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Folkbox1

RAF Camo Schemes

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Just idly perusing the What's New Page on Hyperscale got me thinking when looking at a scheme for a Victor based in Bahrain in the gulf war.

 

Does the RAF have schemes already in existence for any aircraft, in any possible region of the globe in any possible season?  I presume that for Nato areas there are pre-existing schemes but if say they were required for operations in Thailand or Fiji for example would that make up a scheme on the spot, adapt an existing one or just use what was already in the book?

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These days, the odds of seeing a theatre-specific camo scheme are slim to non-existent.  The complexity of modern airframe coatings on our stealthy platform(s) makes the cost of repainting impractical.  Even for older beasts, experience seems to show that the boring pale greys are "good enough for government work".  Sadly, even the days of unit-applied white distemper for winter ops over Norway seem to have gone the way of the Dodo.

 

In short, no, there is no "book" and there's precious little likelihood that we will ever see theatre-specific camo schemes on RAF airframes in the future.  

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23 minutes ago, mhaselden said:

These days, the odds of seeing a theatre-specific camo scheme are slim to non-existent.  The complexity of modern airframe coatings on our stealthy platform(s) makes the cost of repainting impractical.  Even for older beasts, experience seems to show that the boring pale greys are "good enough for government work".  Sadly, even the days of unit-applied white distemper for winter ops over Norway seem to have gone the way of the Dodo.

 

In short, no, there is no "book" and there's precious little likelihood that we will ever see theatre-specific camo schemes on RAF airframes in the future.  

The RAF and RN haven't really had to face determined air opposition since 1991 (if you're feeling generous) or 1982, however. In the event of a shooting war against an enemy with a real, functioning air force, who's to say what could happen?

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9 minutes ago, Procopius said:

The RAF and RN haven't really had to face determined air opposition since 1991 (if you're feeling generous) or 1982, however. In the event of a shooting war against an enemy with a real, functioning air force, who's to say what could happen?

 

True but, then again, I don't expect there are teams of camouflage experts sitting in the steaming halls of MoD working out camouflage schemes for locations across the globe.  There just isn't the money or interest for that any more.  Pale grey is good enough...and we do tend to follow USAF trends these days, and they haven't painted their sharp, pointy things anything but grey in decades.  

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I think the western view of warfare has moved on a bit.

 

It's not so much eyeballs we (in NATO) fear today but radar and IR, and our aircraft today get lots of camouflage attention from radar "eyes". As far as camouflage on the ground goes, well, it's probably IR we'd be concerned about even if all of our air defence measures failed and we ended up with roaming enemy attack aircraft looking for parked aircraft to wreck during the day time.

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Tbh grey kinda suits most theatres ....true crab helos are green and I personally think that is fit for purpose.

Junglies are now grey or the first three are...two excuses 1.its the same colour as MHF so easy to exchange parts between the two types of merlin and 2. It establishes our maritime heritage...not so sure about that one but its certainly cheaper and the USMC are grey.

Meanwhile the application of temp schemes ...well in GW1 very quickly dirty pink in GW2 and Afghanstan the green got a good dusting of brown very quickly so what is the point of adding extra work by painting pink.As for norway cant remember the last time junglies had temp white finish ....standfast the few/remaining stripeys from the FRY (Boz).

The money would be better spent on other things like capability....prob not what modellers want to hear but times is 'ard.

 

 

 

 

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It's been a very long time since the RAF had a standard theatre-specific colour scheme.  Javelins and Lightnings weren't repainted when they were sent to Singapore, and that was the late 60s.  In fact the last time anything was routinely painted differently from the NW Europe style would probably have been when Andovers and Hercules came out in two-tone brown with white cockpit roofs.  The one exception is, of course, everything going pink for the Gulf, but that was before the overall grey finishes turned up.  Deployments since then have been in their original colours.

 

As others have said, there are very good reasons for keeping everything grey.  It's a good camouflage in many situations, not repainting is cheaper, and there are probably special features in its constitution that aid stealth.  Aesthetics have nothing to do with it, alas, which is one reason my interests run out at about 1989.

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It is interesting that those countries actually involved or close to being in shooting air wars often seem to be more convinced of the benefits of proper camo, rather than NATO one-size-fits-all grey.  And markings that enemies or friends can eyeball to check before taking actions that are hard to undo!

 

Israel being the prime example but there are plenty of others outside NW Europe.  Air defence grey is just a fashion fad!

 

Cheers

Will

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16 minutes ago, malpaso said:

It is interesting that those countries actually involved or close to being in shooting air wars often seem to be more convinced of the benefits of proper camo, rather than NATO one-size-fits-all grey.  And markings that enemies or friends can eyeball to check before taking actions that are hard to undo!

 

Israel being the prime example but there are plenty of others outside NW Europe.  Air defence grey is just a fashion fad!

 

Cheers

Will

Since around 1980  thats nearly 40 years....some fad that 😃

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The Jags in Bosnia had ATRF grey finishes and there was a trial of a mix of Desert 'Pink' and grey conducted using a Tornado GR and a Jag - IIRC, the trial was Trial 'Flashman'. Apart from the appearance of the white/grey scheme on Harriers some years ago [was it really eight years ago that the decision to retire them was made? Crikey!], the era of the specific camo scheme appears to have drawn to an end for the RAF (and others).

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On 7/25/2018 at 12:07 AM, malpaso said:

It is interesting that those countries actually involved or close to being in shooting air wars often seem to be more convinced of the benefits of proper camo, rather than NATO one-size-fits-all grey.  And markings that enemies or friends can eyeball to check before taking actions that are hard to undo!

 

Israel being the prime example but there are plenty of others outside NW Europe.  Air defence grey is just a fashion fad!

 

Cheers

Will

 

No, air defence grey is not a fashion fad, it's the result of decades of experience and countless tests with a bewildering array of camouflage schemes.

All modern camouflage schemes have been tested against various backdrops and compared to other schemes, older schemes in the same air force, potential new schemes and schemes of enemy or allied air forces. All these tests have in the end indicated one thing: a camouflage based on 2-3 greys is the very best in providing air-to-ait concealment.

When it comes to concealment from the ground, again a 2 grey scheme is the best. It's only when it comes to concealment from the air of a low-flying aircraft that "traditional" schemes have some advantage but these schemes fare much worse in all other aspects.

And this is not really anything that new as some tests conducted by the US Navy in WW2 had already showed how the overall green/grey scheme of the Zero was very effective in the air.

While tests have shown that 2 or 3 greys lead to the best results, the same tests have shown that an overall grey still gives good results while requiring less maintenance and making logistics even easier. Hence why almost everybody is using a single overall grey to camouflage aircrafts.

 

P.S. Israel still use camouflage on some types... but I don't buy the old "Israel know combat and they do everything right" and I could list a dozen of bad choices made in that country. Afterall they are the ones that made the "best rifle ever" with the Galil and then replaced the type even before all the units had received them....

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On 7/16/2018 at 1:02 PM, Folkbox1 said:

Just idly perusing the What's New Page on Hyperscale got me thinking when looking at a scheme for a Victor based in Bahrain in the gulf war.

The Victor colour scheme in the lead up to and during the 1991 Gulf War was the permanent scheme which had been in use since the mid-1980s for large aircraft including the Victor/VC10/Nimrod to tone them down while parked on airfields.

 

The colour scheme of Hemp , a.k.a. Camouflage Beige depending on reference,  over Light Aircraft Grey was thought to be close enough to ARTF Desert Sand used during the First Gulf War on fighter-bombers especially when that had dulled and worn through exposure to the elements  to make applying a temporary finish unnecessary.   

 

On the other hand Tristars were still in their 'airline' colour scheme at that time which was why at least one of them was painted in the ARTF Gulf scheme, all large RAF aircraft started to be repainted grey a few years later except for the Victor which was withdrawn in 1993.

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