F-22 in striking mirrored silver spotted at Nellis

| November 22, 2021 | 22 Comments

(Photo credit S. Caceres)

Some sort of mirror-like finish was spotted on this F-22 Raptor near Nellis AFB. It’s supposed that this is some sort of testbed for a laser-based search and tracking system. It’s also possible it’s being evaluated as a coating as a defense against a laser-based weapon.

The Drive has the scoop;

A highly intriguing U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth fighter was caught in the camera lens of talented aviation photographer Santos Caceres as it blasted out of Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada on the morning of November 19th, 2021. The aircraft is seen largely covered in a tile-like reflective metallic coating that is unlike anything we have seen on a Raptor ever before.

While the F-22 can look drastically different when its intricate skin coating and delicate composite stealthy structures are in various states of repair, one sporting polished metal has never been seen before nor does it make any outright operational sense. Note how the coating has been carefully applied to not interfere with the jet’s many key access points, sensor and antenna areas, and other critical systems.

While what we are exactly seeing here is still up for debate, it looks like the Raptor in question has a mosaic of reflective material applied to its normal skin for some sort of testing purpose. It just so happens that we have seen something uncannily similar before, but on an even more exotic airframe.

In June of 2020, The War Zone exclusively reported that one of Scaled Composites Model 401 ‘Son Of Ares’ demonstrators had flown a number of test flights over Naval Air Weapons Center China Lake covered in a highly-reflective metallic coating. It had a similar patchwork quality to what we are seeing here on the F-22. At the time we posited that this could be for testing advanced infrared sensors and even possible low-power laser systems and their targeting capabilities against a ‘mirrored’ target.

More at the source. Whatever it is, it looks awesome. Reminds me of seeing a highly polished aluminum WWII-era warbird like the B-29 Superfortress.

Category: Air Force

Comments (22)

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  1. KoB says:

    That shorely be am a puuuurrrdy Aerial Artillery Platform…but can it fight?

  2. David says:

    Reminds me of a Camaro I saw in Houston… entire car wrapped in shiny chrome. Could see it a mile away, literally.

  3. SFC D says:

    It’s all shiny and special for Christmas

  4. Devtun says:

    Oh yeah, a flying disco ball.

  5. AW1Ed says:

    Does it have a gold plated canopy, like the old EA-6B?

    No? Pfffft. Poser.

  6. Hatchet says:

    With the F-22’s price tag to-date, that finish had better be PLATINUM!

  7. 26Limabeans says:

    Earl Scheib….$29.99 any color..

  8. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    “Lets paint one silver and drive the spies nuts trying to figure out why.”

  9. MarineDad61 says:

    Oh oh.
    Air Force story, just in.
    Actually, a January 6 D.C. knucklehead story just in.
    And afterwards, he went to Air Force basic training,
    but lasted only a few months (or LESS) in the U.S. Air Force.

    Bilyard was interviewed by the FBI at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas, back in August.

    [“At the time, BILYARD was attending basic training for the United States Air Force but has since separated from the Air Force and moved back home to Cary, North Carolina,”
    an FBI special agent wrote in an affidavit unsealed Tueday.]

    [He Attacked Cops At The Capitol Riot.
    Then He Went To Air Force Basic Training.

    Aiden Bilyard, who was known to online sleuths as #HarvardSweats,
    smashed out a window at the Capitol and attacked law enforcement.]
    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/aiden-bilyard-capitol-riot-air-force_n_619d3479e4b044a1cc0dc38c

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