Military Review

Air camouflage: painting aircraft - when providing stealth takes on a symbolic meaning

29



The Su ‑ 34 bomber is almost imperceptible against the sky and above the water surface. The technology of painting this aircraft, which is built at the Novosibirsk Aviation Plant. V.P. Chkalov (a branch of the company “Sukhoi”) solves the problem of anticorrosive protection of airplanes and its appearance.

Anticorrosive protection of the aircraft - a multifaceted and long-term process that begins with painting the skins in detail. The creation of "liveried" - "clothing", the appearance of the Su ‑ 34 - takes place in the paint shop NAZ them. V.P. Chkalov. Previously, the entire surface of the aircraft is washed with soapy water, then with a mixture of solvents, and then degreased. Next is the isolation of surfaces that are not subject to painting. The final painting takes place after the completion of all assembly work and the flight tests of the aircraft.

All painting work is carried out in a hangar equipped with supply and exhaust ventilation, at air temperature 12 – 35 ° С, relative humidity of air 35 – 75%.

Priming and painting of the lower and side surfaces of the aircraft are carried out using airless spraying installations, and coloring of the upper surfaces using a spray gun. The work is carried out according to a used pattern: the bottom and side surfaces of the machine are painted by two people, starting from the front to the tail, and the top of the product is four people. “It is pleasant to feel that I contribute to the creation of our combat pride along with other employees of the enterprise,” says the painting workshop master Vladimir Kochnev. - When the plane soars in the sky, I do not see on it either inscriptions or symbols to which I applied my hands, but I know that they are there. Then there is a sense of pride in their work, the work of our painters, their factory, for their country. ”



The Su-34 coloring scheme is defined by the design documentation agreed with the customer. Upon request, the scheme may be changed. At present, the Su ‑ 34 coloring scheme is a light blue color of the bottom, camouflage spots of turquoise shades on the top, white color of the nose fairing. The front edges of the airframe are painted in a light gray color, and the nacelle zones are enamelled in silver. This variant of coloring is also called “sea”, which allows the aircraft to be almost imperceptible.

The on-board information (technical inscriptions) is also included in the color scheme, it is applied with enamels of various colors through silk-screen printing stencils, which are made here in the paint shop. The same enamels of various colors use stencils on the self-adhesive film to identify marks, emblems, side numbers. In particular, the application of a sign of nationality - the star - is done as follows: the first stencil is glued, the background is applied in white, then the other two stencils are glued alternately, after which red and blue are applied. This is a very time-consuming, complex process, requiring artistic skill, the faithful hands of the performer.

All the final painting time is eight days, including interlayer drying of coatings. And the weight of used paints and varnishes - about 200 kg.

The thickness of the protective anti-corrosion coating is 60–90 microns. All primers and enamels used for painting the Su-34 are of domestic production, recommended by the All-Russian Research Institute aviation materials. According to painters, these materials have a number of advantages over some foreign analogues: they are easier to apply and dry faster. “Our experience has shown that the coatings are durable and reliable in operation,” comments Natalya Ivanova, senior supervisor of the paint shop. - There are no complaints about the Su-34 at the moment, and only time will check the quality. We do our best not to be ashamed of our work. The quality of painting of our combat aircraft is a merit of the entire team of the workshop.

"Digital" camouflage MiG


In the photo: the "digital" camouflage of the Slovak MiG-29AC

20 December 2007 from the hangar of the aircraft repair plant in Trencin rolled out the upgraded MiG ‑ 29AC number 0921, which was the first in the Slovak Air Force to receive a new, very original “digital” camouflage scheme - in the form of individual small square “pixels” of gray tones of two different shades along the upper surface glider, also having a gray color (a different tone).

The coloring of the first aircraft under the new scheme was the beginning of the final stage of the modernization program of the Slovak MiG ‑ 29. After the technical revision provided for by the contract, all 12 machines were repainted according to a new scheme.

Masking the object and “breaking” the silhouette lines is the task of any camouflage. However, according to the developers, the “right” pixel-points do this at different distances equally well. “Digital” coloring is called because it was really developed using a computer. And it is not just randomly scattered pixels. At different distances from the object, they form groups of spots of different sizes. This is due to the special perception of the eye pattern, divided into rectangular parts of the picture, as well as due to the lack of obvious color joints. Therefore, “digital” camouflage in theory more effectively breaks the symmetry of the outlines of an object, be it a man or military equipment.

True, for aircraft "digital" camouflage - rather a fad. Typically, the background for aircraft is the runway, parking cover or sky. Against the background of the earth in the dynamics of "digital" color does not work. Apparently, therefore, having painted the first MiG ‑ 29AS in classic “digital” camouflage, the customer already on the second copy (No. 0619) departed from the severity of such a “disguise”: his keel over the “pixel” coloring was additionally crowned with a “tricolor” in honor of 15 anniversary of the Slovak Air Force.

"Sukhovskaya" coloring

Air camouflage: painting aircraft - when providing stealth takes on a symbolic meaning

In the photo: The color of the 10M aircraft (tail number 711) in “sandy” colors.

In terms of the complication of visual observation in the world at the present time, there are two main approaches to the color of serial combat aircraft:

1. Monochromatic color, optimized to reduce the contrast of the aircraft on one typical background. Paint color is chosen in such a way that the surfaces of the aircraft have the same brightness as the background. A variant of this color is a two-tone color, in which for the shaded areas enamel is used of lighter shades than for the illuminated areas. This achieves a better alignment of the brightness of the surfaces of the aircraft with the brightness of the background.

2. Warp coloring applied to varying background observation. The effect of the warp coloring is that each time a part of the stain stains merges for the observer with the changed background area. This is achieved by the distortion and unrecognizability of the remaining visible part of the shape and contours of the object. In the company's painting schemes
“Dry” found both of these approaches. Deforming paint is used on modern production aircraft of the Sukhoi Design Bureau, which are in service with the VKS and Russian Navy.

The color of the Su-27 family of fighters is optimized for observation on typical backgrounds in close combat, Su-33 ship-based fighters against the water surface, Su-34 fighter-bombers against the underlying surface at medium and high flight altitudes, Su-type attack aircraft 25 - on the background of the underlying surface when flying off the ground. Colors of enamels for coloring attack aircraft such as Su ‑ 25 are selected depending on the location of the intended base.

For the lower surface of the aircraft, monochromatic coloration is most often used to reduce the contrast of the aircraft when viewed against the sky.

According to the decision of the Minister of Defense, for all production aircraft 2011 – 2013 of release for the upper surfaces monochromatic coloring of dark gray tones was used. Later, with the advent of the new Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, it was decided to return to the old distorting color schemes and the same color scheme. In the color schemes of the Sukhoi production aircraft supplied to a foreign customer, both monophonic and deforming coloration have been applied. Gray tones are used in the same color schemes for the Su-30MKI Air Force planes of the Indian Air Force, the Su-30MKM Malaysian Air Force and the Su-30MKI (A) Algerian Air Force. Two-color monochromatic dyeing is used in Su ‑ 30MKK, Su ‑ 30MK2, Su ‑ 27SK AIR PLAA color schemes. Deforming staining is used in Su ‑ 27SK, Su ‑ 30MK2 aircraft color schemes of the Air Force of Venezuela, Vietnam, Indonesia, Uganda, color schemes of the Su-25 attack attack aircraft.

The type and design of the paint scheme, the colors and brands of paint coatings used for airplanes supplied to a foreign customer are determined based on the wishes of the customer and approved during negotiations upon signing the contract. Often, the type and colors of the color scheme of the aircraft supplied are chosen by the customer in accordance with the similar designations adopted in his Air Force.

In the coloring of experimental aircraft of the Sukhoi company, a distorting paint was widely used, using broken lines as spots edges. Broken lines serve to distort the visible shape and contour of the aircraft and thus mislead the enemy in close combat. Such an approach was most developed in “fragmentation” color schemes for prototypes of the Su-35 and T-50 aircraft.

Often, the color schemes of experimental machines are chosen so as to maximize the interest of the potential customer. An example would be the coloring of an 10M aircraft tail number 711. The painting was made in "sandy" colors and was designed to attract the attention of customers from the Middle East.

We should also mention the color scheme developed by the Sukhoi company for the Russian Knights aerobatics group, which is used on Su-27 aircraft. The coloring scheme is made in the colors of the tricolor of the Russian Federation and the flag of the Air Force of the Russian Federation. This scheme allows you to visually visualize aerobatics performed by the group.

Quality "livery"


In the photo: Coloring of the Su-33 aircraft at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant named after Yu. A. Gagarin.

The protective properties of coating systems, their durability and the appearance of the aircraft as a whole depend on the quality of the final painting. Currently, coating systems based on both domestic and imported enamels are used to paint Sukhoi production aircraft.

Domestic-made enamel is used for painting Su-34 airplanes. Specially-designed AK ‑ 1115M camouflage enamel is used to paint Su-25 type airplanes, and domestic-made QC ‑ 5178 enamel is used for radio-transparent surfaces.

Currently, the company "Sukhoi" are working on the development of advanced coating systems. So, for prototypes of the fifth generation fighter T ‑ 50, radio absorbing materials developed by the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Electrodynamics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, heat-insulating enamel protecting the airframe surfaces from damage at high temperatures arising from the weaponry were tested and introduced.

Also, Sukhoi, in conjunction with domestic manufacturers of paints and varnishes (FGUP VIAM, NPK YarLI, Russkie paints, ITPE RAS) are working on the search and implementation of promising paints and varnishes instead of imported materials.

Aircraft painting scheme

The color of the aircraft is designed to protect against the effects of various environmental factors, as well as to reduce the optical visibility of the aircraft.

Final painting - the final operation in the manufacture of the aircraft. The document on which the final coloring is done is the drawing “Airplane color scheme”. The drawing defines the design of colors, colors and types of applied paintwork materials, as well as areas of their application. For military aircraft, this drawing is developed, as a rule, in the design office that created the design of the aircraft, and is transmitted to the manufacturer.

The main tasks solved in the development of paint schemes:

• types of coatings and areas of their application to the aircraft should be chosen so as to protect the aircraft from corrosion, the effects of aggressive environmental factors, erosion, temperature and other effects on the aircraft while maintaining the efficiency of all its systems;
• the color, shape, dimensions and locations of the identification marks of the nationality of the aircraft, its airborne and serial numbers, and other graphic information should be identified;
• for serial combat aircraft, the coloring should make it difficult to visually observe the aircraft in typical combat situations.
The color scheme depends on the type of aircraft, the tactics of its combat use, the intended home region, the characteristics of aircraft operation.
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29 comments
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  1. Shiva83483
    Shiva83483 19 June 2016 06: 18
    +13
    An interesting article ... after reading it, I remembered the forced painting of this on the fixed-term service, the longing is green ... The article is a plus, moreover, such a bold one.
  2. activator
    activator 19 June 2016 06: 45
    +1
    I thought, and I think that camouflage for airplanes is nonsense. Amerikosy and NATO have not bothered for a long time to paint gray or it is rather olive. For various colors of automotive equipment from NATO to Sovdepovskoye with the camouflage that we fly in my IMH just that NATO is least visible.
    1. code54
      code54 19 June 2016 08: 34
      +16
      Those. is it "just" gray? Even I have not eaten olives of this color! ))))
      1. Simple
        Simple 19 June 2016 11: 03
        +1
        Most likely they simply didn’t notice how they ate it. smile


        Considering the photo-composition "a woman with a can of paint" I caught myself thinking that the surfaces of aircraft are not shaped to reduce the turbulence of the incoming air currents, which would not only reduce the air resistance in general, but also contribute to reducing the noise in the acoustic range.
        1. code54
          code54 19 June 2016 12: 58
          +2
          In general, it is strange, stencils, banks, brushes. For a long time, there are offset printing machines for any inclined or rounded surfaces. And any drawing can be done, and "hard" solvent is not erased even by many solvents! It is, of course, that you can take a steam bath with programs and pribluds when you can simply use a stencil and a roller in the old fashioned way! )))))))))))))))))))))) Only when you look at the erased side numbers and stars, it becomes a little sad.
      2. activator
        activator 19 June 2016 12: 58
        +1
        Quote: code54
        Those. is it "just" gray? Even I have not eaten olives of this color! ))))

        I wrote that I saw a color such as in this photo I hope that you ate olives of this color and I generally say that it’s not strong for smart people, from a distance it seems to be gray near olive, basically they painted the turntables so again I say it is the least visible among other colors. The camouflage pinwheel with a blue belly looks the most noticeable. yes
        1. activator
          activator 19 June 2016 13: 03
          +4
          I found something like this.
          1. marshes
            marshes 19 June 2016 15: 57
            +2
            Quote: activator
            I found something like this.

            Dark gray, graphite, the most successful color. The human eye "passes" it.
            I turned out to be the most wrecked car, and the light yellow human eye in the first case at all times of the day does not perceive yellow only at sunset or dusk.
            Most oddly enough, this white color of the car is little emergency.
        2. marshes
          marshes 19 June 2016 14: 00
          0
          Quote: activator
          .The most noticeable camouflage pinwheel with a blue belly looks.

          Similarly, at sunset it is bright pink. smile
        3. code54
          code54 22 June 2016 00: 37
          0
          Ahhh! Well, for non-smart ones: black olives, green olives, green-yellow! )))) Gray "olives" which are pickled olives you probably saw in pizza (the sliced ​​insides are really grayish), and the menu said "Italian with olives"))))))))
    2. DenZ
      DenZ 19 June 2016 11: 03
      +4
      Americans have a lot of shades of gray and they do paint it often, but there are also many camouflaged aircraft. It all depends on the location of the aircraft. Camouflage is a kind of "genius of the place" that is, camouflage that makes the plane invisible against the background of the forest, makes it clearly visible over the steppe or the sea. The Americans just don't bother too much about camouflage, but they have it no better than ours.
    3. PSih2097
      PSih2097 26 November 2016 18: 00
      0
      Quote: activator
      Merikos and NATO have not bothered about this for a long time; they paint it gray or is it rather olive.

      F-117, B-1B, B-2 are all black, even F-22 and F-35 too ...
      In general, with the development of radar and optics, the lump lost its functions ... if only as a designation of nationality along with the identification marks of the country's air force. IMHO.
  3. demiurg
    demiurg 19 June 2016 07: 37
    +20
    Quote: activator
    I thought and still think that camouflage for aircraft is complete nonsense.

    I live in Novosibirsk, the work is just under the trajectory of the take-off landing at Tolmachevo Airport, a couple of kilometers from the runway. Already after 30-40 seconds, warriors are lost in the sky, if they are not accompanied by a look. Blinked, and that's all, re-seeing it is already a problem. The roar of engines is such that it lays ears, and the plane is almost invisible.
    But civilians are easily and simply noticed.
    1. activator
      activator 19 June 2016 14: 16
      +5
      Quote: demiurg
      after 30-40 seconds, the warriors are lost in the sky, if they are not accompanied by a look. Blinked, and that's all, re-seeing it is already a problem. The roar of engines is such that it lays ears, and the plane is almost invisible.

      I don’t understand, are you going to shoot down planes with a rake by eye? fellow
      1. Herman 4223
        Herman 4223 17 January 2018 22: 37
        +2
        Close air combat, it is by eye.
  4. uzer 13
    uzer 13 19 June 2016 11: 04
    +7
    Such work — on the appropriateness of camouflage painting — was carried out in 1972 by forces of 10 ORAP (hf 21803) and I took a direct part in it myself. A series of photographs of aircraft were painted in and without painting at different positions and with different photo materials. Apparently, the results of the use of camouflage painting were recognized a positive factor, which is still widely used.
    1. activator
      activator 19 June 2016 14: 10
      +1
      Quote: uzer 13
      Such work — on the appropriateness of camouflage painting — was carried out in 1972 by forces of 10 ORAP (hf 21803) and I took a direct part in it myself. A series of photographs of aircraft were painted in and without painting at different positions and with different photo materials. Apparently, the results of the use of camouflage painting were recognized a positive factor, which is still widely used.

      I wonder how camouflage will help against radar, GPS, satellite? Now even armored vehicles in camouflage are not painted, and you are about the research of the 70 years. Recently, Kaptsov’s article was written that the Americans in 2mv refused camouflage and nothing.
      1. Rus2012
        Rus2012 19 June 2016 14: 53
        +5
        Quote: activator
        I wonder how camouflage will help against radar, GPS, satellite? Now even armored vehicles in camouflage are not painted, and you are about the research of the 70 years. Recently, Kaptsov’s article was written that the Americans in 2mv refused camouflage and nothing.

        ... LCP - there are different, with different absorbing properties from radar and electromagnetic radiation.
        Why, for example, is "Satan" in black? Because the protection against EMP, so that he may need to break through the "nuclear mushroom".

        As for the "Americans in WW2 abandoned camouflage" - did they really fight somewhere seriously?
        On the other hand - the more BT they destroy, they have more profits - they need to produce even more by loading their plants ...
        1. activator
          activator 19 June 2016 15: 22
          0
          Quote: Rus2012
          ... LCP - there are different, with different absorbing properties from radar and electromagnetic radiation.
          Why, for example, is "Satan" in black? Because the protection against EMP, so that he may need to break through the "nuclear mushroom".

          But this is a necessary matter, but for this it is not necessary to draw amoebas on airplanes.
        2. PSih2097
          PSih2097 26 November 2016 18: 09
          +1
          Quote: Rus2012
          Did they really seriously fight somewhere?

          they just fought seriously with the Japanese, in vain you are so about them.
      2. Alf
        Alf 19 June 2016 15: 19
        +5
        Quote: activator
        Recently, Kaptsov’s article on the Americans in 2mv abandoned camouflage and nothing was

        Here are just Kaptsov "forgot to mention" that until 1944 the US Air Force used camouflage, and then refused. There are several reasons for refusal, but the main one is that there is no one to hide from.
        1. activator
          activator 19 June 2016 15: 40
          -2
          Quote: Alf
          Here are just Kaptsov "forgot to mention" that until 1944 the US Air Force used camouflage, and then refused. There are several reasons for refusal, but the main one is that there is no one to hide from.

          God be with him and Kaptsev and Americans in the 44th year, to the fact that now, in addition to the eyes, there are other ways to detect which one doesn’t care what color he is, even if it is red and green peas. Well, unless the paint reduces the IR signature or absorbs radar radiation from this I think the benefits are more than stains.
        2. Alex_59
          Alex_59 19 June 2016 16: 18
          +6
          Quote: Alf
          There are several reasons for refusing, but the most important one is not to hide from anyone.

          I doubt this is the main reason. The upper surfaces in shades of green and gray are masking the aircraft from being detected from above against the ground. Those. either an aircraft standing at a field airfield, or flying below the one from whom it should be masked. The situation on the western front at that time was such that the Americans practically did not fly from field airfields, and if they did, the probability of their being bombed by the Germans was extremely small. And finally, they flew to cover heavy bombers at heights where it is useless to disguise as a "forest". But on the eastern front, everything was the other way around - we flew mainly from field airfields and low, worked on the front line, where the attacks of German fighters took place just from above. Therefore, our planes remained green until the end. But after the war, the MiG-15 ceased to be camouflaged, since, firstly, the silver coat better protects against the damaging factors of a nuclear explosion, and they began to fly mainly from concrete, and not from the ground. Well, the heights have grown - it was no longer necessary to accompany the IL-2.
          1. Alf
            Alf 19 June 2016 19: 51
            +2
            Quote: Alex_59
            Therefore, our aircraft remained green until the end.

            Not certainly in that way. Since 1944, the Air Force SA adopted gray-gray camouflage-gray-blue shades of different saturation. This was due to the fact that the average flight altitude has risen.
            To everyone who is interested in air camouflage from different countries until the end of 2MB I recommend the December issue of the Air Collection in the mid-2000s. Briefly, succinctly and clearly.
            Quote: Alex_59
            silverfish better protects against the damaging factors of a nuclear explosion,

            White coloring of the lateral and lower surfaces better protects against these factors.
            Please note that almost all carriers are nuclear-white.
    2. Akuzenka
      Akuzenka 11 December 2016 17: 26
      0
      Colleague, I'm sorry, but the usefulness of camouflage coloring is recognized, much earlier than 1972.
  5. marshes
    marshes 19 June 2016 16: 39
    +1
    Okay, still about camouflage, photos from the Google Maps satellite, where our planes are pale blue or green, camouflaged are clearly visible. These are blue bright spots.
    And here are the gray heh heh smile not visible, just the Iroquois can be understood only by the shadow cast.
    EU ki and Iroquois are generally quiet and little noticeable when the enemy sees it will be too late for him.
  6. magician
    magician 19 June 2016 20: 38
    +7
    He was at the Strategic Missile Forces exercises in the winter, in a snow-white field they were covered with a summer mask network, the result was positive, we were not noticed. I believe that camouflage is one of the main requirements ensuring the survivability of both equipment and personnel.
    1. Akuzenka
      Akuzenka 11 December 2016 17: 27
      0
      A colleague - 5 points. Well, pinned!
  7. zainetdinovu
    zainetdinovu 6 February 2021 14: 36
    0
    in modern conditions of combat in the air they rely more on radar binoculars will not help, but on the ground it is better to paint the fly in the color of the runway light gray