Pic of the Day: Digital Super Hornet

Here’s you pic of the day for Tuesday. This awesome shot of an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet from VFA-122 tricked out in a digicam paint job for last year’s centennial of naval aviation is taken from Erik Hildebrant’s book, Fly Navy.


  • 19E10

    I really miss planes with interesting paint schemes .
    This pic reminds me of how exciting it was to be a 6 year old, sitting the front seat of an Air America Porter rolling past the revetments of colorfully painted F-4’s, 104’s and 105’s @ Don Muang in Bangkok. Fighter Porn.

  • zap

    UGLY reminds me of 1970 wallpaper

  • JackBlack

    Tax payers dollar knows no end.
    Will all the tiger meet camouflage planes please sand up:
    respectively with their ridiculous pain scheme.

    • Pappa51

      Lighten up, I’d like to see more fancy paint jobs. Varity is the spice of life. the way you sound, you’d think they were asking you to pay the bill personally.

      • SJE

        More’s the point, a “ridiculous pain scheme” is about the cheapest way to make detection harder (save covering up with camo net or hiding in a cave) and saves aircraft and lives. Far cheaper than fancy electronic countermeasures, radar absorbent materials, etc.

        It might strike someone as ugly but any infantryman would rather go on patrol in camo instead of fancy red coats with shiny gold buttons, like some troops of old.

        • JackBlack

          So your analogy is infantry in a jungle/desert/bush, good for you, sky and bushes are the same, ok, we are smoking some good stuff.

          • SJE

            Planes spend a lot of time on the ground, or flying over terrain. A single solid color stands out.

          • JackBlack

            Depens on perpective and altitude, and color too.

      • JackBlack

        Not just me, you too, so enjoy it, you paid good money for that, and will continue to.

    • HeavyArrow

      What, would you rather have every airplane painted air superiority gray? It’s not like every plane is painted up like this.
      This Super Hornet was painted up for the 100 Years of Naval Aviation.

      Not doing something over the top for a 100th anniversary is rather dumb, what’s the point? That’s like celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary by going to McDonalds.

      • JackBlack

        Yes I would, check why they were started being painted that way after Nam, you’d get the point. With this idiocy it is hard to miss, whereas with gray you know clouds, and stuff. Do you absolutely think gray and varieties there of were done out of sheer incompetency aye?

  • geedeck

    I’d love a higher res copy even just at 1024×768 if it was available. 1920×1024 preferable but hey… :)

    And almost all fighter porn is good fighter porn. Haters gonna hate.

  • Black Owl

    Meh… Looks alright. I think a camo scheme with USMC MARPAT on the top of the aircraft and the nose and bottom still maintaining the standard gun-metal grey paint would be the most ideal.

  • Indy

    Can someone please enlighten me? What’s the use of this digicam paint job? Just to look cool or it has some practical purpose?

    • D.W.

      I was under the impression this was a publicity move, but I think Hyperstealth digicammed some MiG-29s with an eye toward functionality.

    • orly?

      Think about it, are aircraft ALWAYS in the air?

      • SJE

        More likely to be in the air if an F-18 than an F-22

      • malasada1

        Who would ever suspect that a darker camo painted object moving across a light blue sky would be an airplane? Oh wait. This was done as a PR stunt, as the article stated. Never mind.

        • JackBlack

          My whole point exactly.

        • Riceball

          It’s called counter shading, when viewed from above dark colors or camo will better blend in with the ground, a lighter color on the bottom will make the plane blend in better with they sky when viewed from below. This was done extensively during the 70s and, to a lesser degreem the 80s with ground attack aircraft like F-4s in Vietnam, A-10s, and A7s. Both the Marines and Air Force have done this in the past and the Navy experimented with it but found it made spotting the planes during landing much more difficult.

          • Guest

            Seriously, though, who spots planes by eye any more? Is any air defense system based on visual manual targeting? Does a radar system care at all about the paint job of a plane?

    • 19E10

      Indy, My recollection is that digicam configurations are the most effective way of breaking-up an object’s recognizability. Hence US uniforms, newer Chinese armor and a number of other applications.

    • ABEAN Leighty

      centennial of naval aviation it was painted for that, Honoring 100 years of naval Aviation. You all jump to conclusions…it’s not like we pain ALL of our aircraft like that!

  • Rob

    Interesting paint job. Does this really help fighter craft or is this just PR scheme? Way its done, looks like its suppose to mess up digital images verses traditional mk 1 eyeballs. Sort reminds me of colored duck tape….

  • Lance

    This digi camo frenzy is getting out of hand. This has NO repeat NO use. I miss my old days of tan and OD on Phantoms and Thuds. F-15 grey is fine but making impossbile to copy digi camo waste of paint.

  • Speedy

    I remember a pair of photos in an old miltary magazine (From the 70s?) One showed a friggate parked in front of a small island. With normal cammo options. You could see about 50% of the ship.

    The next photo showed the same class ship, in a new cammo scheme and system. I had the photo for about 10 years and NEVER saw the ship.

    In WWI, the schemes for planes etc were crazy, the idea was to break up the shap. you might see the plane/ship etc, but you would need a closer look to see what it was.

    If I had my DRIV painted to look like an Albertross, you would think it an easier target, till you got too close and died etc.

    In WWII the schemes got better, and the same idea applied. Break up the shape, not hide the tank etc (eg, paint the end of your long barrel black to make it look short.)

    I for one will now be painting a few of my 40K model APCs in similar schemes. It looks great.

  • FtD

    the new stealth paint for airforce in recession?

    • 19E10

      RtD, While the F-17 Cobra was designed for the air force (and lost out to the F-16). The follow-on F-18 is completely Navy and designed for carrier activity. The paint job is not stealth, it’s designed to be hard to see (by the M-1 Eyeball) and even harder to see with thermal viewers (because of the difference in the heat collecting abilities of different colors and tones).

  • Tiger

    Anything is better than looking at grey airplanes all the time.

  • Topboom

    Reminds me of the ‘dazzle’ camoflage paint on warships of WWI and WWII……that had limited effectiveness too.

  • Nick

    Plane camo: for when trees fly.

  • 6113

    Looks like something out of Ace Combat or something. I’m digging it.

  • JackBlack

    Nothing new except you can miss it if it is close to the desert ground. Thus you made a low altitude look from above hard to spot visibly plane ok, the air defense on the ground will have a field day throwing everything on a DARK spot in the sky, while the planes would knock it of still from few miles back spotting it on the radar. Camo = sucess = fail.

    Getting back to the scemes that make a bit of sense: http://media.moddb.com/cache/images/groups/1/3/20…

    And those that dont: http://www.hyperstealth.com/supersonic/F-16-KA2-D…

    • JackBlack

      To add that this is old news as VF-122 has done this in the past for the 100 years of naval aviation. ( maybe this is the exact same repainted plane ): http://www.flickr.com/photos/phantomphan1974photo…

  • daisey

    The nerve of some people, It was for the centennial of naval aviation, the only purpose was to celebrate 100 years of Naval Aviations! Some poeple should learn respect for there country and our pilots…

    • JackBlack

      O yeah respect, sure, like making your pilots suffocate FIRST, you mean that respect. Then spending funds on fancy paint jobs, why not hotrod pinstripe, it is the American way, lets be consistent.
      Sure we applaud to paint jobs, while people die in Ospreys, suffocate in F-22’s and GOD knows what will happen with F-35, good work, bring it on, people can take it.

      • SJE

        Dude, you need a beer.

        • JackBlack

          Have wine, it is just that it has not settled yet.

  • http://www.hcp.kk5.org Brian Black

    That’ll blend in perfectly on the deck of one of those new digicam aircraft carriers.

  • Trostorff

    Looks like something you’d get as part of a DLC pack for one of the Ace Combat games.

  • Brock Bolton

    I’m no expert but im almost 90% sure thats a regular F-18, not an F/A-18, the F/A has a rounded intake, not a cornered one as in this picture. anyways, sweet paint scheme, and reply if you have more knowledge on my prevous statement.

    • Nick

      All ‘hornet’ variants are F/A-18. The inlet differences are as follows:
      F/A-18 A/B/C/D — Hornet (round inlets)
      F/A-18 E/F — Super Hornet (rectangular inlets)

      Hope that helps! :)

  • PolicyWonk

    Lockheed did a lot of research into stealth and visibility, but from what I heard, our military didn’t like the shape of the submarine designs (apparently, sonar acts in ways similar to radar), or the colors (a shade of pink) that made aircraft, etc, much harder to detect.

  • Russ

    I’d like something in a mauve, please.