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List of military aircraft of the United States

Template:United States military aircraft This list of military aircraft of the United States includes prototype, pre-production, and operational types. For aircraft in service, see the List of active United States military aircraft. Prototypes are normally prefixed with "X" and are often unnamed (note that these are not the same as the experimental X-planes, which are not generally expected to go into production), while pre-production models are usually prefixed with "Y".

The United States military employs a designation and naming system to provide identifications to all aircraft types. Until 1962, the United States Army, United States Air Force (formerly Army Air Force), and United States Navy all maintained separate systems. In September 1962,[1] these were unified into a single system heavily reflecting the Air Force method. For more complete information on the workings of this system, refer to United States Department of Defense Aerospace Vehicle Designations.

This list does not include aircraft used by the U.S. military services prior to the establishment of a numerical designation system. For these aircraft, see List of military aircraft of the United States (1909–1919). It also does not include aircraft designated under the pre-1962 United States Navy designation system. For these aircraft, see List of military aircraft of the United States (naval).

File:Collection of military aircraft.jpg
A collection of NASA experimental aircraft, including (clockwise from left) the X-31, F-15 ACTIVE, SR-71, F-106, F-16XL, X-38, Radio Controlled Mothership, and X-36.

Contents

Prior to 1919

Prior to 1919, all planes flown by the Army Air Service and the Navy were referred to by the designation given to them by their manufacturer. A variety of both domestic and foreign types were operated, with the latter being the primary front-line types during the First World War.

Army Air Service, 1919–1924

In September 1919, the Army Air Service decided that it needed an organized designation sequence, and adopted fifteen classifications, designated by Roman numerals. Several other unnumbered designations were added later. Each designation was assigned an abbreviation, and each design a number within that abbreviation. Variants were designated by alphabetically appending letters to the design number.

Type O: Foreign-Built Pursuit Aircraft

Type I: Pursuit, water-cooled

Type II: Pursuit, night

Type III: Pursuit, air-cooled

Type IV: Pursuit, ground attack, 1922

Type V: Two-seat pursuit

  • TP-1 – Engineering Division

Type VI: Ground attack, 1920–1922

Type VII: Infantry liaison

Type VIII: Night observation

Type IX: Artillery observation

Type X: Corps observation

  • CO-1 – Engineering Division
  • CO-2 – Engineering Division
  • CO-3 – Engineering Division
  • CO-4 – Atlantic
  • CO-5 – Engineering Division
  • CO-6 – Engineering Division
  • CO-7 – Boeing
  • CO-8 – Atlantic

Type XI: Day bombardment

  • DB-1 – Gallaudet

Type XII: Night bombardment, short range

Type XIII: Night bombardment, long range

Type XIV: Trainer, air-cooled

Type XV: Trainer, water-cooled

Ambulance, 1919–1924

  • A-1 – Cox-Klemin
  • A-2 – Fokker

Messenger

Pursuit, special

  • PS-1 – Dayton-Wright

Racer

File:Verville-sperry r-3.jpg
Verville-Sperry R-3

Seaplane

  • S-1 – Loening

Transport

Army Air Corps/Army Air Forces/Air Force 1924–1962

Attack, 1924–1948

Bomber

File:Huff-Daland LB-1.jpg
Huff-Daland LB-1

Until 1926, the Army Air Service had three sequences for bombers. Light bombers were indicated by the LB- prefix, medium bombers by the B- prefix, and heavy bombers by the HB- prefix. In 1926, the three-category system was scrapped and all bombers subsequently built were placed in the B- sequence.

Light Bomber, 1924–1926

Medium Bomber, 1924–1926

Heavy Bomber, 1924–1926

  • HB-1 – Huff-Daland
  • HB-2 – Atlantic/Fokker
  • HB-3 – Huff-Daland

Unified bomber sequence, 1926–1962

Beginning with #69, the "M-" (missile) and "B-" (bomber) series diverged. The missiles designated M-69 to M-92, some of which are incorrectly labeled as "formerly designated B-xx" in some sources, never used a "B-" series designation.

Bomber, long range, 1935–1936

A short-lived designation used from 1935–1936 to refer to three long-range bomber projects commissioned by the Army Air Corps. Most of the bombers were night bombers.

Cargo, 1924–1962

Drone

Aerial Target

1922–1935
1940–1941
1942–1948

Aerial Target (Model Airplane), 1942–1948

File:OQ-2A-Radioplane.jpg
Radioplane OQ-2A

Controllable bomb, 1942–1945

Target Control, 1942–1948

Unified sequence, 1948–1962

Glider

Assault Glider, 1942–1944

Bomb Glider, 1942–1944

Cargo Glider, 1941–1948

Fuel Glider, 1930–1948

  • FG-1 – Cornelius

Powered Glider, 1943–1948

Training Glider, 1941–1948

Unified sequence, 1948–1955

Sailplane, 1960–1962

Gyroplane, 1935–1939

Liaison, 1942–1962

Pursuit, 1924-1948/Fighter, 1948–1962

Designated P- for "pursuit" until 1948, when the United States Air Force was founded. After this, all P- designations were changed to F- ("fighter"), but the original numbers were retained.

Fighter, Multiplace

Pursuit, Biplace

  • PB-1 – Berliner-Joyce
  • PB-2 – Consolidated
  • PB-3 – Lockheed

Observation

Observation, 1924–1942

Observation amphibian, 1925–1948

Reconnaissance

Photographic reconnaissance, 1930–1948 / Reconnaissance, 1948–1962

Reconnaissance-strike, 1960–1962

Both of the following aircraft are numbered in the B- (bomber) sequence.

Rotary wing 1941–1948 and helicopter 1948–present

In 1941, the category letter R- was allotted for "rotary wing" aircraft, and this designation was used until the founding of the United States Air Force in 1947, at which point the category letter was changed to H-, for "helicopter". However, the original numbering sequence was retained.

In 1962 when the Unified Designation System was adopted, six former Navy and Army types received new designations in the H-1 to H-6 series, which can be found here. However, the original sequence was also continued, and remains in use to the present, with the next designation available being H-73.

Supersonic/special test, 1946–1948

Trainer

Advanced Trainer, 1925–1948

Basic Combat, 1936–1940

  • BC-1 – North American
  • BC-2 – North American
  • BC-3 – Vultee

Basic Trainer, 1930–1948

Primary Trainer, 1925–1948

Unified sequence, 1948–present

The AT-6 Texan, AT-7 Navigator, and AT-11 Kansan, were retroactively given T- designations. The new sequence began at 28, continuing the "PT-" numbering sequence.

Convertiplane, 1952–1962

Sequence Name Manufacturer Image First flight Notes/notable variants
V-1   McDonnell Aircraft 100px 14 July 1954 Formerly XL-25
Formerly XH-35
V-2   Sikorsky Aircraft   project cancelled before prototype built
V-3   Bell Helicopter 100px 11 August 1955 Formerly H-33

Army, 1956–1962

In 1956, the U.S. Army adopted a new, and relatively simple, designation system for its aviation assets. Aircraft were divided into three different types – 'A' for fixed-wing aircraft, 'H' for helicopters, or 'V' for V/STOL aircraft, and then were given a mission modifier, which, unlike the USAF system, came after the type code: 'C' for transports, 'O' for observation and reconnaissance aircraft, 'U' for utility types, and 'Z' for experimental aircraft. Aircraft types designated in this system were numbered sequentially.[8]

Airplane, Cargo, 1956–1962

Airplane, Observation, 1956–1962

Airplane, Research, 1956–1962

Sequence Name Manufacturer Image First flight Notes/notable variants
AZ-1 Marvelette Mississippi State University 100px 16 November 1962  

Flying Platform, 1955–1956

Helicopter, Cargo, 1956–1962

Helicopter, Observation, 1956–1962

Helicopter, Utility, 1956–1962

Helicopter, Experimental, 1956–1962

Vertical Takeoff and Landing Research, 1956–1962

File:Avrocar 2.jpg
VZ-9 Avrocar

Unified System, 1962–present

Airborne Laser

Sequence Name Manufacturer Image Notes/Notable Variants
AL-1   Boeing 100px [9]
Airborne Laser Testbed

Airship

Sequence Name Manufacturer Image Notes/Notable Variants
Z-1   Goodyear [9]
Z-2 Sentinel Westinghouse Airships
Z-3   American Blimp [3]

Anti-Submarine Warfare

Sequence Name Manufacturer Image Notes/Notable Variants
S-1 Skipped
S-2 Tracker Grumman Aircraft 100px Formerly S2F
S-3 Viking
Shadow
Lockheed Corporation 100px  

Attack

Sequence Name Manufacturer Image Notes/notable variants
A-1 Skyraider Douglas 100px (formerly designated AD)
A-2 Savage North American 100px (formerly designated AJ)
A-3 Skywarrior Douglas 100px (formerly designated A3D)
A-4 Skyhawk Douglas 100px (formerly designated A4D)
A-5 Vigilante North American 100px (formerly designated A3J)
A-6 Intruder Grumman 100px (formerly designated A2F)
A-7 Corsair II Ling-Temco-Vought 100px
A-9 Northrop 100px Losing contender for the AX competition
A-10 Thunderbolt II Fairchild Republic 100px Winning contender for the AX competition
A-12 Avenger II McDonnell Douglas / General Dynamics 100px cancelled
F/A-18C/D Hornet McDonnell Douglas 100px [10]
F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Boeing 100px [10]
A-26 Invader Douglas 100px (redesignated from B-26 in 1966)
A-29 Super Tucano Embraer 100px
A-37 Dragonfly Cessna 100px (originally designated AT-37)

Bomber

Sequence Name Manufacturer Image Notes/Notable Variants
B-1 Lancer Rockwell International 100px  
B-2 Spirit
"Stealth Bomber"
Northrop Grumman 100px  

Cargo

Sequence Name Manufacturer Image Notes/Notable Variants
C-1 Trader Grumman 100px (formerly designated TF)
C-2 Greyhound Grumman 100px
C-3 Martin 4-0-4 Martin 100px (formerly designated RM-1Z) Martin 4-0-4 airliners for use by the US Marine Corps and US Coast Guard
C-4 Academe Gulfstream 100px Used for training A-6 Intruder Naval Flight Officers.
C-5 Galaxy Lockheed 100px
C-6 Ute Beechcraft 100px Beechcraft 90 King Air, re-designated U-21 Ute
C-7 Caribou de Havilland Canada 100px
C-8 Buffalo de Havilland Canada 100px
C-9 Nightingale McDonnell-Douglas 100px
C-10 Jetstream Handley Page 100px USAF 68-10378/10388 (were to be offset purchase for RAF F-111K – both cancelled)
C-10 McDonnell-Douglas 100px Winner of the KC-X competition (after cancellation of C-10 Jetstream, C-10 designation re-used)
C-11 Gulfstream II Gulfstream 100px
C-12 Beechcraft 100px
C-14 Boeing 100px AMST contender
C-15 McDonnell-Douglas 100px AMST contender
C-17 Globemaster III Boeing 100px
C-18 Boeing 707–320 Boeing 100px
C-19 Boeing 747–100 Boeing 100px
C-20 Gulfstream III Gulfstream 100px C-20A / B / C / D / E
C-20 Gulfstream IV Gulfstream 100px C-20F / G / H / J
C-21 Learjet 35 Learjet 100px
C-22 Boeing 727 Boeing 100px Air National Guard and National Guard Bureau personnel transports
C-23 Sherpa Shorts 100px Military logistics transports for use in Europe and the US by the US Air Force and US Army
C-24 DC-8F-54 Douglas 100px A single DC-8-54F used for avionic trials as the EC-24A
C-25 Boeing 100px Presidential VVIP transport
C-26 Fairchild 100px
C-27 Spartan Alenia 100px
C-28 Titan Cessna
C-29 B Ae 125-800 British Aerospace Airways and navaid checker
C-32 Boeing 100px VIP transport
C-35 Cessna
C-37 Gulfstream V Gulfstream 100px
C-38 Gulfstream G100 Gulfstream (formerly IAI Astra SPX)
C-40 Boeing 737-700c Boeing 100px (replacement for the C-9A Nightingale in USAF and C-9B Skytrain II in USN)
C-41 C-212 series 200 Aviocar Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA 100px [3]
C-45 EADS Losing K-X contender[3]
C-46 Boeing 100px Winner of the K-X competition over the EADS KC-45
KC-767 Boeing 100px Out of sequence designation used for foreign military sales and trials aircraft:- Multi-Role Tanker Transports exported to Japan and Italy[3]
UC-880 Convair 100px Out of sequence designation used for foreign military sales and trials aircraft:- A single Convair 880 converted to tanker to support trials from the NATC at Patuxent River[11]

Drone

Sequence Name Manufacturer Image Notes/Notable Variants
Q-1 Predator
Warrior
General Atomics 100px [3]
MQ-1C Warrior
Q-2 Pioneer AAI Corporation
Israel Aircraft Industries
100px  
Q-3 Dark Star Lockheed Martin
Boeing
100px  
Q-4 Global Hawk Northrop Grumman 100px  
Q-5 Hunter Israel Aircraft Industries 100px  
Q-6 Outrider Alliant Techsystems  
Q-7 Shadow AAI Corporation 100px  
Q-8 Fire Scout Northrop Grumman 100px  
Q-9 Reaper
Altair
General Atomics 100px Originally "Predator B"
Q-10 SnowGoose MMIST  
Q-11 Raven AeroVironment 100px  
Q-12 Requested for Q-1CSkipped
Q-13 Skipped
Q-14 Dragon Eye AeroVironment 100px  
Q-15 Neptune DRS Technologies 100px  
Q-16 T-Hawk Honeywell 100px  
Q-17 SpyHawk MTC Technologies  
Q-18 Hummingbird Boeing  
Q-19 Aerosonde AAI Corporation [3]
Q-20 Puma AeroVironment
Q-21 Integrator Boeing Insitu
Non-sequential designations
Q-170 Sentinel Lockheed Martin 100px  

Electronic Warfare

Sequence Name Manufacturer Image Notes/Notable Variants
E-1 Tracer Grumman Aircraft 100px Formerly WF
E-2 Hawkeye Grumman Aircraft 100px Formerly W2F
E-3 Sentry Boeing 100px  
E-4 "Nightwatch" Boeing 100px  
E-5 Eagle Windecker Industries  
E-6 Mercury Boeing 100px TACAMO
E-7 Designation proposed for EC-18B
E-8 Joint STARS Northrop Grumman 100px  
E-9 Widget de Havilland Canada 100px  
E-10 MC2A Boeing
Northrop Grumman
 
E-11 Bombardier
Northrop Grumman
Battlefield Airborne Communications Node platform
E-767 Boeing 100px Out of sequence designation used for foreign military sales and trials aircraft:- AEW&C aircraft for the Japanese Self-Defence Forces[3]

Experimental, 1948–present

In addition to aircraft intended to support military operations, the armed forces of the United States have also supported efforts to push the boundaries of aeronautical and aerospace knowledge. Some of the best-known of these projects are the aircraft designated in the "X-series", which led them to become known as "X-planes".

Name Manufacturer
Agency
Image Maiden flight Notes/Notable Variants
X-1 Bell Aircraft
USAF, NACA
100px January 19, 1946 High-speed and high-altitude testing.
First aircraft to break the sound barrier.
Proved aerodynamic viability of thin wing sections.[12]
X-2
"Starbuster"
Bell Aircraft
USAF
100px June 27, 1952 High-speed and high-altitude testing.
First aircraft to exceed Mach 3.[13]
X-3
Stiletto
Douglas Aircraft
USAF, NACA
100px October 27, 1952 Titanium alloy construction; low aspect ratio wings.
Planned to test long-duration high-speed flight.
Incapable of reaching design speed, but Provided insights into inertia coupling.[14]
X-4
Bantam
Northrop
USAF, NACA
100px December 15, 1948 Evaluated handling characteristics of tailless aircraft in the transonic speed region.[15]
X-5 Bell Aircraft
USAF, NACA
100px June 20, 1951 First aircraft to fly with Variable-sweep wing wings.[16] (many other aircraft had previously flown with variable geometry wings, but none with variable sweep wings)
X-6 Convair
USAF, AEC
100px Not flown Modified Convair B-36 for study of Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion; not built.
NB-36H testbed tested reactor.[17]
X-7
"Flying Stove Pipe"
Lockheed
Tri-service
100px April 1951 High-speed testbed for ramjet engines.[18]
X-8
Aerobee
Aerojet
NACA, USAF, USN
100px Upper air research vehicle and sounding rocket.[19]
X-9
Shrike
Bell Aircraft
USAF
100px April 1949 Guidance and propulsion technology testbed.
Assisted development of GAM-63 Rascal missile.[20]
X-10 North American Aviation
USAF
100px October 13, 1953 Testbed for SM-64 Navajo missile.[21]
X-11 Convair
USAF
50px June 11, 1957 Testbed for SM-65 Atlas missile.[22]
X-12 Convair
USAF
50px July, 1958 Advanced testbed for SM-65 Atlas missile.[23]
X-13
Vertijet
Ryan Aeronautical
USAF, USN
75px December 10, 1955 Vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) testbed.
Evaluated tailsitting configuration for VTOL flight.[24]
X-14 Bell Aircraft
USAF, NASA
100px February 19, 1957 VTOL testbed.
Examined the vectored thrust configuration for VTOL flight.[25]
X-15 North American Aviation
USAF, NASA
100px June 8, 1959 Hypersonic (Mach 6), high-altitude (Script error: No such module "convert".) testing.
First manned hypersonic aircraft; capable of suborbital spaceflight.[26]
X-16 Bell Aircraft
USAF
Never flew High-altitude reconnaissance aircraft project.[27]
"X-16" designation used as cover story.[28]
X-17 Lockheed
USAF, USN
100px April 1956 Tested the effects of high Mach number reentry.[29]
X-18 Hiller Aircraft
USAF, USN
100px November 24, 1959 VTOL/Short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) testbed.
Evaluated the tiltwing concept for VTOL flight.[30]
X-19 Curtiss-Wright
Tri-service
100px November 1963 Tandem tiltrotor VTOL transport testbed.[31]
XC-143 designation proposed.[32]
X-20
Dyna-Soar
Boeing
USAF
100px Never built Reusable spaceplane for military missions.[33]
X-21 Northrop
USAF
100px April 18, 1963 Boundary layer control testbed.[34]
X-22 Bell Aircraft
Tri-service
100px March 17, 1966 Quad ducted fan tiltrotor STOVL testbed.[35]
X-23
PRIME
Martin Marietta
USAF
75px December 21, 1966 Maneuvering atmospheric reentry effects testbed.[36]
Note: Designation never officially assigned.[37]
X-24 Martin Marietta
USAF, NASA
100px
100px
August 1, 1973 Low-speed lifting body handling testbed.
Lifting body aerodynamic shape trials.[38]
X-25 Bensen
USAF
100px December 6, 1955 Light autogyro for emergency use by downed pilots.[39]
X-26
Frigate
Schweizer
DARPA, US Army, USN
100px
1967
Training glider for yaw-roll coupling
Quiet observation aircraft testbed.[40]
X-27 Lockheed 75px Never flew High performance fighter prototype.[41]
X-28
Sea Skimmer
Osprey Aircraft
USN
100px August 12, 1970 Inexpensive aerial policing seaplane testbed.[42]
X-29 Grumman
DARPA, USAF, NASA
100px 1984 Forward-swept wing testbed.[43]
X-30
NASP
Rockwell
NASA, DARPA, USAF
100px Never built Single stage to orbit spaceplane prototype.[44]
X-31 Rockwell
DARPA, USAF, BdV
100px 1990 Thrust vectoring supermaneuverability testbed.
ESTOL testbed.[45]
X-32 Boeing
USAF, USN, RAF
100px September 2000 Joint Strike Fighter prototype.[46]
X-33
Venture Star
Lockheed Martin
NASA
100px Prototype never completed Half-scale reusable launch vehicle prototype.[47]
X-34 Orbital Sciences
NASA
100px Never flew Reusable unmanned spaceplane testbed.[48]
X-35 Lockheed Martin
USAF, USN, RAF
100px 2000 Joint Strike Fighter prototype.[49]
X-36 McDonnell Douglas/Boeing
NASA
100px May 17, 1997 28% scale tailless fighter testbed.[50]
X-37 Boeing
USAF, NASA
100px April 7, 2006 (drop test)
April 22, 2010 (orbital flight)
Reusable orbital spaceplane.[51]
X-38 Scaled Composites
NASA
100px 1999 Lifting body Crew Return Vehicle demonstrator.[52]
X-39 Unknown
USAF
Unknown Future Aircraft Technology Enhancements (FATE) program.[53]
Note: Designation never officially assigned.[37]
X-40 Boeing
USAF, NASA
100px August 11, 1998 80% scale Space Maneuver Vehicle testbed.
X-37 prototype.[54]
X-41 Unknown
USAF
Unknown Maneuvering re-entry vehicle.[55]
X-42 Unknown
USAF
Unknown Expendable liquid propellant upper-stage rocket.[56]
X-43
Hyper-X
Microcraft
NASA
100px June 2, 2001 Scramjet hypersonic testbed.[57]
X-44
MANTA
Lockheed Martin
USAF, NASA
Cancelled F-22-based Multi-Axis No-Tail Aircraft thrust vectoring testbed.[58]
X-45 Boeing
DARPA, USAF
100px
100px
May 22, 2002 Unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) demonstrator.[59]
X-46 Boeing
DARPA, USN
100px Cancelled Naval UCAV demonstrator.[60]
X-47A Pegasus
X-47B
Northrop Grumman
DARPA, USN
100px February 23, 2003 Naval UCAV demonstrator.[61]
X-48 Boeing
NASA
100px July 20, 2007 Blended Wing Body (BWB) testbed.[62]
X-49
Speedhawk
Piasecki Aircraft
US Army
100px July 29, 2007 Compound helicopter
Vectored Thrust Ducted Propeller (VTDP) testbed.[3]
X-50
Dragonfly
Boeing
DARPA
24 November 2003 Canard Rotor/Wing testbed.[63]
X-51
Waverider
Boeing
USAF
100px 26 May 2010[64] Hypersonic scramjet demonstrator.[65]
X-52 Number skipped to avoid confusion with B-52.[37]
X-53 Boeing Phantom Works
NASA, USAF
100px November 2002 Active Aeroelastic Wing testbed.[66]
X-54 Gulfstream Aerospace
NASA
Future Supersonic transport testbed.[3]
X-55 Lockheed Martin Skunk Works
USAF
June 2, 2009 Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft (ACCA).
Molded composite fuselage and empennage testbed.[67]

Fighter

Sequence Name Manufacturer Image Notes/Notable Variants
F-1 Fury North American 100px (previously designated FJ-2, FJ-3 & FJ-4)
F-2 Banshee McDonnell 100px (previously designated F2H)
F-3 Demon McDonnell 100px (previously designated F3H)
F-4 Phantom II McDonnell Douglas 100px (previously designated F4H and F-110)
F-5 Freedom Fighter Northrop 100px
F-6 Skyray Douglas 100px (previously designated F4D)
F-7 Sea Dart Convair 100px (previously designated F2Y)
F-8 Crusader Vought 100px (previously designated F8U)
F-9 Cougar Grumman 100px (previously designated F9F-6)
F-10 Skyknight Douglas 100px (previously designated F3D)
F-11 Tiger Grumman 100px (previously designated F11F)
F-12 Lockheed 100px Two-seat Fighter version of the A-12 reconnaissance aircraft
F-14 Tomcat Grumman 100px
F-15 Eagle McDonnell Douglas 100px
F-16 Fighting Falcon General Dynamics / Lockheed Martin 100px Winning contender in the LWF contest
F-17 Cobra Northrop 100px Losing contender in the LWF contest, developed into the F/A-18 Hornet
F-18A/B/C/D Hornet McDonnell Douglas 100px Developed from the YF-17 as a shipboard fighter Attack aircraft
F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Boeing 100px Enlarged F/A-18 with bigger everything[3]
F-20 Tigershark Northrop 100px The ultimate Tiger development powered by a single F404 afterburning turbofan, but no production
F-21 Kfir C-2 Israel Aircraft Industries 100px Kfir C2 aircraft for US Navy dissimilar combat training and aggressor training
F-22 Raptor Lockheed Martin 100px [3]
F-23 Black Widow II Northrop / McDonnell Douglas 100px Lost out to the F-22 in competition
F-35 Lightning II Lockheed Martin 100px Production version of the X-35, winner of the JSF competition[3]
YF-110 MiG-21s Mikoyan-Gurevich 100px Note: Captured foreign aircraft used for evaluation and aggressor were given designations in sequence—based on chronology—with "black" project aircraft, continuing the pre-1962 F series.[68] Designation used for captured MiG-21s and new-build J-7s[69]
YF-112 Su-22 Sukhoi 100px Note: Captured foreign aircraft used for evaluation and aggressor were given designations in sequence—based on chronology—with "black" project aircraft, continuing the pre-1962 F series.[68] – obtained from Egypt or Allegedly used for captured MiGs[69]
YF-113 MiG-23s Mikoyan-Gurevich 100px Note: Captured foreign aircraft used for evaluation and aggressor were given designations in sequence—based on chronology—with "black" project aircraft, continuing the pre-1962 F series.[68] – Designation used for captured MiG-17s and[68][69]
YF-114 MiG-17 Mikoyan-Gurevich 100px Note: Captured foreign aircraft used for evaluation and aggressor were given designations in sequence—based on chronology—with "black" project aircraft, continuing the pre-1962 F series.[68] – Designation used for captured MiG-17s[69]
F-117 Nighthawk Lockheed 100px Production version of the HAVE BLUE experimental stealth aircraft
F-117D Tacit Blue TACIT BLUE 100px A stealth experimental aircraft[69]
    • F-13 – skipped
    • F-19officially skipped; rumored to be still classified
    • YF-24 – (fictional?) Classified project[69][70]
    • YF-113G – possible USAF "black project"[69]
    • YF-121 Rumored "black project"[69]

Note: Captured foreign aircraft used for evaluation and aggressor were given designations in sequence—based on chronology—with "black" project aircraft, continuing the pre-1962 F series.[68]

    • YF-116 – Rumored designation of captured MiG-25
    • YF-118 – Rumored designation of MiG-29

Glider

Sequence Name Manufacturer Image Notes/Notable Variants
TG-1   Schweizer
TG-2 Schweizer
TG-3   Schweizer[71]
TG-4 Schweizer[71]
TG-5 Schweizer
TG-6 Schweizer
TG-7 Schweizer[71]
TG-8 Schweizer
TG-9 Schleicher[71]
TG-10 Let[3][71]
TG-11 Stemme[71]
TG-12 Caproni Vizzola[3]
TG-13 Skipped
TG-15 Aeromot[3]
TG-15 Schempp-Hirth[3]
TG-16 DG Flugzeugbau

Helicopter

Unlike most other categories of aircraft, the introduction of the tri-service designation system in 1962 did not result in a wholesale redesignation of helicopters. While six types received new designations in the unified, "re-started" sequence, the original "H-" series of designations that started in 1948 was also continued, and no further types of rotorcraft have been designated in the "post-1962" system.

Sequence Name Manufacturer Image First flight Notes/Notable Variants
H-1 Iroquois Iroquois
Huey
Bell Helicopter 100px 22 October 1956 Formerly H-40
Formerly HU-1
UH-1N Twin Huey
UH-1Y Venom
H-1 Cobra Cobra
SeaCobra
SuperCobra
Viper
Bell Helicopter 100px Formerly
AH-1 Cobra
AH-1 SuperCobra
AH-1Z Viper
H-2 Seasprite Seasprite Kaman Aircraft 100px 2 July 1959 Formerly HU2K
SH-2G Super Seasprite
H-3 Sea King Sea King
"Jolly Green Giant"
Sikorsky Aircraft 100px 11 March 1959 Formerly HSS-2
CH-/HH-3 Sea King
H-4   Bell Helicopter 100px 8 December 1962 Formerly HO-4
H-5   Fairchild Hiller 100px 21 January 1963 Formerly HO-5
H-6 Cayuse Cayuse
Little Bird
Hughes Helicopters
McDonnell Douglas
Boeing Helicopters
100px 27 February 1963 Formerly HO-6
MH-6 Little Bird
AH-6

Observation

Sequence Name Manufacturer Image First flight Notes/Notable Variants
O-1 Bird Dog Cessna Aircraft 100px 14 December 1949 Formerly L-19
O-2 Skymaster Cessna Aircraft 100px January 1967  
O-3 "Quiet Star" Lockheed Missiles & Space 100px 1969  
O-4   Wren Aircraft   1963
(Wren 460)
Not proceeded with.
O-5 ARL de Havilland Canada 100px 27 March 1975
(DHC-7)
Formerly RC-7

Patrol

Sequence Name Manufacturer Image First flight Notes/Notable Variants
P-1 Skipped  
P-2 Neptune Lockheed Corporation 100px 17 May 1945 Formerly P2V
P-3 Orion
ARIES
Lockheed Corporation 100px 25 November 1959 Formerly P3V
WP-3D Orion
EP-3 Aries
P-4 Privateer Consolidated Aircraft 100px 1943 Formerly PB4Y-2K / P4Y-2K)
P-5 Marlin Glenn L. Martin Company 100px 30 May 1948 Formerly P5M
P-6 Skipped – presumably because of Martin P6M which was canceled a few years previously  
P-7   Lockheed Corporation   Long-Range Air ASW-Capable Aircraft
Not built
P-8 Poseidon Boeing 25 April 2009 [3]

Reconnaissance

Sequence Name Manufacturer Image First flight Notes/Notable Variants
R-1 Dragon Lady Lockheed Corporation 100px August 1981  
R-2 Skipped  
R-3         Possibly assigned to a Black Project
Speculated: TR-3 Black Manta
Speculated: SR-3 Blackstar

Spaceplane

The only designation in the "Spaceplane" series, the MS-1A shares a designation letter with the anti-submarine warfare category, and is perhaps unique among MDS identifiers as being assigned to a future, and currently not wholly defined, concept, as opposed to a specific project.[3][72]

Tanker

No specialised types have been acquired to receive a stand-alone 'K for Tanker' designation; for aircraft modified for use as tankers, see the parent aircraft in the proper sequence.

Trainer, 1962, 1990–present

Despite the adoption of the unified Mission Designation System in 1962, only two aircraft were designated in the new series, both former Navy types. The old series continued in use until 1990, at which point a new series was started over at T-1, with the previous T-2 still being in use. However, the old series has still seen new designations being assigned. The next designation available in the 'T' series is T-52 or T-7, depending on which series is continued.

Sequence Name Manufacturer Image First flight Notes/Notable Variants
1962 Sequence
T-1 SeaStar Lockheed Corporation 100px 15 December 1953 Formerly T2V.
T-2 Buckeye North American Aviation 100px 31 January 1958 Formerly T2J.
1990 Sequence
T-1 Jayhawk Raytheon
Hawker Beechcraft
100px    
T-2 Skipped T-2 Buckeye was still in service.
T-3 Firefly Slingsby Aviation 100px 1991  
T-4 Skipped  
T-5 Skipped  
T-6 Texan II Hawker Beechcraft 100px July 1998 Named in honor of AT-6 Texan

Utility, 1955–present

Sequence Name Manufacturer Image Notes/Notable Variants
U-1 Otter de Havilland Canada
U-2 Dragon Lady Lockheed Corporation
U-3 Blue Canoe Cessna
U-4 Aero Commander Aero Design
U-5 Twin Courier Helio
U-6 Beaver de Havilland Canada
U-7 Super Cub Piper
U-8 Seminole Beechcraft
U-9 Aero Commander Aero Design
U-10 Super Courier Helio
U-11 Aztec Piper
U-12 Skipped
U-13 Skipped
U-14 Skipped
U-15 Skipped
U-16 Albatross Grumman
U-17 Skywagon Cessna
U-18 Navion North American/Ryan
U-19 Sentinel Stinson
U-20 Cessna
U-21 Ute Beechcraft
U-22 Beechcraft
U-23 Peacemaker Fairchild Hiller/Pilatus
U-24 Courier Helio
U-25 Guardian Dassault-Breguet
U-26 Super Skywagon Cessna
U-27 Caravan Cessna
U-28 Pilatus[3]
U-38 Twin Condor Schweizer

Vertical and Short Take-off and Landing Aircraft

Sequence Name Manufacturer Image First flight Notes/Notable Variants
V-1 Mohawk Grumman Aircraft 100px 14 April 1959 Formerly AO-1
V-2 Caribou de Havilland Canada 100px 30 July 1958 Formerly AC-1
Redesignated as C-7
V-3   Bell Helicopter 100px 11 August 1955 Formerly H-33
Formerly V-3 in Convertiplane series
V-4 Hummingbird Lockheed Corporation 100px 7 July 1962 Formerly VZ-10
V-5 Vertifan Ryan Aeronautical 100px 25 May 1964 Formerly VZ-11
V-6 Kestrel Hawker Siddeley 100px 7 March 1964 VZ-12 was used for the P.1127 development model, but these were never delivered. XV-6A used for the six evaluation aircraft supplied by the UK.
V-7 Buffalo de Havilland Canada 100px 22 September 1961 Formerly AC-2
Redesignated as C-8
V-8 "Fleep" Ryan Aeronautical 100px 1961 Designation later reused.
V-8 Harrier Hawker Siddeley 100px

100px
28 December 1967 AV-8B Harrier II
McDonnell Douglas/British Aerospace
V-9   Hughes Helicopters 100px 5 November 1964  
V-10 Bronco Rockwell International
Boeing
100px 16 July 1965  
V-11 Marvel Parsons Corporation 100px 1 December 1965  
V-12   Parsons Corporation 100px 1961
(Turbo-Porter)
Cancelled, designation reused.
V-12   Rockwell International 100px 1978
(tethered hover)
 
V-13 not used  
V-14 not used Skipped to avoid confusion with X-14.[73]
V-15   Bell Helicopter 100px 3 May 1977  
V-16 Advanced Harrier McDonnell Douglas
British Aerospace
  Not built; developed into AV-8B
V-17 not used Assigned to a U.S. Army project but not used.[73]
V-18 Twin Otter de Havilland Canada 100px 20 May 1965
(DHC-6)
 
V-19 not used Assigned to a U.S. Navy project but cancelled.[73]
V-20 Chiricahua de Havilland Canada 100px 1979  
V-21 PACES Airship Industries 1983 Unconfirmed designation.[73]
V-22 Osprey Bell Helicopter
Boeing Helicopters
100px 19 March 1989  
V-23 Scout Dominion Aircraft 100px 21 April 1975
(Skytrader)
 

Un-designated foreign aircraft operated by the United States

See also

References

Notes
  1. ^ AFR 66-11, AR 700-26, BUWEPSINST 13100.7, "Designating, Redesignating, and Naming of Military Aircraft", 18 September 1962
  2. ^ "Lockheed B-71 (SR-71)". National Museum of the United States Air Force. October 29, 2009. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad Parsch 2009, "DOD 4120.15-L"
  4. ^ Andrade 1979, page 60
  5. ^ "HazeGray.org". rec.aviation.military FAQ, Part 4. Retrieved 2007-01-13. 
  6. ^ Andrade 1979, p. 162
  7. ^ "Photo essay: Flight of a T-52A" U.S. Air Force.
  8. ^ Chorney, Andrew. Systems of Designation, U.S. Army Aircraft, 1956–1962 System. U.S. Military Aircraft Designations 1911–2004
  9. ^ a b DOD 4120.15-L: Model Designation of Military Aerospace Vehicles, Department of Defense, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (AT&L) (Defense Systems), May 12, 2004. Retrieved April 7, 2010.
  10. ^ a b Officially, the F/A-18 is designated in both the A-for-attack and F-for-fighter series.
  11. ^ U.S. Military Aircraft Designations 1911–2004
  12. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, pp. 5–7.
  13. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 8.
  14. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 9.
  15. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 10.
  16. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 11.
  17. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 12.
  18. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 13.
  19. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 14.
  20. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 15.
  21. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 16.
  22. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 17.
  23. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 18.
  24. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 19.
  25. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 20.
  26. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, pp. 21–22.
  27. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 23.
  28. ^ "X-16". globalsecurity.org, accessed 11 May 2010.
  29. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 24.
  30. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 25.
  31. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 26.
  32. ^ Baugher 2007
  33. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 27.
  34. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 28.
  35. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 29.
  36. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 30.
  37. ^ a b c Parsch 2009, "Missing Designations"
  38. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, pp. 31–32.
  39. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 33.
  40. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 34.
  41. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 35.
  42. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 36.
  43. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 37.
  44. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 38.
  45. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 39.
  46. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, pp. 40–41.
  47. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 42.
  48. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 43.
  49. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 44-45.
  50. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 46.
  51. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 47.
  52. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 48.
  53. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 49.
  54. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 50.
  55. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 51.
  56. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 52.
  57. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 53.
  58. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 54.
  59. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 55.
  60. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 56.
  61. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 57.
  62. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 58.
  63. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 60.
  64. ^ "X-51 Waverider makes historic hypersonic flight". US AIr Force Public Affairs. 26 May 2010. Archived from the original on 17 Jul 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  65. ^ "X-51 Scramjet Engine Demonstrator – WaveRider" globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
  66. ^ Jordan 2006
  67. ^ Kaufman 2009
  68. ^ a b c d e f Fulghum, David A., "MiGs in Nevada", Aviation Week & Space Technology, November 27, 2006
  69. ^ a b c d e f g h Parsch, Andreas (2006-11-27). "Cover Designations for Classified USAF Aircraft". Designation-Systems.Net. Retrieved 2006-12-29. 
  70. ^ "Edwards AFB website". Col. Joseph A. Lanni, USAF biography. Archived from the original on 2005-03-18. Retrieved 2007-01-07. 
  71. ^ a b c d e f 94th Flying Training Squadron aircraft
  72. ^ MS-1A, GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2010-04-08.
  73. ^ a b c d Parsch, Andreas. ""Missing" USAF/DOD Aircraft Designations". Designation-Systems.Net. Retrieved 2010-04-13. 
  74. ^ a b c d e f g Office of History, Headquarters Third Air Force, United States Air Forces in Europe: Installations and USAAF Combat Units in the United Kingdom 1942–1945, Revised and Expanded Edition. October 1980; reprinted February 1985
  75. ^ Baugher, Joseph F. 1930–1937 USAAS Serial Numbers
Bibliography
  • Andrade, John M. (1979). U.S. Military Aircraft Designations and Serials Since 1909. Midland Counties Publications. ISBN 978-0-904597-22-6. 
  • Fahey, James C. (1946). U.S. Army Aircraft 1908–1946. 
  • Michael J.H. Taylor, ed. (1991). Jane's American Fighting Aircraft of the 20th Century. New York, NY: Mallard Press. ISBN 978-0-7924-5627-8. 

External links

it:Designazione degli aerei USA