F-16 Fighting Falcon Flaunts Russian Fighter Jet Paint Scheme, Used to Playing the Bad Guy

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) probably won’t directly admit it, but shortly after the concept of aggressor squadrons came into existence around the time of the Second World War, the planes it uses for this task have mostly been painted in the colors of the Soviet Union, and now the Russian Federation.
F-16 Fighting Falcon with the 64th Aggressor Squadron 26 photos
Photo: USAF/Airman 1st Class Josey Blades
F-16 Fighting Falcon over JPARCF-16 Fighting Falcon landing at Yokota Air Base, JapanF-16 Fighting Falcons hiding from the rain in South KoreaF-16 Fighting Falcon during aerial refuelingRomanian Air Force F-16 Fighting FalconsFour F-16 Fighting Falcons flying over RomaniaF-16 Fighting Falcon over the Nevada Test and Training RangeF-16 Fighting Falcons chasing KC-135 StratotankerF-16C Fighting FalconF-16 Fighting FalconF-16C Fighting Falcon taking off from New JerseyAggressor Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon taking offRoyal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16Royal Moroccan Air Force F-16F-16 Fighting Falcon in Operation Inherent ResolveF-16 Fighting Falcons over Niceville, Florida
That holds true even today, at a time when tensions between the two nations are at very high levels. And although it doesn’t replicate to the letter the livery of Russian fighter jets, the American aggressor planes paint scheme makes no secret of who the bad guys are supposed to be.

Aggressor squadrons are airborne units used by both the USAF and the U.S. Navy to play the role of the enemy in war games. The idea behind all this is that pilots should become better at their jobs if opposed by real humans flying equally-advanced airplanes, instead of stationary or imaginary targets.

Over the years, these units used both American-made aircraft, but also ones made by enemy nations, including Russia’s MiGs. More recently though, most of the aggressor planes are American and mostly F-16s in the case of the USAF.

You see one of them in the main photo of this piece, locked and loaded as it flew during exercise Black Flag 22-1 held at the Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada back in mid-May.

This particular bird is assigned to the 64th Aggressor Squadron, and aside from the rockets and drop tank it carries, it also boasts hues and blue and white often seen in various patterns on Russian jets.

The 64th Aggressor Squadron was set up in 1941 as a pursuit squadron and started off by using P-40 Warhawks. 30 Fighting Falcons of the F-16C/M variety are flown by this unit, “providing realistic, threat-representative, near-peer adversary air for high-end US and coalition training.”
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Editor's note: Gallery also shows other F-16s.

About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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