US F/A-18 Super Hornet receives livery used on Sukhoi Su-57

A US Navy (USN) F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter was recorded sporting a livery similar to that used by one of the Russian Sukhoi Su-57 Felon stealth fighter prototypes. The aircraft belongs to the VFC-12 Fighting Omars squadron, a unit based at the Oceana Naval Air Station whose function is air combat training, performing the role of enemy aircraft, adversary (aggressor). 

The images, published on the unit's Facebook profile, show the F/A-18E with red bort number 12. It is also possible to see another F/A-18F with the red bort 22 in the background, but without any special painting it seems. The unit is in the process of transitioning from the F/A-18C/D Hornet Legacy to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The photos were taken during the retirement ceremony of the commander of the unit, Commander Matt Runzel, explains the The Aviationist

Soldiers in front of the F/A-18E Super Hornet with the Mako livery. Photo: VFC-12.

The livery is called “Mako” and is inspired by the scheme used on three Su-57 prototypes. The pattern, also called White Shark, comes from the Mako Tubarão, a species that according to Magazine Galileo, it can reach four meters and is present in both tropical and temperate waters. Mako paint was used on the T-50-5/5R, T-50-6-2 and T-50-8, the fifth, sixth and seventh flight prototypes of the Russian fighter. 

T-50 sporting Mako/White Shark paint. Photo: Artyom Anikeev.

To increase the realism of training and facilitate the memorization of paint schemes and Russian markings, the US paints its Aggressor aircraft “imitating” the same patterns. The VFC-12 had already painted one of its F/A-18Ds with the ghost pattern, in shades of gray with pixelated blue, also used by the Su-57/T-50. 

F/A-18D Hornet sporting the Ghost livery. Photo: VFC-12.

The White Shark paint job is also the first in a series of new patterns that the unit's F/A-18E/F will receive in the coming months, according to the The War Areas, including liveries that follow the pattern used on fighters from China, with the J-10 and J-15 Flying Shark, Iran, with the F-14A Tomcat, North Korea with the MiG-29 Fulcrum and other countries. 

Livery used on Iranian Air Force F-14A Tomcat. Image via The War Zone.


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Gabriel Centeno

Author Gabriel Centeno

Journalism student at UFRGS, spotter and military aviation enthusiast.

Categories: Military, News

Tags: Aggressor, F-18 Super Hornet, Painting, US Navy, usaexport