Blue Splinter F-14A Tomcat

These photos were taken by David W Aungst, Fred Krause, Steve Mihoch, and Mark Parsons 

Camouflage Diagrams

To see image files detailing the camouflage on this aircraft (#20), click on images below:

Top camo Bottom Camo

If you would like high-resolution hard-copy prints of these diagrams, I am selling them for $5.00 (US) which includes postage. Drop me an e-mail at DWAungst@HotMail.com for more information.

Background

The Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center (NSAWC), based at NAS Fallon, has long been a source for uniquely camouflaged aircraft, dating all the way back to its roots when it was known as the Naval Fighter Weapons School (NFWS), "Top Gun", based at NAS Miramar. With Tomcats entering service in the training role as aggressors in the 1990s, it was only natural that they should get some unique camouflages applied to them. This Tomcat is one such example, sporting a blue splinter camouflage intended to represent the blue camouflages of Eastern Block Flankers. The camouflage scheme comes complete with a large white radome, just as found on the Flanker.

Research sources for this posting include photographs taken in May 1999, April and September 2000 and some "official" NSAWC camouflage diagrams of the F-14 blue splinter pattern. These sources, when compared, reveal that the camouflage and markings of this particular aircraft have changed over time. The changes are mostly due to the replacement of flight control surfaces, which seems to be a standard operating procedure for the Tomcat. There were three Tomcat "hulks" parked around NAS Fallon during my September visit. All were missing major flight control components from their airframes.

  • The "official" NSAWC camouflage diagrams provide the Federal Standard (F.S.) numbers of the colors in the camouflage. These diagrams agree to the way the aircraft looked in May 1999. Pictures from April of 2000 showed the left horizontal tail had been replaced and repainted in different camouflage patterns. Similarly, the inboard auxiliary flaps had sections replaced that retained their Medium Gray (F.S.35237) camouflage color. Later pictures from September of 2000 showed that the right vertical tail had also been replaced and repainted in different camouflage patterns. The camouflage diagrams in this posting include all the variations.
     
  • In May 1999 and April 2000, most all markings seemed to be in dark gray paint, either F.S.36081 or F.S.36118. The exception to this rule is the nose number (20). The nose number seems to have always been painted in black, but this is open to interpretation.
     
  • In May 1999, "NSAWC" was at the top of the tails in dark gray. In April 2000, there was no "NSAWC" writing at the top of the tail. By September 2000, the "NSAWC" lettering was back, but in black paint.
     
  • In September 2000, the lightning bolt on the right tail was also changed to black paint. This is most likely a side product of the repainting of the right tail after it was replaced. The left lightning bolt, however, appears to still be dark gray.
     
  • In May 1999, the gun cover door was painted D.Ghost Gray. The door was the same color as the surrounding fuselage in April and September 2000.
     
  • Throughout the various time periods, other minor airframe differences also occurred. Notable with these are the low-intensity formation lights (tape lights). These lights seem to get replaced regularly, not always with the same style of light as what was originally there. Sometimes the color of the fixture does not match the surrounding camouflage color. Sometimes the lights are segmented. Other times the lights are not segmented. Several of the pictures in the following sections highlight what I am writing about here.
     
  • Pictures in books show at least two other blue splinter camouflaged Tomcats from NSAWC, nose numbers 10 and 30. Both are similar to this aircraft (#20), but they differ somewhat in both camouflage color choices and markings styles. Most notable with these two other aircraft is that both use "positive / negative" style markings rather than all in gray or black as evident on #20.

 

Aircraft History

This Blue Splintered NSAWC F-14A Tomcat is a block 130 aircraft (Bureau Number 161869). It was originally delivered to the US Navy in January 1985. During its early service life, it flew with the following units.

Some time prior to and during 1998, it was placed into storage and listed as belonging to CFWL (Commander Flight Wing Atlantic). From storage, it transfered to the NSAWC sometime before May of 1999. It was assigned and still flying with this unit when I visited NAS Fallon in September of 2000.

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The photos below were taken by David W Aungst, Fred Krause, Steve Mihoch, and Mark Parsons 

Aircraft Pictures

Before I get to the detail pictures, here are some overall shots of the aircraft. I have to admit that this is one of the best looking Tomcats I have ever seen.

'Left Overview', 'This is the full left side of the aircraft. The picture is dated from May of 1999. Note the presence of NSAWC on the top of the tail.' 'Left Overview', 'The picture is dated from September of 2000.' 'Rear Overview', 'This is the full rear view of the aircraft. The picture is dated September of 2000. The guy taking a picture of the next Tomcat on the far left of the picture is my friend Steve. He usually ends up in a couple of my pictures after a day on the flight line (and I will end up in a couple of his).' 'Right Rear Quarter Overview', 'The picture is dated from September of 2000.'

 

Right Overview', 'This is the full right side of the aircraft. The picture is dated from May of 1999. Again, note the presence of NSAWC on the top of the tail. Note, also, the camouflage of the vertical tail. This pattern is changed by September of 2000.'  'Right Overview', 'This is another full right side view of the aircraft. The picture is dated from April of 2000. Note the absence of NSAWC on the top of the tail. The camouflage pattern is unchanged from May of 1999, but the NSAWC writing has been removed.' 'Right Overview', 'The picture is dated from September of 2000.' 'Right Overview', 'This is the aircraft returning from an afternoon mission at NAS Fallon. The picture is dated from September of 2000.' 

 

'Right Overview', 'This is the aircraft returning from an afternoon mission at NAS Fallon. The picture is dated from September of 2000.'  'Right Front Quarter Overview', 'This is the aircraft returning from an afternoon mission at NAS Fallon. The picture is dated from September of 2000.' 'Right Front Quarter Overview', 'This is the aircraft returning from an afternoon mission at NAS Fallon. The picture is dated from September of 2000.' 'Rear Airframe Overview',

 

'Right Front Quarter Overview', 'As the aircraft arrive back from their mission, they pause at the edge of the parking ramp to have their landing gear and weapon release safety pins installed by the appropriate ground personnel. The picture is dated from September of 2000.' 'Right Front Quarter Overview', 'Safety pins installed, the aircraft heads out to its parking spot. The picture is dated from September of 2000.' 'Right Overview', 'The picture is dated from September of 2000.'  'Right Nose Overview', 'A final shot of the aircraft heading for its parking place. The picture is dated from September of 2000.' 

 

'Topside Overview', 'This is a rather grainy shot, but it does give a decent view of the upper camouflage. Note that no national insignia is present on the upper left wing. Note also the no-skid walkways painted on the tops of both engine intakes. The picture is dated from September of 2000.' 'Topside Overview', 'While this picture is clearer than the previous one, it lacks the high angle to see the whole top side camouflage. The main points of note here are the lack of a national insignia on the wing and the red of the inner wing slat areas. The picture is dated from September of 2000.'

 


Left Forward Fuselage

'Left Nose', 'This is an overview of the left nose. Note the natural metal gun port and the clean surfaces around the gun. Aggressor service does not require the firing of the gun, hence it stays clean. For the truly detail minded individuals, note that the forward low-intensity formation light (tape light) is solid while the rear one is segmented. The picture is dated from April of 2000.'  'Gun Port and Nose Number', 'This is a closer view of the gun port and nose number. Note that the number is painted in black and there are two different grays used in the camouflage. The upper splinter pattern has a darker gray than the lower surfaces. Note also that the white nose color does not follow the nose cone panel line. Instead, it takes a straight vertical line and actually has a corner of the nose number painted into it. Finally, note again the low-intensity formation lights (tape lights) and the fact that the rear one is segmented while the forward one is not. The picture is dated from September of 2000.' ); 'Left Nose', 'This is an overview of the left nose. The picture is dated from September of 2000.'  'Left Nose', 'This is another overview of the left nose. The picture is dated from September of 2000.'

 

'Boarding Ladder', 'This view shows the top of the boarding ladder and the fuselage near to the engine intake. The picture is dated from April of 2000. Note the natural metal area in front of the boarding ladder. This area is the gun gas purge vent and has a series of louvers in it.' 'Left Engine Intake', 'This view of the engine intake shows the warning markings applied there. The picture contrast makes it hard to detect, but the DANGER writing is in white while the JET INTAKE writing is in the fuselage color. The picture is dated from April of 2000.' ); 'Glove Pylon Weapons', 'This picture shows the standard weapons load of NSAWC Tomcats. The upper item is a captive AIM-9L Sidewinder with a live seeker head. The lower item is an Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation (ACMI) pod. The colors shown are typical. Sometimes these two are split with one on each side, and sometimes they are together on the same side. The picture is dated from April of 2000.' 'Glove Pylon Weapons', 'This closer view shows better details of the small adapter used to interface the lower missile rail to the glove pylon. The picture is dated from April of 2000.' 

 

'Glove Pylon Weapons', 'This close-up of the seeker head on the Sidewinder shows more details of the missile. The olive colored forward section is a fully functioning seeker. There is just no explosive charge or rocket motor in this practice missile. The yellow cap protects the sensitive seeker head from the elements. The picture is dated from April of 2000.' 'Glove Pylon Weapons', 'This view shows the details of the rear portions of the Sidewinder missile and ACMI pod. Also visible is the rear portion of the pylon adapter that fits the lower launch rail onto the glove pylon. The picture is dated from April of 2000.'

 


Rear Fuselage

'Left Rear Airframe', 'This overview shows the rear fuselage, left vertical tail and various markings applied. The picture is dated from April of 2000. Note the absence of the NSAWC writing on the top of the tail. Note also the hint of camouflage visible on the upper horizontal tail, giving a clue that this camouflage pattern is different from earlier time periods.' 'Left Vertical Tail', 'This closer view details the left vertical tail. Note that the NSAWC is present and matches the color of the 20 and lightning bolt. Note the colors of the Top Gun badge and that the edges of the badge are true black. This provides a clue that the other markings are not black, but are actually a dark gray color. Also note the hint of camouflage visible on the upper horizontal tail, giving a clue that this camouflage pattern is the same as that found in official NSAWC diagrams. The picture is dated from May of 1999.' 'Left Rear Fuselage', 'This rear fuselage view provides a look at the markings applied to this area. The picture is dated from September of 2000.' 'Left Rear Fuselage', 'This even closer view of the left rear fuselage provides a clue to the camouflage applied here. Note the color of the area behind the turbine warning stripe. The darker gray of the upper camouflage wraps down the vertical surface to the outside corner at the lower edge of this area. The picture is dated from September of 2000.'

 

'Left Horizontal Tail', 'This view provides the updated camouflage pattern used to repaint the left horizontal tail following its replacement. Note the total absence of any aircraft data, such as NO STEP. The picture is dated from September of 2000.'  'Left Horizontal Tail', 'Another view of the updated camouflage pattern used to repaint the left horizontal tail following its replacement. Again, note the total absence of any aircraft data, such as NO STEP. The picture is dated from September of 2000.' 'Vertical Tails', 'This view shows the left side of both vertical tails. The picture is dated from September of 2000. Note the updated camouflage pattern used to repaint the right vertical tail following its replacement. This pattern differs substantially from the pattern used in earlier time periods. Also, compare the colors of the NSAWC, the lightning bolt, and the 20. Note that the NSAWC is black while the other two markings are still the same dark gray as seen in earlier time periods. As a last point of interest, note the color and style of the low-intensity formation light (tape light). This light is segmented and must have been recently replaced without having been painted yet to match the white fin cap.' 'Beaver Tail and Arresting Hook', 'There are lots of points of interest found here. The first is the DANGER marking on the side of the beaver tail. This is some of the only data on the entire aircraft. Secondly, note that the arresting hook has no stripes applied to it. It is finished, overall, in the same color as the lower fuselage. Then, note the color of the inside portions of the flare/chaff dispenser. They appear to be Zinc Chromate Yellow. Lastly, note the red fuel dump on the rear portion of the beaver tail. The picture is dated from September of 2000.'

 

'Beaver Tail', 'This is another view of the beaver tail. The picture is dated from September of 2000. The open panels on the upper fuselage apparently allow the maintenance personnel to access the wing sweep linkage. From what I heard the maintenance crew talking about, the aircraft had issues with wing sweep movement during the afternoon mission.'  'Right Horizontal Tail', 'The camouflage pattern on the right horizontal tail has remained constant throughout the periods where I have found pictures of the aircraft. This pattern is consistent with the official NSAWC camouflage diagrams. The picture is dated from September of 2000.'  'Right Tail Overview', 'This overview covers the entire right tail, showing the camouflage patterns on both the horizontal and vertical tails. Note the pattern on the vertical tail and compare it with other pictures dated from earlier periods. When the tail was repainted, it was given a completely revised camouflage pattern from the original painting. This pattern is not cosistent with the official NSAWC camouflage diagrams for the aircraft. The picture is dated from September of 2000.' 'Vertical Tails', 'This view shows the right side of both vertical tails. The picture is dated from September of 2000. Again, note the updated camouflage pattern used to repaint the right vertical tail following its replacement. This pattern differs substantially from the pattern used in earlier time periods. Also, note the color of the NSAWC and the lightning bolt. They are both painted black, as compared to the 20 which is still dark gray.'

 

'Right Tail Overview', 'This is another view of the right tail. Note the DANGER stenciling on the side of the beaver tail. Also note the low-intensity formation light (tape light) on the tail tip. The light is segmented. The picture is dated from September of 2000.'   'Right Vertical Tail', 'This closer view details the right vertical tail. Note that the NSAWC writing is missing and the dark gray color of the 20 and lightning bolt. The picture is dated from April of 2000. Note again the color of the area surrounding the low-intensity formation light (tape light). This light must have been recently replaced and has not yet been painted to match the white fin cap. By September of 2000, this light was repainted to match the fin cap.'  'Right Rear Fuselage', 'This picture shows the markings applied to the right rear fuselage. Note the red color of the wing flap edges. The picture is dated from April of 2000.'   'Right Rear Fuselage', 'Another picture showing the markings applied to the right rear fuselage. Note the detail of the low-intensity formation light (tape light). The light is segmented. The picture is dated from September of 2000.'  'Right Rear Airframe', 'This overview shows the rear fuselage, left vertical tail and various markings applied. The picture is dated from September of 2000.'

 


Right Forward Fuselage

 

'Wing Underside', 'This view shows the underside of the right wing. The picture is dated from April of 2000. Note the dark gray national insignia. The wing leading edge is dull, bare aluminum.' 'Right Engine Intake', 'Note that the upper camouflage wraps down far enough to cover the edges of the retractable glove strakes. As was true of the left side picture, the contrast makes it hard to detect, but the DANGER writing is in white while the JET INTAKE writing is in the fuselage color. The picture is dated from April of 2000.'  'Right Engine Intake', 'This is another right engine intake picture, this time dated from September of 2000. Not much has changed in this area between the April and September pictures.' 'Right Nose Overview', 'There is not much specifically to point out here. The open access panel is the ground refueling point for the aircraft. The picture is dated from September of 2000.'

 

'Right Forward Nose', 'This is another picture of the right nose area. The picture is dated from April of 2000. Note the rear low-intensity formation light (tape light) has been recently replaced and does not match the surrounding camouflage. Also note that the rear light is segmented while the forward one is not.' 'Right Nose Overview', 'Note the color of the nose number 20 compared to the rest of the markings on the side of the nose. The nose number is black while the rest of the markings are dark gray. The picture is dated from September of 2000.' 'Right Nose Number', 'This is a closer view of the nose number. Note that the number is painted in black and there are two different grays used in the camouflage. The upper splinter pattern has a darker gray than the lower surfaces. Note also that the white nose color does not follow the nose cone panel line. Instead, it takes a straight vertical line and actually has a corner of the nose number painted into it. Finally, note the details of the low-intensity formation lights (tape lights). Both are segmented. Compare this to the light configuration in an earlier picture dated from April of 2000. This picture, here, is dated from September of 2000.'

You can buy decals for this plane at Two Bobs Aviation Graphics