U.S. Military Aircraft Designations
last updated: 8/11/02

Aircraft Designations

Aircraft Designation Systems

Abbreviations and Acronyms

Sources and Acknowledgements

History Of The List

Andreas Parsch's Aviation Designations

Aviation Links


My Home Page

I have been working on this little ;-) project for over 10 years now. To give you an indication of the time this project has spanned, I first wrote the list on a Commodore 128. You probably don't want to hear the whole painstaking process from handwritten notes all the way to HTML, but if you do, click on the "History of The List" link. Anyway, my ultimate goal was to compile a list of all of the designations used by the U.S. armed forces for their aircraft and present them in a coherent, easily scannable fashion. I have seen many books that attempt to do so, and a couple are very comprehensive and informative (see "Sources and Acknowledgements" for some suggestions), but I have yet to see just a nice, complete list of all the designations that all of the military services have used up till now. I hope I've come close to that achieving that goal.

Besides the designations themselves, I have also tried to find links to photos of aircraft, and have hyperlinked a good amount into the text. I've gotten pretty far, but it's been hard to find images of the more obscure aircraft, and I don't have the server space to scan them in myself. For some more photos of aircraft that I've taken, see my photography site.

I have also compiled from various sources the exact schemes and systems utilized by the various armed services to designate their aircraft since the early 1900's. You'd be surprised how complex they are! Click on "Designation Systems" to look at the whole thing from the beginning, or here to skip to the present Joint Service designation system.

At one point, I was considering trying to get my work published, but have pretty much abandoned any hope of that. I don't have the time to properly research and prepare the text, and I have a feeling that there is not a real huge audience for this sort of thing (prove me wrong and e-mail me!). So, I decided to go ahead and post this on the Web for everyone's info and enjoyment. I am not completely sure of the legalities of all of this, but I do want to maintain control over the contents of my hard work, so please don't distribute the files without my Copyright assertion .

Please e-mail me and let me know of any new designations, mistakes, inconsistencies, etc. I have been lax for a while in keeping up to date, and would appreciate any help.

I want to thank everyone whose sites I have borrowed and linked images from. I don't have a complete list of all the sites whose images I have used, but I kept all of the links intact so that further exploration can begin from there. Also, my list of aviation sites, especially the image archives I found, should contain all of the sites that I used and more. Click on "Sources and Acknowledgements" to see a bibliography of the print sources that I have used as well as some personal acknowledgements.

Please bear with me while I clean up the pages a little. I've split up the main designations list into smaller pages for a quicker load time. And I've started organizing the data into tables for easier reading. Please let me know what you think of the new look!

Any other suggestions for improvements are of course welcome. Enjoy!

First posted: 11/11/96; Last modified: 8/11/02

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