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Dazzle camouflage on HMCS Regina and HMCS Moncton

MarkOttawa

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Start of a major article at the The Drive's "War Zone" (further links at original):

Check Out This Canadian Frigate Painted In World War II Era Dazzle Camouflage
The United Kingdom first developed these camouflage patterns in World War I to try to make it harder for subs to engage its ships.

ir forces around the world will often give their aircraft specialized paint jobs to commemorate anniversaries and other notable occasions, but it's far less common to see navies do the same thing with their ships. Recently, however, the Royal Canadian Navy's Halifax class frigate HMCS Regina recently took part in a training exercise wearing an iconic blue, black, and gray paint job, commonly known as a "dazzle" scheme, a kind of warship camouflage that first appeared during World War I.

At the end of March 2020, Regina, and her unique paint job, had joined the HMCS Calgary, another Halifax class frigate, along with the Kingston class coastal defense vessel HMCS Brandon and two Orca class Patrol Craft Training (PCT) vessels, HMCS Cougar and HMCS Wolf, for Task Group Exercise 20-1 (TGEX 20-1) off the coast of Vancouver Island in the northeastern Pacific Ocean. The training continued into the first week of April. TGEX 20-1 was part of Calgary's Directed Sea Readiness Training (DSRT) in preparation for that particular ship's upcoming deployment...
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/33021/check-out-this-canadian-frigate-painted-in-world-war-ii-era-dazzle-camouflage

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HMCS Regina, carrying her dazzle camouflage scheme, takes part in Task Group Exercise 20-1 in April 2020.

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HMCS Moncton in her commemorative scheme.

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daftandbarmy

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I've been in my kayak fairly regularly around Victoria and have seen Regina roaming back and forth a fair bit.

In the right light, it certainly gives you second thought about where the heck the ship is heading. In the wrong conditions, it stands out like a bright blue/grey sore thumb.

My tuppence...
 

dapaterson

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I'm secretly convinced that someone gave a Bos'n a stack of cash to buy the paint, he went to the mis-tinted paint display at Home Depot to get it cheap, pocketed the difference, and used the mixed up colours to claim it was a tribute to history...
 

MarkOttawa

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And by Timothy Choi:

Naval Camouflage and its Application on HMC Ships REGINA and MONCTON: A Brief History

When one thinks of naval vessels today, the image is one of uniform grey: grey hulls, grey superstructures, grey missile launchers, and grey decks.  What little variation comes from the red (or blue, for the Royal Canadian Navy – RCN) lower hull, separated from the grey with the black ‘boot topping’ stripe at the waterline.  Shocking, then, might be the appearances of Halifax-class frigate HMCS Regina and Kingston-class patrol vessel HMCS Moncton this year to the viewer: their bright blue, black, and light grey patterns gracefully curving from stem to stern.  Far from the feverish imaginings of some boatswain mate given too much leeway, the two paint schemes are callbacks to some of the most significant periods of the RCN.  During the Second World War, Canadian and allied warships frequently sported a kaleidoscopic variety of paint colours and patterns in bids to confuse their enemies: against the featureless sky and sea, the enormous hulk of naval and merchant ships could not, it was thought, be hidden.  The next best solution was, then, to hide what the observers were looking at.  This note will summarize the historical development of naval camouflage, providing the background for understanding how the paint schemes currently worn by HMC Ships Regina and Moncton came to be...
https://rusi-ns.ca/naval-camouflage-and-its-application-on-hmc-ships-regina-and-moncton-a-brief-history/

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dimsum

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daftandbarmy said:
In the right light, it certainly gives you second thought about where the heck the ship is heading.

And that's the whole point.  They're not trying to hide it (otherwise why bother with bright colours) but to confuse the eyes on aspect and direction.
 

lenaitch

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Now if they could only put a main gun on Moncton and her sisters . . .
 

dimsum

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lenaitch said:
Now if they could only put a main gun on Moncton and her sisters . . .

Maybe a remotely operated 25mm or something useful.  The 40mm was literally a museum piece.
 

CBH99

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Dimsum said:
Maybe a remotely operated 25mm or something useful.  The 40mm was literally a museum piece.

I could totally see how in a time before high tech radars & sonars, on a foggy day in the north Atlantic, how that camo scheme wuld have really helped.

Looks pretty bada$$ tbh - like it!  :nod:
 

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I think it looks great, but also know how tight the repair budgets/timelines are, and how much of the ship staff effort got put into this. For that reason only, I really hope this doesn't become a thing.

Does seem kind of dumb to spend billions on a warship with a small radar cross section then mess up the expensive coating, but they could always do a better job of promoting the gun art, or limit it to something like the Orcas that are only used for training (if the big giant heads fall in love with it and want more)
 

dimsum

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Navy_Pete said:
I think it looks great, but also know how tight the repair budgets/timelines are, and how much of the ship staff effort got put into this. For that reason only, I really hope this doesn't become a thing.

Does seem kind of dumb to spend billions on a warship with a small radar cross section then mess up the expensive coating, but they could always do a better job of promoting the gun art, or limit it to something like the Orcas that are only used for training (if the big giant heads fall in love with it and want more)

Didn't they say that this was only for the year?  Although they could then switch it up, say "barber pole" or something next time.
 

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Dimsum said:
Didn't they say that this was only for the year?  Although they could then switch it up, say "barber pole" or something next time.

When the paint gets too thick, it has to come off and get taken back to bare steel; the cost of that is upwards of a million for the hull/superstructure, and takes months in drydock to do properly. Bad paint jobs where you don't clean off the salt can lead directly to structural issues, so there is a whole specialist industry and certifications relating to applying/inspecting coatings. The 280s had paint restrictions at the end of their lives because there was so much paint on the ships it was a weight issue (think the estimate was over 100 tonnes; some places the layers were nearly an inch thick).

Makes more sense to just leave it as is and redo the whole thing properly during the next docking, otherwise you can get paint coming off in sheets. As you can imagine, when paint has min/max temps, humidity ranges, surface prep and other issues to get it to stick properly, it's virtually impossible to do right when you are bobbing in salt water with no roof.  Plus the paint is a pretty heavy duty enamel, so with the environmental issue if it goes in the water, doing the hull is a pain in the arse.


 

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Navy_Pete said:
Does seem kind of dumb to spend billions on a warship with a small radar cross section then mess up the expensive coating, but they could always do a better job of promoting the gun art, or limit it to something like the Orcas that are only used for training (if the big giant heads fall in love with it and want more)

Navy_Pete, is a CPF’s standard paint RF-absorptive?
 

Stoker

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Dimsum said:
Didn't they say that this was only for the year?  Although they could then switch it up, say "barber pole" or something next time.

The plan for Moncton is be repainted when the ship goes into its 5 year docking.
 

Navy_Pete

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Good2Golf said:
Navy_Pete, is a CPF’s standard paint RF-absorptive?

You're right, it's likely the same paint coating (which is commercially available) in just a different colour.  There are separate pads that bolt on if you want a radar absorbing surface.

The paint scheme we normally use has the top coat, plus a black primer, with red primer on the bottom layer.  It's so you can look at a scratch and see if it's gone all the way through the coatings (which matters in terms of how you fix it and makes surface prep easier).

I guess it's really just the additional LOE for the masking, changing colours, shifting scafffolding/lifts around etc.  Repairing/painting the hull and inside tanks is the biggest single time sink in a typical refit (something like 20-40%), and will normally drive the schedule for when you can undock (because you can't paint inside tanks or bilges that sit below the waterline when the hull is in the water due to condensation, which is basically every tank/bilge on the ship, and it also interferes with pretty much every other job in the same space).  To make life easy to get the equipment in and out, the yard sometimes cut access holes in the hull for the blasting/painting hoses to come through.
 

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Thanks, was wondering because some RCAF aircraft have (somewhat/reasonably) IR-low emissive paint to reduce effectiveness of observing night vision systems. 
 

daftandbarmy

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If you Google 'Sailors Painting' this comes up in the video feeds: https://www.britishpathe.com/video/canadian-sailors-art-school-aka-art-on-the-h-m-c-s

It's all about keeping the maintenance skills to a high calibre without undue public expenditures :)
 

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Good2Golf said:
Thanks, was wondering because some RCAF aircraft have (somewhat/reasonably) IR-low emissive paint to reduce effectiveness of observing night vision systems.

This is one of my pet peeves.  The current paint scheme is very out of date.  It's much too glossy, and current electronic camera's pick it up quite easily.  I got in more than one argument (friendly) that the paint was terrible.  I was told it hides well in fog.  My response was my bright red car also hides well in fog.  Its FOG!

The Bulgarians had a very nice dark grey they used and the Dutch use white numbers on a dull grey which really hides the ship better than black on sea sick green.
 

Spencer100

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Underway, wouldn't be in today's battlespace if they are close enough to see you...you are already dead.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Underway said:
This is one of my pet peeves.  The current paint scheme is very out of date.  It's much too glossy, and current electronic camera's pick it up quite easily.  I got in more than one argument (friendly) that the paint was terrible.  I was told it hides well in fog.  My response was my bright red car also hides well in fog.  Its FOG!

The Bulgarians had a very nice dark grey they used and the Dutch use white numbers on a dull grey which really hides the ship better than black on sea sick green.

I have to admit, I want one of the AOP's launched in the dazzle scheme  8)

I would be surprised if there is no research done to reduce visual/electronic signatures via paint. Problem with a lot of the fancy paints is that they are incredibly expensive, toxic and highly dependent of proper preparation and may require temperature, humidity control during application. 
 

George Wallace

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Colin P said:
I have to admit, I want one of the AOP's launched in the dazzle scheme  8)

I would be surprised if there is no research done to reduce visual/electronic signatures via paint. Problem with a lot of the fancy paints is that they are incredibly expensive, toxic and highly dependent of proper preparation and may require temperature, humidity control during application.

But there are Visual/Thermal/electronic means to reduce, even hide, their signatures.

Then again, in "peacetime" it seems the CF has skimped on paint in all Branches.  How many Land Fighting Vehicles have a Cam Pattern today?
 
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