Sqn after Sqn with the same 10 ish aircraft shifted around Bavaria. He thought they had hundreds...It backfired though, The Air Force Expansion Scheme came in on the back of the perceived threat.

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I think its called duty of care gentlemen....all very well set in your armchair flag waving but one has to remember we are in very different times and a much more integrated (in some cases) or at least connected electronically and potentially dangerous society...sadly.:angrysoapbox.sml:Nothing personal by the way people.

 

Did people go on about  not another grey and green cab in the 70s? 

 

meanwhile its not just fast jets look at the Merlin MK4 bloomin' grey.....nothing to do with being more naval as was thought....were going to be like the FAT Lynx mk10 but a cost saving option on dark grey which was signed off.....not sure how that works .:christmas:

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Posted (edited)
On 7/16/2017 at 10:30 PM, Rabbit Leader said:

If this is due to trying to mitigate potential revenge attacks, wouldn't this be 'giving in' to terrorism is some nominal way? I vote for the opposite - embellish these fighting jets with campaign flags and bomb logs as a reminder to all what the RAF and other coalition air forces stand for. 

 

... makes for better models as welll! 

 

Cheers.. Dave

 

Not really, when said jets are plastering the proverbial seven shades out of IS at the moment... 

 

The identity of the squadrons involved isn't that hard to work out - it's one of five at the moment¹, possibly gusting to eight over the next couple of years - but there is sufficient aptitude amongst some of our home-grown would-be-jihadi warriors to be able to make an educated guess about individuals whose PERSEC isn't quite as tight as it might be being involved in Op SHADER.  

 

The threat can be to families - if I may be forgiven a mildly political observation, let's not forget that these heroes are quite happy to murder and maim children - not least since it's families who sometimes put stuff on Facebook (despite being told not to) about their relatives flying about in Typhoons and Tornados.

 

Also, you'll notice that an awful lot of interviews in Air Forces Monthly these days tend to refer to aircrew by their nicknames or first names. Although squadron bosses tend to get named, not all of them do.  Judging threat levels - and these can, under certain circumstances, change within the space of 10 minutes from one to the other and then back again - is a dark art, particularly these days. Better safe, rather than sorry, even if it leads to a spot less colour...

 

¹ - Obviously, that's just the Typhoons about which we're talking here; but it isn't rocket science to discover the ID of the GR4 and Reaper units either!

Edited by XV107

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Posted (edited)

Wise words from XV107 as usual.

 

As an alternative, perhaps the RAF are simply preparing a fleet of plain canvases for the myriad of "RAF 100" special anniversary schemes we'll see in 2018.

Edited by Richard E

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The fairly high hour usage due to current operations will also have an effect, since aircraft have to be rotated for minor and major servicings to appropriate UK bases. It seems probable that individual airframes may not necessarily be returned to the same units. Also the markings would only be applied in the base paint shop, not somewhere the jets will often be available for.

Makes sense not to hold individual  squadron markings therefore - and those markings do (slightly) compromise the grey low visibility paint schemes. Important for active service.

 

Shame , but unsurprising.

 

Excellent post, XV107.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Regarding the identification of units in combat, the policy of removing unit markings during operations dates to well before the current operations against IS. IIRC the first time this happened was during the Falklands War and all following operations saw the same policy being applied.

I don't personally know when such a policy was introduced within the RAF, would be happy to know from someone with good info.

 

Edited by Giorgio N

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Posted (edited)

I agree that it's probably as much to do with the fact that all the Typhoons have to cycled through combat operations and there aren't that many to share the workload. How many to they have now?  The last thing they want to do is wear out some aircraft prematurely so they'll be making sure there will be no individual high time jets. So squadron markings are pretty superfluous unfortunately. 

 

As for the aircrew being targets of terrorists. Recent attacks simply prove we're all targets. 

Edited by noelh

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On 7/27/2017 at 8:50 AM, Giorgio N said:

Regarding the identification of units in combat, the policy of removing unit markings during operations dates to well before the current operations against IS. IIRC the first time this happened was during the Falklands War and all following operations saw the same policy being applied.

I don't personally know when such a policy was introduced within the RAF, would be happy to know from someone with good info.

 

 

It's largely been more to do with camouflage than with identifying individual units. It was always assumed, and often printed as such in magazines of the time, that had war broken out in Europe during the 1970s/1980s squadron markings would have been swiftly removed, with only individual codes remaining. During the response to the invasion of Kuwait in 1990 the initial deployment of Tornado F.3s took place so quickly that there was no time to remove markings, and I know of at least one F.3 that went to Saudi Arabia and flew combat air patrol with the red tailfin stripe of No.5 Squadron. Markings were removed in theatre as time permitted.

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9 hours ago, T7 Models said:

 

It's largely been more to do with camouflage than with identifying individual units. It was always assumed, and often printed as such in magazines of the time, that had war broken out in Europe during the 1970s/1980s squadron markings would have been swiftly removed, with only individual codes remaining. During the response to the invasion of Kuwait in 1990 the initial deployment of Tornado F.3s took place so quickly that there was no time to remove markings, and I know of at least one F.3 that went to Saudi Arabia and flew combat air patrol with the red tailfin stripe of No.5 Squadron. Markings were removed in theatre as time permitted.

 

Those Tornado F3s were at Akrotiri and were just finishing APC, so were sent to Saudi Arabia straight from there rather than returning to the UK and so had no time for the markings to be removed.

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On 7/27/2017 at 2:37 PM, noelh said:

As for the aircrew being targets of terrorists. Recent attacks simply prove we're all targets. 

 

Some are more targets than others... 

 

I should point out that when I said 'a spot less colour' I meant 'colour' in the sense of adding colour to the stories in AFM, not the squadron markings. The rule of thumb has, as noted, always been that the squadron markings would  - invariably - be removed if the aircraft went to war, or operations looking remarkably like a war. You see it in 1982 where the SHARs - bar 809, briefly - and GR3s went without markings; it happened during Granby; markings came off during TELIC and HERRICK as well.  On the flip side, Typhoons over Libya carried squadron markings, although as the aircraft were drawn from across the fleet, you saw 3, XI and 29 squadron markings.

 

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6 minutes ago, XV107 said:

 

Some are more targets than others 

 

Indeed but so far they've concentrated on the most vulnerable. Their war is waged on the most innocent.

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Steady on, or the grown ups will stop us playing.

 

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On 28/07/2017 at 7:25 PM, Jabba said:

 

Those Tornado F3s were at Akrotiri and were just finishing APC, so were sent to Saudi Arabia straight from there rather than returning to the UK and so had no time for the markings to be removed.

Further to this,  the Tornado F3 aircraft from Akrotiri based at Dhahran were from both 5 and 29 squadrons, and all were fully marked up squadron jets.  The invasion happened when one of the squadrons was just finishing APC and packing to go home, and the other was just arriving.  (can't remember which was which!). They did not have their sqn markings painted out in Saudi, they all operated in full squadron markings whilst aircraft in the UK recieved theatre modifications for the war, and these (unmarked) modified aircraft were then flown out and replaced the squadron jets on a one for one basis.  The squadron marked aircraft were then flown back to UK. It wouldn't surprise me if some of them reappeared in Saudi later  after they recieved modifications and squadron markings were removed. 

 

Selwyn

(Detached from RAF Leeming to 5/29sqn Dhahran as missile coolant king!)

 

 

 

 

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Its is a shame but appears a sign on the times, I must admit on the fence line at Fairford it was little disappointing when watching the Typhoons arrive and noting they were all unmarked..It the days of sticker markings would it of hurt to put a couple on for the show? 

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4 hours ago, Shaun said:

Its is a shame but appears a sign on the times, I must admit on the fence line at Fairford it was little disappointing when watching the Typhoons arrive and noting they were all unmarked..It the days on sticker markings would it of hurt to put a couple on for the show? 

Strange but when I was on 18 Sqn we sent a Chinook to Hendon (I think) to celebrate something and was to be ZA718. Unfortunately at that time ZA718 was down south in the Falklands so another Chinook was sent and was made to be ZA718 with stickers being placed in the appropriate areas on landing, which were removed before it flew back to base. As far as I am aware no-one was none the wiser, so something of the nature that you are talking about could be done whilst the aircraft are actually at the show.

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