Typhoon Invasion Stripes

For the upcoming anniversary of the D Day landings the RAF have given the Typhoon invasion stripes

RAF Eurofighter Typhoon invasion stripes. Picture by kind permission of Daniel Kennedy

RAF Eurofighter Typhoon invasion stripes. Picture by kind permission of Daniel Kennedy

See more at Daniel Kennedy’s Flickr photostream, click here

And one from a few years ago!




One from the Twitter



About The Author

Think Defence hopes to start sensible conversations about UK defence issues, no agenda or no campaign but there might be one or two posts on containers, bridges and mexeflotes!


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Erm, weren't invasion stripes supposed to be on the underside? Thought it was for ground troops to recognise friendly air support?


On D-day they were top and bottom, but subsequently the upper strips were removed.


I rather like the Invasion Stripes concept, and it scales down to vehicles and soldiers as well.

In Gulf One we had upward facing chevrons painted in a starkly contrasting colour (normally black) on the wagons. In Gulf 2, we had the right or more accurately forward facing chevron painted in white on the coalition wagons, and little noted, also thermal painted chevrons that the naked eye couldn't see but thermal viewers would. There was other Combat ID stuff going on during Gulf 2: echeloned appliqué that gave a barred effect again through thermal viewers, an enhanced Coalition AFV ID course that the Brits developed as a UOR then distributed coalition wide on CD ROM, and some rather spastic winky wanky revolving lights based on normal orange revolving beacons but with thermal only emissions. We trialled those in Bosnia in 95, but most AFV commanders took the view that they were more trouble and risk than they were worth, so didn't use them.

Soldiers and Regiments also used DZ Flashes, now in very common usage and something else to be proud of. I suggested the pattern / colours for my Regiment, but sadly the order for 1000 on Velcro backing never made it to Theatre on time.

Should TD ever want, I can give chapter and verse on a failed NATO wide programme for proper almost IFF-like recognition for "friend/unconfirmed" called BTID, or Battlefield Target Identification Device, based on a Q&A millimetric wave system about the size of a shoebox that would allow aircraft to interrogate ground vehicles. Sadly, NATO ran out of funding. There were two highly developed systems by Raytheon and Thales, but not interoperable. Would make a big difference I think, but the final numbers before the programme was abandoned due to national bickering was about £1 billion to get to production level SRL, plus £20k per wagon, and £100 million just to equip the NATO AWACS fleet, plus a couple of million per fast jet. Too much apparently.


They forgot the cam wrap I mean grey is so boring the navy must of have had loads left over from the cold war and they're using it up by painting everything grey. TD use your influence


Not the first heritage scheme to adorn an RAF aircraft. But a very fitting one :)

It would be epic to see a T23 in a WW1 centenary 'dazzle' scheme ;)


Just a thought. It would be most unfortunate if those 4 Typhoon we just sent to the Baltic for purposes of scaring Putin / deterring thoughts of Baltic invasion had these "Invasion Stripes".... Sends all of the wrong messages.


just a quick reply to TAS, there are stripes on the underside as well


Thanks for the permission to use the image Daniel


Nice touch, i agree with Mark, grey is so bloody boring!

Reminds me of when they painted a Tucano to look like a Spitfire i think for the 70th Battle of Britain anniversary in 2010.


+1 on a modern RN ship in dazzle camouflage. Of course, LCS-1 and the Houbeis have it permanently, although the Freedom only got it because the exhausts were making such a mess of the paintwork :


@Challenger, correct, I think you're thinking of these ?


Those Tucano's look amazing. Wonder if you could do up a 'Phoon in those colours?


Typhoon in dark green and dark grey.....nice thought

Even a tiffie in the postwar light grey & azure blue underside would look funky- better than that anemic grey.

Possibly a desert air force scheme- light and dark stone with blue or acceptabley light grey undersides....

All so much more fighty than grey.


@ Dave Haine

Alas I think the RN considered the big dragon decal on HMS Dragon as 'extreme enough' :c


Desert Tucano


The RAF have put Hawks in WWII colours a couple of times I think.

I'm not sure that would be dazzle cam, El Sid. If dazzle cam is the angular patterns meant to confuse perception of bearing and speed, while they just look more like regular blotchy camouflage patterns.


Desert browns, light blue and grey, black and dark green, all better than the current horrid grey they use.

Their must be a reason why they have stuck with it for so long though, surely they have done their research and it's the best all round scheme to use.


Challenger - when introduced it was called Lo Vis Grey and was intended to make the aircraft difficult to see against leaden skies. Sometimes when watching grey aircraft doing flying displays the contrast is quite low against clouds. But. Surely all air-air combat systems (and ground-air; and shipborne anti-aircraft systems) now use radar/IR/ESM/multispectral sensors that are unimpressed by Primer Grey paintwork? And individuals on the ground will either hear the aircraft (they are far from silent), or if its coming in low & fast so no advance warning from the sound, then those individuals would be pretty powerless to do anything about matters anyway. Parked on the ground, the pale grey coloured aircraft will stand out nicely on nearly all surfaces except brand new concrete; and you'd think any opposing force ground strike asset would target acres of shiny new concrete looking like runways and aprons anyway. And against SAR the paint colour is immaterial, and even if the structure has a very low radar return the SAR shadow won't be masked.

Maybe these days visibility to Mk1 eyeball is unimportant, and they might as well be painted primer grey as any other colour. Maybe as its the only colour used it makes the paint jobs a bit cheaper too.


I'm sure they had a camouflaged Chipmunk at Middle Wallop for FAC training, affectionately known as the 'Spitmunk'.


What's the future scheme for army vehicles after Afghanistan and the pullout from Deutschland?

The black and dark olive combo was pretty much exclusively intended for knocking about in German forests; but if we're not going to be based there or expecting to fight a war there, then not much point in keeping it for sentimental reasons. Will Army Brown become the default decoration, ready for the next dusty location?


@ Brian Black

Multicam derivative? Or likely a dark/medium green base?
As stated before, in the field, stuff is added to the base.

Green and/or brown will come back in vogue... though it'd be cool to actually see a camo pattern (like the Aussies) than block colours.


Would we take offence if the German Air Force decorated their Typhoons with Jagdverbande?


For those that think spotting by eye is no longer used in air to air, please remember that aircraft radar is usually pointing only in one direction. In a maneuvering dogfight, anything to your left, right, top, bottom and rear is still visually spotted as far as I know. Need to confirm this though, my knowledge is from the 80s.


Obs - it makes sense for lumbering great transport aircraft, very big and comparatively slow (although its not hard to see the C-17s flying over the south coast here at vapour-trail heights, nor hard to identify them from the hunched-shoulder planform). But small pointy jets flying in fast from a long way off? Does the colour have any impact on detection? And without IFF would the small pointy jet be recognized as friend or foe?

Gloomy Northern Boy

@Mike - MTP would be pretty striking, but a swine to paint...could keep entire Regiments amused for weeks on end...and clearly the bottom half of vehicles issued to at least one recce regiment will need to be in a subdued red...



@Brian Black

Fair cop, the perils of posting late - that particular Houbei is more "blobby" but they're all different and some of them are definitely quite geometric. Obviously there's a spectrum of disruptive camo but dazzle isn't just about the "stripey" Vorticist designs of WWI, I think most people would include the modern geometric designs found on the Scandinavian corvettes for instance. It's such a shame there aren't more colour photos of the WWI designs, I saw a great book a while back which has gathered together most of the decent extant photos.

Given the use of EO in targeting systems, perhaps cowboy-style fringes could disrupt the targeting mechanisms? We need CAPTCHA camo....


Re: using Mk I eyeball in peripheral vision - that's the point of the F-35's distributed sensors and clever helmet, the aircraft assists what you see in all directions, so you can even see the enemy through the bottom of the plane.

Kevin Williams

The Hawker Typhoon shown is not wearing invasion stripes, those are standard Typhoon ID stripes.


Thanks Kevin, have shot the picture editor :)

Post updated

David Williams

Kevin Williams is right, but the full explanation is that both Hawker "Tempest" and "Typhoon" aircraft had black-and-white underwing (only) stripes, because from certain angles (and of course in the heat of 'dogfighting') they appeared to be Focke-Wulf 190s. This is nearly the scheme (except for the rear fuselage) carried by the 'Spitfire' of the "D-Day Pair".

"Invasion stripes" for participation in the 1944 'D-Day' landings were on both sides of the wings and right around the rear fuselage, as on the Eurofighter 'Typhoon II' of the pair. Note its call-sign TP-V. 'Tempest V'?

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