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Following on from a discussion I had on this question is Poes x wing modified it is suggested that the stealth ability of Poes x-wing comes from the paint job. My question is if a simple paint job can give an x-wing extra abilities to avoid detection and increase its dogfighting effectiveness, why don't all x-wings have this paint job?

Extra Info

Current fighters (apart from the stealth fighter/bomber) aren't black because they don't fight in space, they dogfight in atmosphere. The stealth fighter/bomber is only black because of the materials they are made of and hopefully won't be seen and therefore don't need to blend in to the sky. X-wings normally fight in space so being black will hide them from simple visual checks. A simple black paint job that can hide you from sensors would therefore be a necessity if it existed.

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    Er... because then they'd be nothing but dark side?
    – komodosp
    Feb 16, 2021 at 18:30
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    Only at night, otherwise they stand out like a sore thumb.
    – mwarren
    Feb 16, 2021 at 18:53
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    Expecting Disney Star Wars to have cohesive answers for this stuff is a bit naive. It's black because someone wanted his xwing to look distinctive in the movie. Then the authors of the secondary materials have to make up some reason he'd care to paint his xwing at all. There are no deep answers to be had here unless one of those poor authors found time to address it between patching up all the more major plot holes.
    – Harabeck
    Feb 16, 2021 at 19:05
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    Earth stealth fighters/bombers are black because they generally do most of their work at night. That said, space is dark, so why aren't X-wing's painted black as well? Probably because X-wings work in teams, with wingmen. And you don't want to run into your wingman because you couldn't see them against the blackness of space. But then again, if you're in the void between star systems, even a white painted ship is really, really hard to see.
    – BBlake
    Feb 16, 2021 at 21:23
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    One suspects the real answer isn’t based on space fighter logic - it’s the symbolic value of white = good and black = evil. One could easily make something up - perhaps they have a “friend or foe” system that’s based in large part on paint jobs. Neither side would see much benefit in changing colors - for one-off jobs, they’d be targeted by their own side; massive jobs would mean they’d have no automatic protection against shooting their own side, or they’d have to change the target color, meaning no lock-on to enemy ships.
    – RDFozz
    Feb 18, 2021 at 10:24

3 Answers 3

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I agree with BBlake on the point that you should be able to see your wingman. I think Poe's x-wing was custom modified by him as well and a newer model, so maybe it had a new computer that was able to detect things like your wingman. Also I'd like to point out there is also orange... that is helpful for seeing if necessary. It might just be a personal choice! Sorry that I can't give you a direct answer but this is the closest I can find.

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  • Thanks trying to answer this question, I don't think anyone will come up with a canon answer so I am accepting this.
    – mwarren
    Mar 5, 2021 at 10:31
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I don't think that a black paint job could hide a ship from sensors, the sensors probably rely on electromagnetic radiation or other frequencies emanating from starcraft. Even if you couldn't see it through a viewport very well, you would still be able to shoot it down. The gunners of turbolasers in Star Wars are shown having scopes that don't necessarily show a camera footage so they would be able to shoot down the craft that is painted black without seeing it.

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Canon: The black paint isn't the stealthy part

In Canon, as described in the linked answer, Poe's X-wing has a paint job designed to fool sensors. However, this seems to be the orange part of the ship. The "sensor-scattering ferrosphere paint" label from Incredible Cross-Sections points to the orange stripe on the wing, and The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary has this to say:

CUSTOMIZED X-WING

Poe's Black One is a customized Incom-FreiTek T-70 X-wing fighter coated with sensor-scattering ferrosphere paint. Though often overlooked by sensors, the colors certainly stand out to the organic eye. BB-8 considers Black One the best and smoothest ride of Poe's ships.

The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary, p13; emphasis added

It's unclear if the black part of the paint has any advantage besides looking cool. Speculatively, the fact that the orange paint is a customized addition may imply that it wouldn't have been cost-effective to add it to standard T-70s.

Legends: Visual stealth wasn't enough

In the Dark Nest and Legacy of the Force novel series, the "StealthX" model of X-wing was introduced:

Illustration of the StealthX, an X-wing-like starfighter painted for stealth

While part of its design was a matte black (or very, very dark gray) hull, designed to let it visually blend in with space, this alone was apparently ineffective as a method of stealth:

"Rowdy, arm bomb three," she said, designating number three because bomb racks one and two were empty. She continued to close on the lead shuttle until the tiny flicker of its efflux tail had stretched into a blue dagger as long as her arm, then ordered, "Activate our transceiver and open a hailing channel."

A bleep of protest sounded over the cockpit speaker, and Jaina glanced down to find a message on the display. A STEALTHX EMITTING COMM WAVES IS NO LONGER A STEALTHX. IT IS JUST A POORLY ARMED, LIGHTLY ARMORED X-WING SAYING COME GET ME.

Fate of the Jedi: Allies

This implies that the StealthX's design had to make major tradeoffs to make it effective as a stealth fighter, including reduced armor and weaponry compared to stock X-wings, and that making the ship visible to enemy sensors via radio communications would negate any benefit gained from visual camouflage.

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