Apophenia

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Finnish Air Force Aircraft Codes - Two-Letter System

I've been trying to compile a complete list of Finnish 2-letter aircraft codes. No doubt I'm reinventing the wheel and there's a full listing out there somewhere ... but I haven't been able to find it.

The 2-letter system seems to be the fifth Finnish military aircraft coding system adopted since 1918 (more about the earlier systems later). Adopted in mid 1927, this system is
also the most enduring -- persisting until the present day. The letter codes are usually based on the name of the aircraft or its maker (with variations introduced for different types by the same maker). Captured Russian aircraft were intially an exception, being group generically (eg: VH or VP for Russian fighters or bombers, respectively).

The 2-letter codes are sometimes duplicated. Sometimes there were a small number of types from the same maker (eg: JU). Other times, disparate types were grouped into a generic gathering (eg: the Russian fighters and bombers mentioned above). Over time, codes have also been 'recycled' for new aircraft types entering service. These duplications are shown in my list by repeating the 2-letter code (arranged in chronological order). Code change sequences are shown chronologically with numbers in square brackets.

The Finns sometimes added a third, lower-case letter to the aircraft code. This was an indication of an engine change (eg: BUj for the Bristol Jupiter-engined Bulldog IIA while the Mercury-powered Bulldog IVA was plain BU). A slightly confusing example is AEj for the Aero A-32GR. Again, the 'j' is for Jupiter (in this case, Gnome-Rhône built) but it must be understood that the Finns regarded the A-32 as simply being a radial-engined version of the in-service Hispano-powered Aero A-11HS (coded AE).

That third, lower-case letter wasn't necessarily marked on the aircraft itself (has anyone ever seen an Ilmavoimat Curtiss H75A with CUc or CUw markings, for example?). In some cases, markings were never applied at all. That seems to be the case with aircraft of F19, the Swedish volunteer unit during the Winter War. Codes were apparently assigned to at least some of these 'loan' aircraft (eg: HH for the Mercury-engined Hawker Harts).

Most often, codes were not applied because the service life of a particular type was so short (eg: F19's Raab-Katzenstein RK 26, already in poor condition when it arrived). In other cases, loaned German aircraft retained their Luftwaffe identities -- for example, LLv.15's Osasto Malinen/Os.Jauri aircraft kept German markings until 1944 and then took on Finnish civil registers (eg: Arado Ar 196A-3 OH-PMK and Heinkel He 115C-1 OH-PMJ).

The 2-letter codes were assigned before delivery of aircraft. So, there are codes known for cancelled aircraft (eg: PU for the unbuilt VL Puuska fighter) and for undelivered aircraft (eg: RO for the Blackburn Roc). And that raises a number of questions ...

France offered a range of aircraft during the Winter War. The CR.714 fighters and Hanriot C.232 trainers which arrived received codes (CA and HT, respectively) but what of the undelivered Koolhoven FK-58s and Potez 633s? Fokker was also preparing G.1Bs for Finland.

Then there is 'war booty'. Captured MiG-3s bought from German were destroyed by bombing before delivery ... these MiGs would have been coded too.

So, the list is below. But who's got more? ;D

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Apophenia

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Suoemen Ilmavoimat 2-letter aircraft codes
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AE -- Aero A-11HS (Hispano-Suiza 8Fb)

AEj - Aero A-32GR
-- AEj -- 'j' for Gnome-Rhône Jupiter

AN -- Avro Anson I

AV -- Avro 504K
AV -- Shavrov Sch-2, aka Šavrov S-2

BC -- Beechcraft 17 Traveller (C17L/D17S)

BL -- Bristol Blenheim (Mk.I/'IV)

BN -- Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander [leased]

BR -- Breguet XIV A.2

BU -- Bristol Bulldog IVA

BUj - Bristol Bulldog IIA

BV -- DHC DHC-2 Beaver

BW -- Brewster B-239

CA -- Caudron C.59
CA -- Caudron C.60
CA -- Caudron-Renault CR.714

CB -- Cessna 402B Businessliner

CC -- CASA (EADS) C-295M

CE -- Cessna C-37 Airmaster

CU -- Taylorcraft J-2 Cub
CU -- Curtiss Hawk 75A [2]*
- * After CUc re-engined with Twin Wasps

CUc - Curtiss Hawk 75A (Cyclone) [1]

CUw - Curtiss Hawk 75A (Twin Wasp) [1]

DB -- Ilyushin DB-3M [2]

DC -- Douglas DC-2 [2]

DF -- Ilyushin IL-4

DH -- De Havilland D.H.86B (formerly OH-IPA)

DK -- Saab 35 Draken

DN -- Dornier Do 17Z-1/'2/'3

DO -- Douglas DC-2 [2]
DO -- Douglas DC-3/C-47

DR -- Dornier Do.22K-1*
-- * Finn. sources say Kl (for Latvia)

DS -- Desoutter II

EV -- Airspeed A.S.6E Envoy

FA -- Fiat G.50 'Fiiu' [2]

FD -- Fairchild 24J

FE -- Fokker F.VIIa
FE -- Fokker F.VIII

FF -- Fokker F27

FK -- Fokker C.X

FM -- Fouga CM.170 Magister

FO -- Fokker C.VD/'E

FR -- Fokker D.XXI (Mercury)

FRw - Fokker D.XXI (Twin Wasp Jr)

FW -- Fokker T.8W (Never delivered)

GA -- Gloster Gamecock

GL -- Gourdou-Leseurre GL.21 B2
GL -- Gourdou-Leseurre GL.22 B3
GL -- Gloster Gladiator

GN -- Folland FO.141 Gnat Mk.1

GT -- Gloster Gauntlet II

HA -- VL D.26/D.27 Haukka I/'II
HA -- Aérospatiale Alouette II

HB -- Agusta Bell 206A JetRanger

HC -- Hawker Hurricane [2]

HE -- Heinkel He-115A-2*
-- * He 115C-1s retained Luftwaffe markings

HH -- Hawker B4A Hart*
-- * 'HH' may never have been applied
HH -- Hughes 369/MD.500

HK -- PZL SM-1SZ (Polish Mi-1)

HL -- Heinkel He 59B-2*
-- * He 59Ds retained Luftwaffe markings

HM -- VL Humu

HN -- Boeing F/A-18 Hornet

HR -- Mil Mi-4

HS -- Mil Mi-8P/'T/Mi-17

HT -- Hanriot H.232.2

HU -- Hawker Hurricane [1]

HW -- BAE Hawk

IH -- Polikarpov I-15bis [2]

IL -- IVL A.22 'Hansa' (W-33)

IR* - Polikarpov I-16 [2]
- * Some sources list 'IT'

IT -- Polikarpov I-153 [2]

JF -- Asja J6A/'B Jaktfalken

JK -- Junkers Ju 88A-4

Ju -- Junkers (AFI) K.43fa
Ju -- Junkers W.34fa/'hi
JU -- Junkers F.13fe/'kä*
-- * 'fe ex-Coast Guard, 'kä Sw. F19

JUj - Junkers A 50 Junior [2]

KA - VL E.30 Kotka II

KH* - Curtiss P-40M Warhawk
-- * Semi-official 'Kittyhawk' code

KL -- Klemm Kl 25

KO -- Koolhoven FK.31
KO -- Koolhoven FK.52 'Kolhoveneiksi'
-- NB: ex-Coast Guard FK.49A never received Ilmavoimat codes

LG -- Lavochkin LaGG-3

LJ -- Learjet 35 A/S

LK -- VL Sääski (applied to ex-Coast Guard Sääski)
-- See SÄ for original Ilmavoimat order of Sääski

LY -- Westland Lysander I

MA -- Martinsyde F.4 Buzzard

MB -- Mikoyan-Gurevitch MiG-21bis

MG -- Mikoyan-Gurevitch MiG-21F-13

MK -- Mikoyan-Gurevitch Mig-21U/MiG-21UM

MO -- De Havilland D.H.60X Moth
-- DH-, VL-, & Karhumaki-built*
-- * Reb. as 'Härkämotti', Cirrus Hermes II
MO -- Kjeller Flyfabrik Tiger Moth*
-- * Interned Norwegian-built D.H.82

MS -- Morane-Saulnier M.S.50C
MS -- Morane-Saulnier M.S.406/M.S. 410

MSv - VL 'Mörkö-Morane' (M-105P rebuilds)
- MSv 'v' for Venäläiset (Russian [engine])

MT -- Messerschmitt Bf-109G-2/'6

MU -- Mikoyan-Gurevitch MiG-15UTI

MY -- VL Myrsky/Myrsky II

NK -- Høver M.F. 11

NH -- Ilyushin Il-28R
NH -- NHI NH-90 (Army)

PA -- VL Paarma
PA -- Piper Pa-28 Cherokee Arrow

PC -- Piper PA-31-350 Chieftain

PE -- Petlyakov Pe-2/Pe-3

PI -- Pilatus PC-12

PM -- VL Pyörremyrsky

PN -- Piper PA-31 Navajo

PR -- Hunting Percival Pembroke

PU -- VL Puuska [unbuilt project]

PY -- VL Pyry II

RG -- Valmet L-90TP Redigo

RI -- Blackburn Ripon IIF

RL - RUAG Ranger (Army)

RO -- Blackburn Roc [undelivered]

SÄ -- VL Sääski
SA -- Fiat G.50 [1]

SB -- Tupolev SB [2]

SF -- Saab 91D Safir

SH -- Saab 17A

SK -- Junkers A.50 Junior [1]

SM -- Letov S.218 A Smolik

ST -- Fieseler Fi 156K-1* Storch
-- * Export version of Fi 156C-1

SZ -- Focke-Wulf Fw 44J* Stieglitz
-- * Export version of Fw 44D

TA -- Taylorcraft BC-12D

TL -- Valmet Tuuli

TU -- VL Tuisku

UT -- Polikarpov I-16UTI (UTI-4)

VA -- DH Vampire FB.52 fighter

VH -- Valmet Vihuri
-- Also for unbuilt Vihuri Mosquito copy [??]
VH -- Polikarpov I-15bis [1]
VH -- Polikarpov I-153 [1]
VH -- Polikarpov I-16 [1]
-- VH = Venäläiset hävittäj (Russian Fighter)

VI -- VL Viima II
VI* - Polikarpov I-15bis [2]
-- * Other sources say 'IH'

VL -- Valmet Vilhuri

VN -- Valmet L-70 Vinka

VU -- Polikarpov U-2VG/'VS (Po-2)

VP -- Ilyushin DB-3M [1]
VP -- Tupolev SB [1]
-- VP = Venäläiset Pommittaj (Russian Bomber)

VR -- Polikarpov R-5

VT -- DH Vampire T.55 trainer

VV -- Beriev MBR-2

WA -- Waco YKS-7 (some sources say ZQC-6* model)
-- * Prob. conf. with Swedish F19's Waco ZQC-6

________________________________________

Online Sources:

Finnish Air Force in World War II - Discussion Forum
http://www.network54.com/Forum/46825/

Finnish Defence Forces in WWII site
http://www.oocities.org/finnmilpge/fmp_contents.html

Suomen Ilmailuhistoriallinen Lehti (article list)
http://www.kolumbus.fi/sil/allcontents.html

Wiki - Suomen ilmavoimien kalusto (Finnish Air Force fleet)
http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luokka:Suomen_ilmavoimien_kalusto
 

AM

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Regards,

GT - Gloster Gauntlet II (GT-395...418)
GL - Gourdou-Leseurre GL.21 B2 (GL-2)
GL - Gourdou-Leseurre GL.22 B3 (GL-5...22)
MY - VL Mirsky (MY-1...51)
PA - VL Paarma (PA-1)
PN - Piper PA-31 Navajo (PN-1)
PO - Potez P.25 A2 (PO-40)
RL - RUAG Ranger (RL-1...10 ???)
UT - Polikarpov I-16UTI UTI-4
VU - Polikarpov U-2 (VU-2...4)
 

Apophenia

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Excellent stuff, thanks AM! Some of those I omitted by sloppiness, others (like the Gourdou-Leseurres) I didn't know survived into the 2-letter code era. I completely missed the distinction between the earlier PA-31 Navajo and later PA-31 Chieftain. And I had no idea that the Army's UAVs were being given 2-letter codes!

BTW, the four earlier Finnish coding systems are all explained here:
http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luettelo_Suomen_ilmavoimien_ilma-aluksista
 

tiikki

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Hi,

Few corrections / additions to your list.

FW Fokker T.8W (Never delivered)
SA FIAT G.50 (for few months, code was changed to FA in January 1940)
MG MiG-21F-13
MB MiG-21Bis
MK MiG-21U & MiG-21UM

Source Koelentäminen ilmavoimissa (Testflying in FAF) books.
 

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