Text: Régis Rocca - Pictures: Régis Rocca, C.Nachtbauer (Point Fixe) & Armée de l'Air  © sbap 2013

Grouik Grouik

3/3 «Ardennes» has always been at the heart of all of France's commitments, unfailingly so, true to its motto «Never turn back, never turn away» (Ne recule ni ne dévie). It is with these elements in mind that I imagined this paint scheme for the 70th anniversary of the Squadron: powerful graphic features linking images and symbols. The hues chosen were found in the colour base of the squadron and its tool: the Mirage 2000D. I then added the colours of the three flights: «Blue», «Red» and «Green». The whole effect is reinforced by a gunmetal shade, symbolizing the squadron's hardness and its indomitable strength, in the shape of three fast, interlocked and proactive arrows. They are like three vectors with a single aim, never deviating from it.

After the design phase was completed, Harry's talent and know-how brought my paper creation to life on the skin of the 2000D. His work and his perception of my design are essential, because he is the one who transposes my 2D plans onto the 3D of the aircraft.His professional experience allows him to harmonize this gigantic puzzle perfectly. A colossal piece of work -tens of litres of paint, solvent and varnish, hundreds of metres of tape and masking material- carried out in record time, twelve 13 hour days, all done in a masterly manner. In the end, a good loking aircraft is not created by a designer alone, a talented painter is an absolute requirement to give life to a design.

This aircraft's moment of glory came on September 30, on Nancy-Oschey 133 airbase, before an audience of VIPs, 133 Squadron veterans and Armed Forces representatives, when the Squadron celebrated its 70th anniversary.

A perfect military ceremony ended with a tactical presentation of the aircraft, flying with another Mirage 2000D, a display by Patrouille Cartouche Doré and the Rafale Solo Display (in 2013 Tiger Meet livery).

The event was closed after a gala evening when the aircraft was on static display, with a perfect presentation and lighting. Each of the 600 guests present could have his or her picture taken in front of (and sometimes on top of) the the aircraft. The video of the painting process was also officially premiered on that occasion.

After these ceremonies, a profile of the aircraft by Gaetan Marie, Bravo Bravo Aviation, is now on sale, a perfect Christmas present for aviation livery buffs.

On behalf of SBAP and on my own behalf, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all members of Fighting Squadron 3/3 Ardennes, especially to Raoul, Ben, Axel, Xav’, Rocky and Bob, who are attentive leaders, very nice friends and indispensable supporters… Long live the boars!


Pencil-Sketch of the project (Régis Rocca) (Régis Rocca)
(Régis Rocca) Work in progress (Régis Rocca)
(Régis Rocca) (Régis Rocca)
Coats and ground-coats (Régis Rocca)
(Régis Rocca) Metal puzzle (Régis Rocca)
Forwards (Régis Rocca) Unmasking...and surprises ! (Régis Rocca)
Backup lightning for the runways (Régis Rocca) "Ardennes" Squadron and its three colours (Régis Rocca)
Ne recule, ni ne dévie (Régis Rocca) (Régis Rocca)
Towards the light (Régis Rocca) Harry taming the machine (Régis Rocca)
(Régis Rocca) The under-surface about to be painted (Régis Rocca)
Pausing and thinking (Régis Rocca) The designer's tools (Régis Rocca)
Finished product (Armée de l'Air)
Patch design...the Mirage 2000 D (Régis Rocca) The official ceremony at Nancy-Ochey air base
Flying boar (C. Nachtbauer - Point Fixe)) The 1st Squadron patch (Régis Rocca)
The 2nd Squadron patch (Régis Rocca) High speed turn (C. Nachtbauer - Point Fixe))
(C. Nachtbauer - Point Fixe)) The BR44 Squadron patch (Régis Rocca)
(C. Nachtbauer - Point Fixe))
The special book from Alexandre Paringaux (Zephir Edition) Why not a splendid Christmas gift by Bravo Bravo Aviation? (click on picture)
For a the 3/3 history click on picture (Serge Van Heertum) Have a look at the Régis Rocca video showing the painting of the beast (click on TV)

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