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Navy's First Choice Of Aircraft Color 1918

Waring Hills Mar 15, 2011

Any guesses on what was the first color chosen by the Navy bureaucracy for a tactical paint scheme? Of course it was Navy gray!

On 15 March 1918, the Bureau of Construction and Repair directed that all naval aircraft be painted in low visibility naval gray enamel. Over the years the colors and markings of naval aircraft have been tinkered with by each generation of admirals, but overall Navy gray has been pretty much dominant in the scheme of things. Read more about the history of naval aircraft markings and paint schemes here…

The Centennial of Naval Aviation celebration this  year has led to many paint schemes of years past being resurrected on our current generation aircraft, here are a few examples from the U. S. Naval Air Forces Facebook page…check out the last aircraft (F-18 Hornet)!


T-45C, BuNo 165598 in an ENTERPRISE (CV-6) Air Group scheme circa 1938. Aircraft assigned to Training Wing ONE in Meridian MS.


T-45C, BuNo 165636 in a WASP (CV- 7)Air Group scheme circa 1938. Aircraft assigned to Training Wing TWO in Kingsville, TX.

EA-6B, BuNo 160609 assigned to VAQ-129 at NAS Whidbey Island, wears an early 1942 paint scheme similar to aircraft flown in the Battle of Coral Sea.

F/A-18F, BuNo 165677 in commemorative "Navy Working Uniform" paint scheme. This Hornet is assigned to VFA-122 at NAS Lemoore, CA.


And lastly, we have a picture of the Navy’s follow on replacement for the P-3 Orion, the P-8 Posideon and guess the paint scheme after nearly 100 years,  a Centennial First…not…


The first painted P-8A Poseidon aircraft rolls out of the paint hangar at Boeing's Renton, Wash., facility, painted...gray!

So what is your favorite paint scheme?

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