Anti-flash white

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An RAF Victor bomber circa 1961 in anti-flash white with pale roundels.

Anti-flash white is a brilliant white color commonly seen on United States, British and Soviet nuclear bombers.[1] The purpose of the color was to reflect some of the thermal radiation from a nuclear explosion, protecting the aircraft and its occupants.

United Kingdom[edit]

A Blackburn Buccaneer at the 1962 Farnborough Airshow in anti-flash white with pale roundels.
A BAC TSR-2 in anti-flash white.

Anti-flash white was used on the Royal Air Force V bombers force and the Royal Navy Blackburn Buccaneer when used in the nuclear strike role. British nuclear bombers were given – though not at first, until the problem was considered – pale pink and blue roundels rather than the traditional dark red, white, and blue.

Anti-flash white was applied to several British prototype aircraft, including the British Aircraft Corporation TSR-2. Paint used on the British Avro Vulcan was manufactured by Cellon, and that on the Handley Page Victor by Titanine Ltd..[2]

United States[edit]

A E-6 Mercury airborne, painted in anti-flash white
A B-52D with anti-flash white on the under side.

Many Strategic Air Command nuclear bombers carried anti-flash white without insignia on the under side of the fuselage with light silver-gray or natural metal (later light camouflage) on the upper surfaces.

The United States Navy A-5 Vigilante carried anti-flash white without insignia on the under side of the fuselage.

The Boeing E-6 in TACAMO role was painted anti-flash white but its roundels were not subdued.

Soviet Union/Russia[edit]

A Tupolev Tu-22M with anti-flash white on the under side.

Like the United States, some nuclear bombers had the under side of the fuselage painted anti-flash white with the upper surfaces painted light silver-gray. The Tupolev Tu-160 of the 1980s was the first to be painted anti-flash white all over.

China[edit]

Some variants of the Xian H-6 had the under side of the fuselage painted anti-flash white.

Aircraft[edit]

In addition to these military aircraft, Concorde was painted white to protect the aluminium skin from aerodynamic heating.

Aircraft with at least part of the fuselage painted anti-flash white on nuclear delivery variants:

 United Kingdom

 United States

 Soviet Union/ Russia

 China

 Canada

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Gunston, Bill (March 1981). "The V-Bombers - The Handley Page Victor - part 3". Aeroplane Monthly.