The RAAF has begun trialling a new camouflage pattern for one of its Hawk 127 lead-in fighters, in a bid to reduce the risk of mid-air collision by increasing aircraft visibility.
Air Force News’ FLTLT Skye Smith reports that HQ 78WG’s decision to go with a darker, two-tone gloss paint scheme for the Hawk (A27-30) arose out of an “assessment of operations risk” during operations out of RAAF Pearce last year. Though the aircraft’s paint scheme has yet to be formally assessed, CO 76SQN WGCDR Chris Hake told Air Force News that overall visibility was improved against the Hawk’s usual operational backdrop. “The existing Hawk paint colour uses the same paint colours as the F/A-18; however, the Hawk is much smaller than the Hornet and it’s safe to say that the grey camouflage is very effective,” WGCDR Hake said.
“If the trial paint scheme shows that we have met the requirement to increase the visibility of the Hawk then Air Force may choose to repaint the fleet in the new scheme, starting with the Pearce based Hawks.”
WGCDR Hake said feedback from both airborne and ground based observers had so far been positive, with A27-30’s darker colours contrasting well against a blue sky background, far better than with the Hawk’s existing scheme. Similar camouflage trials have been conducted by other countries, such as Canada’s NATO Flying Training Centre painting its Hawks in an all-over gloss deep blue, aimed at increasing visibility in snowy weather conditions.
The repainted Hawk will remain at RAAF Williamtown before travelling to Avalon’s Australian International Airshow in March as a static display. From there, it will relocate to RAAF Pearce for normal training operations with 79SQN.