Multiple US military aircraft have appeared recently wearing a highly reflective coating. David Axe digs into the potential reasoning behind these unique schemes displayed on USAF fighter aircraft.
In November 2021, a USAF F-22 became the first in a spate of jets spotted wearing an unusual mirror-like coating. Photographer Santos Caceres snapped pics of the jet with the reflective finish on its wings and fuselage departing Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. It was participating in an Air Force Weapons School Integration event, an aerial wargame involving several aircraft types. Planespotter Rich Traiano shot a video of the same jet around the same time.
A couple months later, in mid-January 2022, The War Zone website reported that another photographer had caught a USAF F-117 wearing a similar reflective coating flying over the Saline Military Operating Area in California. The USAF retired the F-117 as a front-line type back in 2008, but has continued operating some of the first-generation stealth attack jets for training and testing purposes.