The VMFA-242 'Bats' squadron commander's aircraft at MCAS Iwakuni

A large black bat painted on a United States Marine Corps F-35B in Japan

The F-35 is a very advanced aircraft but in aesthetic terms there are more beautiful fighters. Furthermore, the F-35 looks like a gray-colored aircraft.

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With the exception of the Danish and Belgian F-35s, all F-35s use national cockades with gray colors. I love the color gray, but I confess that sometimes I miss the colorful decorations that fighter planes carried decades ago, especially those of the US Navy, which drew colorful liveries on their tails and fuselages.

Currently,the aircraft painting process is related to its radar signature. Some fighter models, especially those with stealth technology, have paint that helps partially absorb radar signals. That is why seeing colorful decorations on these fighters is even more difficult than a few decades ago, when low-visibility paints began to be applied to military aircraft.

However, there are still exceptions. As Stefano D'Urso pointed out this Friday, a few days ago a Marine F-35B flew in Japan with a large black bat painted on it.

This Thursday, the portal of the US Armed Forces published a series of photos from this flight taken by Corporal Chloe Johnson of the US Marine Corps. According to the US Indo-Pacific Command, the flight had take place June 11 at Marine Naval Air Station Iwakuni. The pilot was Lt. Col. Alexander "Oprah" Mellman, commander of Squadron VMFA-242, who was making his final flight after 20 years of service in the Marines.

VMFA-242's nickname is "Bats", so the squadron commander's plane has been decorated with an oversized version of the bat that serves as that unit's emblem, colored black and with red reds. This detail has created a great sensation among F-35 fans. It was about time to see such an attractive decoration on one of these planes. Hopefully one day we can see something even more colorful on these planes: some Spanish roundels.

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