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Aircraft by Nation

United States
Military since 1962

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Basic Classifications: In 1962, the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy designations were unified into a single system as then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara decided to simplify the procurement of military aircraft.  The unification was achieved by re-designating existing Navy aircraft to conform to the existing Air Force system with the exception of resurrecting the "A" for Attack designation.  The specific model number within the mission designation (for example, the "101" in "F-101") was restarted at one as the model numbers of fighter and cargo aircraft were well into the hundreds in 1962.

Prefixes: Modification to the basic mission of an aircraft continued to be noted by a mission prefix.  For example the RF-4 Phantom was a reconnaissance version of the F-4 Phantom fighter aircraft.

Designation Mission Years used
A Attack 1962
B Bomber 1926 -
C Cargo and Transport 1925 -
E Electronic 1948 -
F Fighter 1948 -
H Helicopter 1948 -
M Missile 1962 -
O Observation 1962 -
P Patrol 1962 -
Q Drone 1994 -
S Anti-Submarine 1962 -
T Trainer 1948 -
U Utility 1962 -
Prefix Mission  
D Drone Director 1948 -
H Search & Rescue 1962 -
K Tanker 1948 - 
L Cold Weather 1962 -
N Special Test 1956 - 
Q Drone 1948 - 
R Reconnaissance 1948 -
V VIP Transport 1945 - 
X Experimental 1925 - 
Y Service Test 1928 -

Return to Aircraft by Nation - United States

 

page updated 19 April 2003

 

 

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Kenneth W Shanaberger 2000 - 2010