L-188
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Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Sun May 16, 2004 11:43 pm

OK rant on.

Remember about six months ago when the US army was loosing a lot of helicopters over in Iraq. This was about the same time that DHL A310 took the missle hit.

One of the reason that the US helicopters where getting shot by everybody with SA-7's down to slingshots, IMHO is because the dark green color they are painted.

Now I was under the impression the reason the US Army didn't paint it's aviation assets in a more appropriate color for the terrain was because of the chemical resitiant paint that is used on the helicopters. I was under the impression that that dark green was the only aviation approved color. Obviously CARC in desert tan has been around for a while, for vehicles.

Well it turns out I was wrong, I didn't know it but some helo's in desert storm where wearing this paint.


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Why the hell isn't the army painting their in theatre aircraft in this color like craze
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jwenting
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Mon May 17, 2004 4:56 am

money.

Paint costs money and the US Army doesn't have any after the Clinton administration took their budget to the cleaners.
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HaveBlue
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Mon May 17, 2004 7:25 am

You mean like these?

Look closely...








 Smile
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Guest

RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Mon May 17, 2004 7:32 am

I don't think getting that chopper to Iraq would be a great idea HaveBlue... those terrorists are fundamentalists, and seeing the shadow of a naked woman would only get them madder!  Nuts

Painting that on a helicopter in Iraq is asking for trouble...But, well, those marines... they'll never change Big grin
 
L-188
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Mon May 17, 2004 12:31 pm

Those are the MARINES Haveblue  Laugh out loud

At least the aircraft they didn't paint are a lighter gray, rather then the dark Army green.


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Meant, I am sure for on deck use, but you have to admit it would hide you against a cloudy sky.

Compare those Sand helo's I posted with this shot of a 58D in Iraq.


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You can't tell me that the sand color would be lighter to spot.

Let me put up a couple of full color shots of the Army helo's in normal light to compare with the ones I posted earlier.


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Photo © Johan Paulus



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Photo © William Appleton
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Photo © AirNikon



But speaking of costs, it is amazing how much even in the civlian world companies end up spending when they don't get the proper equipment to do the job. Just another case of penny smart and dollar stupid. You can't tell me the cost of that paint, wouldn't have been covered if just one of those aircraft hadn't went down.


That Sea Stallion looks like the intro to a James Bond flick!
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jwenting
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Mon May 17, 2004 1:50 pm

Like we say here in such cases: "different bucket of money".

Paint goes out of maintenance budgets, replacement aircraft out of something else (probably procurement).
Dead crew don't require payment so personel is happy too, though medical gets to spend some to bring the body home (sorry for being so analitical, but that's beancounters for you).

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AGM100
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Mon May 17, 2004 10:37 pm

L-188 , I doubt that color had anything to do with the shootdowns. But it does bring up some interest in why we have not lost helo's lately. Did they run out of SA-7's ? Different tactics? .... ??

Also, we have Blackawks (USAF I assume) flying from DM/Tucson painted in desert colors. I dont know how many they have painted that way but I see them from time to time.
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HaveBlue
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Mon May 17, 2004 11:20 pm

L-188 I agree completely. The green color is either a throwback to the days when we thought we'd be in a massive conflict on the European continent, or just the fact that normally they would be expect to be manuevering in area like we did in Vietnam, where the camoflouge was much more appropriate. Heck, even our A-10's used to be dressed in green.

If its not for cost, then perhaps they didn't want to signal to the American people that we planned on being there long enough to warrant new paint schemes.
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L-188
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Mon May 17, 2004 11:56 pm

Well the CARC paint that the Army uses on helicopters is not the same stuff they paint trucks with. Apparently it is tested to make sure it sticks to the helicopter when inverted or something.

So I was just figuring that they didn't paint them because an aircraft appropriate CARC paint was not available.

But those shots of the desert tan helos from Desert Storm have proved me wrong.
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LMP737
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Tue May 18, 2004 12:08 am

Not to be a nit picker but weren't the manpads used in the shootdowns of the SA-14 and SA-16 variety? Most of the reports I have read say that the SA-7 is very good at drawing return fire but not shooting aircraft and helicopters down.
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Spacepope
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Tue May 18, 2004 8:29 am

Back in desert storm, the Brits painted their Tornados and Jaguars in desert sand colors. Perhaps these helos were at the same base and temporarily aquired the colors there.

In any case, what difference does it make if the helo is green or tan when looking at it from underneath?
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L-188
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Tue May 18, 2004 2:15 pm

I think there is a pretty good selection over there.

That color doesn't look correct.

The british colors where a bit..."pinker" IMHO


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zak
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Tue May 18, 2004 6:28 pm

"The british colors where a bit..."pinker" IMHO"

the brits actually painted their SAS vehicles pink in the desert. the reason for that is that under the often bright situations that you face in a desert, the blood in the eye will make you see things more "red". this makes reddish and pinkish things almost invisible in such an enviroment.
here is a picture of such a long range recon land rover used in north africa.
notice the paintscheme, it looks hilarious in moderate terrain but is said to be excellent in such deserts:
10=2
 
L-188
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Tue May 18, 2004 6:48 pm

It wasn't just the British that did that Zak.

During WWII there was US Army Air Force B-24 squadron that operated out of Marks Army Airfield in Nome, Alaska that was nicknamed the "Pink Elephants".

The story was the squadron was orginally tasked and was training to go to North Africa, but when the Aluetians where invaded by the Japanese, the unit was ordered to Alaska.

They went to nome with the B-24's still wearing the desert pick paint. Later when they got the time to repaint them in standard olive drab, they created a logo for their squadron that consited of a flying pink elephant, with .50 machine gun tusks and holding a bomb in it's trunk.

[Edited 2004-05-18 11:54:03]
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L-188
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Tue May 18, 2004 6:58 pm

Well you aren't always looking at them from the bottom, Spacepope.

Look at the shot in reply 5of the OH-58D in Iraq.

But I realize too that there is not perfect camo for both against the ground and on the sky, that is why I am not complaining about the grey marine helos, they don't stand out against the skys, The Army needs to be painting their helos tan so they don't stand out against the ground.

I would settle for grey too.
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N1641
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Tue May 18, 2004 10:44 pm

What's it matter what color they are? the guys shooting at them are standing on the ground looking up at the sky right? As an ATC I think a white plane is that hardest to see from the tower, when a white learjet turns just right it almost disappears.
 
SlamClick
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Thu May 20, 2004 3:49 am

Having taken a pretty good bit of groundfire myself, I just have to weigh in on this one. Camouflage is gigantically overrated. True camouflage, where line and texture are actually broken up is effective - on something like a sniper that is not moving. But a helicopter in a ghillie suit would look like a homeless person's shopping cart. I'd shoot at myself just on principle.

Camouflage is supposed to make you disappear, not look like a sheet metal sand dune. How about sky colored paint?

Reminds me of Robin Williams talking about the OD Hummers and troops in camo on the (bright orange) Golden Gate Bridge - "be vewy vewy quiet, we're hunting wabbits"
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
L-188
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Thu May 20, 2004 6:57 am

That's great.  Laugh out loud

Remember the movie "Good Morning Vietnam"...."when you go out to fight make a statement, when you are out in the jungle...CLASH!!!"

But I don't think we should be taking that piece of advice.

It really isn't about true came as you said, it is about being harder to spot.

If a guy with a 14.5 mm can't spot you, he can't shoot at you...know.
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Spacepope
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Thu May 20, 2004 8:06 am

Paint is a horrible method of camoflauge anyways. A few years back, it was shown that using incandescent lights at an intensity that matches the ambient light was far more efective at hiding things. What caliber is the UH-60 hardened against? I remember reading that the AH-64 was supposedly able to take ZSU-23 hits without being totally knocked out of the sky, I suppose a ZPU AAMG would do even less damage. However if you're close enough for an RPG-7 to be a worry, then camoflauge is the least of your worries.
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JohnM
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Thu May 20, 2004 9:06 am

The OD paint scheme goes both ways. It is darker which helps at night. Night time is when we like to operate. But if somebody is in the wrong place at the wrong time, low airspeed, or hovering at close range, I don't care what color the aircraft is. Your fate is up to the bad guys shooting skills.
 
L-188
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Thu May 20, 2004 12:15 pm

I think it depends on where you hit it Spacepope. But my understanding is that yes, the rotors at least are hardened to be resitant to 23mm hits.


I can't remember the name of the book I read but it was about helo operations in Nam, the guy that wrote it started as a door gunner in a OH-13 which was the Bell-47. Anyway the one comment he made was that toward the end they felt that the earlier versions of the Cobra attack helo where better surviabilitary aircraft then the earlier ones.

The reason was that in the early versions there wasn't anything in the fuselauge except sheet metal, so a shell would pass through it and not cause much damage, but as they added systems the odds that the same shell would hit something mission critical increased.
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MD-90
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Fri May 21, 2004 4:22 pm

I think the light grey color that I see A-10s painted in nowadays would be a good all around choice.
 
RaginMav
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Tue May 25, 2004 6:21 am

Keep in mind that it's the background color that the choppers need to blend in with, so maybe a two-tone gray bottom/sides with tan top would be best
 
AFHokie
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Tue May 25, 2004 7:45 am

The school of thought on what camo works best, the prevailing idea, of painting it greens, browns, etc to blend in with the ground vs. painting it a grey or blue to blend in with the sky seems to flip flop about every 20-30yrs.

Personally I think the current light grey works best, it blends the aircraft in on hazy days and on bright days, and as far as painting it to look like the ground, well, chances of US aircraft coming under air attack is very slim.

There has even been experiments with actually putting bright lights on aircraft as camo during the day.

The airforce is testing a pastelish grey color on the F-117 right now seeing as black works well when there is no moon out, but it can be seen against clouds, especially if there's a moon out. When it was originally developed it was painted in a grey, blue pastel color pattern, but the airforce at the time thought "I'm not flying in a pastel painted airplane" so they painted it black
 
H53Epilot
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Tue May 25, 2004 2:35 pm

Flown her-MCAS New River- NC.

Semper Fi.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Sat May 29, 2004 11:46 am

The French experimented with their "horizon blue" uniforms back in WW1, the idea being that it would make as soldier not stand out against a typical sky. On the other hand, against soil or brush it was the second worst option (the worst being their old red pants, they got caught right in the middle of a complete modernisation of their uniforms and equipment when the war started, the Germans had their field grey already, while the British were using Khaki since their experiences in the Boer wars).

Jan
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L-188
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Sat May 29, 2004 12:45 pm

The advantage with lighter grey to me, is that it would seem that it would pick up the color of the local dirt easier as the aircraft or uniform got dirty.

Of course the military isn't big on dirty anything  Laugh out loud

In the US civil war there was one US unit, I think out of Massacussets that wore green uniforms. Some of the snipes wrote home saying that they where great for sneaking up on the Rebs.

The USCG tested grey uniforms during WWII. The theory being that they woudln't stand out against the paint of the ship.
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bsergonomics
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RE: Now Why The Hell Doesn't The Army Do This?

Sat May 29, 2004 11:04 pm

The bright lights idea has been tested, and the theory (at least) works to a certain extent. Another idea that has been tested (not just on aircraft but also on infantry) is to use fibre optic technology to divert light from behind the object to in front of it. This (in theory) would make it virtually invisible.

However, the weight penalites are such that, at the moment, it appears impractical.

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