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Unidentified US military designations

hesham

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In US military list of aircraft in Wikipedia,I found these unknown aircraft:-

NBS-5 Gallaudet.
YC-30 Northrop-Grumman.
YC-36 Boeing.
T-51 Cessna.

do anyone know them ?.
 

Andreas Parsch

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The T-51A designation was allocated to three Cessna 150 (1x Model 150L, 2x Model 150M) aircraft used by the USAF Academy Flying Team.

The designation YFC-36A (not YC-36!) was tentatively reserved in 1996 for what eventually became the Boeing YAL-1A "Airborne Laser" aircraft.

The "Northrop Grumman C-30" is probably meant to refer to the N-G/EADS A330-based tanker proposal, which is promoted by the company as the KC-30. However, this is not an official USAF designation, and will never become one! The official C-30 designation was reserved (for an unknown purpose), but never used.

I have no data about the Gallaudet NBS-5, except that two were ordered in 1922 but cancelled before delivery.
 

hesham

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Thank you Andreas Parsch,

there are some of unidentifying aircraft,
Martin P7M submaster.
Convair P6Y.
H-44 Big Tom.
H-45 Step Child.
 

Andreas Parsch

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Google (always a good starting point for initial research ;)) yields:

- P7M Submaster:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/p7m.htm

- P6Y
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/p6y.htm

Neither of these two designs was built. I don't have specs or drawings at hand right now.

As for the H-44 and -45, I can only quote my own website ("Missing" USAF/DOD Aircraft Designations), because as far as I know nobody else has published anything significant about these two designations:

H-36, H-38, H-44
In the early 1950s, some even numbers in the C-series (C-134/136/138) and H-series (H-36/38) of USAF aircraft designations were set aside for use by the US Navy, apparently in an attempt to establish a joint designation system for some type categories. However, this scheme was very short-lived, and had been abandoned by 1955. There is no evidence that any of the three C-series numbers or H-36 was ever actually used by the Navy, but the case is a bit more confusing for H-38. The USAF aircraft serial 54-4047 is listed in USAF records as a "Sikorsky H-38", allocated to a Navy-led MAP (Military Assistance Program). There are indications that the serial refers to a "static airframe", but otherwise no further information whatsoever about this H-38 has been found so far.

In any case, by 1959 the USAF apparently regarded the H-36 and -38 slots as unused. A letter from an Air Force Intelligence office (AFCIN-4F), dated 18 May 1959, requested the allocation of H-36, H-38 and H-44 (which was the next available number at that time) to three secret projects called LONG EARS (H-36), SHORT TAIL (H-38) and BIG TOM (H-44). This letter explicitly mentions that H-36 and -38 had been "set aside but never used by the Navy". All three designations were approved in August 1959. The USAF aircraft serial 59-5926 is listed as a "Bell H-36", but otherwise no information whatsoever is available about the three projects or the associated helicopters.

There is a rumour that the Sikorsky XV-2 (Model S-57) design (which was cancelled around 1954/55 before a prototype was built) was originally designated XH-36. While this doesn't sound implausible (the XV-1 and XV-3 were both originally designated in the H-series as XH-35 (→ XV-1) and XH-33 (→ XV-3), respectively), there is no indication whatsoever in very respectable secondary sources (which all list the redesignations of the XV-1 and -3 designs) for an XH-36 → XV-2 redesignation. In fact, as is documented in the preceding paragraphs, the primary source (USAF nomenclature allocation letters) explicitly says that H-36 had been skipped. So it appears that the association of the XV-2 with the XH-36 designation is in error. At best, it was unofficially discussed at some time early in the S-57 project to designate the aircraft as XH-36, but there was no formal effort to reserve, let alone allocate, the H-36 designation for the project.,

H-45
H-45A was allocated in January 1962 to a secret Air Force FTD (Foreign Technology Division) project called STEP CHILD. USAF serial 62-5980 is attributed to an "XH-45", but otherwise no information is available about the STEP CHILD program or the H-45 helicopter.
 

Skybolt

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Hesham, look in the new topic in the Post-war secret projects
 

Stargazer2006

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I'm bringing this topic up because the XH-36,-38,-44 and -45 have been mysteries to me ever since I started investigating US aircraft designations at age 6 or 7... (don't think I'm the only one!) and now I think it's about time the Army lifted the 50-year long secrecy over these programs whose technology and applications have certainly long gone obsolete.

Could any of our forum's US-based experts send a request for information to the US Army about LONG EARS, SHORT TAIL, BIG TOM and STEP CHILD? What is there to lose, anyway?
 

frank

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I've seen a couple of drawings & a pic or two of the mock-up in some books, I don't recall what, but the P7M looks like a P6M fuselage with straight wings & 4 radial engines. The 'Naval Fighters' series book on the Martin Marlin (I think) has some info & a drawing of it. Kind of an updated, enlarged Do 24T.


Andreas Parsch said:
Google (always a good starting point for initial research ;)) yields:

- P7M Submaster:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/p7m.htm

- P6Y
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/p6y.htm

Neither of these two designs was built. I don't have specs or drawings at hand right now.

As for the H-44 and -45, I can only quote my own website ("Missing" USAF/DOD Aircraft Designations), because as far as I know nobody else has published anything significant about these two designations:

H-36, H-38, H-44
In the early 1950s, some even numbers in the C-series (C-134/136/138) and H-series (H-36/38) of USAF aircraft designations were set aside for use by the US Navy, apparently in an attempt to establish a joint designation system for some type categories. However, this scheme was very short-lived, and had been abandoned by 1955. There is no evidence that any of the three C-series numbers or H-36 was ever actually used by the Navy, but the case is a bit more confusing for H-38. The USAF aircraft serial 54-4047 is listed in USAF records as a "Sikorsky H-38", allocated to a Navy-led MAP (Military Assistance Program). There are indications that the serial refers to a "static airframe", but otherwise no further information whatsoever about this H-38 has been found so far.

In any case, by 1959 the USAF apparently regarded the H-36 and -38 slots as unused. A letter from an Air Force Intelligence office (AFCIN-4F), dated 18 May 1959, requested the allocation of H-36, H-38 and H-44 (which was the next available number at that time) to three secret projects called LONG EARS (H-36), SHORT TAIL (H-38) and BIG TOM (H-44). This letter explicitly mentions that H-36 and -38 had been "set aside but never used by the Navy". All three designations were approved in August 1959. The USAF aircraft serial 59-5926 is listed as a "Bell H-36", but otherwise no information whatsoever is available about the three projects or the associated helicopters.

There is a rumour that the Sikorsky XV-2 (Model S-57) design (which was cancelled around 1954/55 before a prototype was built) was originally designated XH-36. While this doesn't sound implausible (the XV-1 and XV-3 were both originally designated in the H-series as XH-35 (→ XV-1) and XH-33 (→ XV-3), respectively), there is no indication whatsoever in very respectable secondary sources (which all list the redesignations of the XV-1 and -3 designs) for an XH-36 → XV-2 redesignation. In fact, as is documented in the preceding paragraphs, the primary source (USAF nomenclature allocation letters) explicitly says that H-36 had been skipped. So it appears that the association of the XV-2 with the XH-36 designation is in error. At best, it was unofficially discussed at some time early in the S-57 project to designate the aircraft as XH-36, but there was no formal effort to reserve, let alone allocate, the H-36 designation for the project.,

H-45
H-45A was allocated in January 1962 to a secret Air Force FTD (Foreign Technology Division) project called STEP CHILD. USAF serial 62-5980 is attributed to an "XH-45", but otherwise no information is available about the STEP CHILD program or the H-45 helicopter.
 

Jos Heyman

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X-36: McDonnell Douglas
span: 10'3", 3.35 m
length: 18'3", 5.79 m
engines: 1 Williams F112
max. speed: 295 mph, 460 km/h
The X-36A was an unmanned 28% scale model of a stealthy tailless fighter. Two examples were built and the first made its first flight on 17 May 1997 from Edwards AFB.

X-38: NASA Dryden X-CRV
width: 14'6", 4.42 m
length: 28'6", 8.69 m
engines: ---
max. speed: 500 mph, 805 km/h
The X-38A or Experimental Crew Return Vehicle (X-CRV) was an uncrewed proof-of-concept design of a Crew Transfer Vehicle. Staff at NASA Dryden were to built three atmospheric and one space rated uncrewed vehicles without the direct involvement of the aerospace industry. The crewed vehicle, for which there was also interest with the European Space Agency, could have taken place in 2002. This vehicle was to have been built by the aerospace industry.
NASA had hoped to give the X-CRV the X-35 designation but the Department of Defense, which had already assigned X-35, selected X-38.
The first of three sub-scale X-38s had serial number V131. The first captive flights, with the NB-52A carrier aircraft, took place on 30 July 1997 and 2 August 1997 whilst the first glide-flight was on 12 March 1998, followed by a second flight on 9 February 1999.
The second example, V132, tested flight controls and flew for the first time on 5 March 1999 with further flights on 9 July 1999 and 30 March 2000.
The third, full scale, vehicle, V133, was to begin drop tests in 2000 but was not completed. Instead V131 was modified in 2000 and reserialled as V131R. It made its first free flight on 2 November 2000 with two more flights on 10 July 2001 and 13 December 2001.
The first spaceflight, using the full scale V201, was expected in 2000. V201 was to be delivered to orbit by the Space Shuttle Columbia and then make a full re-entry and landing in the western USA or in Australia. The vehicle was to be fitted with thrusters. By then the development of the X-38A was cancelled.

The X-44A was a proposal for an experimental aircraft with no moveable control surfaces, to be developed by NASA and the US Air Force Laboratory as the Multi-Axis No-Tail Aircraft (Manta). Instead the aircraft’s movements were to be controlled by thrust vectoring. It was intended to use a F-22 airframe. The first flight was expected in 2007 but the programme was probably cancelled.


X-45:Boeing

span: 33’10”, 10.31 m
length: 26’6”, 8.08 m
engines: 1 Honeywell F124-GA-100
max. speed:

The X-45A was an experimental unmanned combat air vehicle that flew for the first time on 22 May 2002. Two examples were built.
Two X-45Bs were planned, with a first flight in 2004. They were to be powered by a General Electric F404-GE-102D engine. The span was to be 47’, 14.33m and the length 36’, 10.97m. Development of the X-45B was suspended in 2003 in favour of the X-45C.
The X-45C was to be larger with a span of 49’, 14.94m and a length of 39’, 11.89m. It was to be powered by a General Electric F404-GE-102D and was to have a weapons bay to carry two Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs). It would also meet the UCAV-N requirements for the US Navy, previously designated as X-46A. Three were ordered of which one was to be tested by the USAF and two by the US Navy. The first flight was scheduled for 2006.
The designation X-45D was used for a Boeing proposal for a larger version with a large bomb load.
Further development was cancelled in January 2006.
 

Stargazer2006

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:eek: Omigod, Jos! :eek:

You've just given us the X-36, X-38 and X-45...
... when we were talking about the XH-36, XH-38 and XH-45!

There is a half century between the two!

Thanks anyway for trying... ;) :-*
 

Andreas Parsch

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Stargazer2006 said:
I'm bringing this topic up because the X-36,-38,-44 and -45 have been mysteries to me ever since I started investigating US aircraft designations at age 6 or 7... (don't think I'm the only one!) and now I think it's about time the Army lifted the 50-year long secrecy over these programs whose technology and applications have certainly long gone obsolete.
You wanted to say H-36 etc. ;)

Could any of our forum's US-based experts send a request for information to the US Army about LONG EARS, SHORT TAIL, BIG TOM and STEP CHILD? What is there to lose, anyway?
Been there, done that. I've sent two FOIA requests (one to AFMC at Wright-Patterson, one to HQ USAF at the Pentagon) for these programs and both returned empty.

Anyway, if you're interested, here are scans of the USAF's nomenclature allocation papers for the 4 "mysterious" H-series numbers:
http://www.designation-systems.net/usmilav/original-docs/h-36-38-44-45.pdf
 

Jos Heyman

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Stargazer

I did notice your shift from H aircraft to X aircraft but, as it would not be the first time in this forum that we change topics on the go, I complied with YOUR request. No worries, however....
But I do suggest you follow Andreas' lead and join the Designations group and 'all will be revealed'.
 

Stargazer2006

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Omigod... I can't believe I made a typo on a designation... Silly me! Of course I meant XH-, hence the remainder of my post...

"Designations Group"?? How do I set about doing this? Is this a mailing list kind of thing?
 

Andreas Parsch

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Stargazer2006 said:
"Designations Group"?? How do I set about doing this? Is this a mailing list kind of thing?
Jos probably referred to this group/mailing list. Hasn't been very active in the last couple of years :-\ , but still a good place to go for discussions about aerospace vehicle designations ;) .
 

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Martin P7M http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,618.0.html
 

Stargazer2006

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Stargazer2006 said:
I'm bringing this topic up because the XH-36,-38,-44 and -45 have been mysteries to me ever since I started investigating US aircraft designations at age 6 or 7... (don't think I'm the only one!) and now I think it's about time the Army lifted the 50-year long secrecy over these programs whose technology and applications have certainly long gone obsolete.

Could any of our forum's US-based experts send a request for information to the US Army about LONG EARS, SHORT TAIL, BIG TOM and STEP CHILD? What is there to lose, anyway?

Quoting my own post on this one... I think the key to the mystery of the missing H- designations is long overdue now. If we put the later STEP CHILD (H-45) aside for now, all three other designations (H-36 for LONG EARS, H-38 for SHORT TAIL and H-44 for BIG TOM) were reserved together in the same USAF request which insisted on their secrecy and the need for a plausible explanation as a cover-up...

50 years down the line, we can assume that unless there was alien technology behind them (I know some actually DO believe in that sort of thing...), the best bet is for a series of aircraft using a then-secret technology and/or configuration.

Sticking to the codenames of these projects, one could imagine an ASW or likewise radome equipped helicopter for "LONG EARS", a tailless, no-torque helicopter for "SHORT TAIL", and a large transport helicopter for "BIG TOM"... But these descriptions alone do not account for them being secret, unless there was something especially new and sensitive about their technology. Something about their propulsion, maybe? Hiller was working with French SNECMA on a U-shaped pulse engine that got them a contract with the Army, and which they considered using in all manner of aircraft types... Avro, Bell, Ryan and also Hiller were hard-working on various duct fan VTOL programs... I cannot conceive of these designations NOT being unaccounted for SOMEWHERE, nor of their still hiding highly-sensitive technology five decades down the line...

As for STEP CHILD, again if we stick to the program's monicker, we can imagine a helo using a technology derived from another project, a program reborn from a previous and slightly different one, or maybe a program inherited from another contractor. I have no clues as to this one, but I always found it strange that the Convertawings Quadrotor prototype, displayed at the Long Island museum, got an Air Force contract that went nowhere. A possible track to follow?

So if Andreas or anyone else here trained in the art of requesting information from the US armed services could make a new attempt at solving this mystery, I would be forever grateful and indebted to them! And in the meantime, if any of you forumites have suggestions as to what projects could possibly have hidden behind those four designations, please share!
 

Andreas Parsch

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Stargazer2006 said:
One clue here:
During May and June 1965, Project "Big Tom" was conducted on the island of Oahu, Hawaii and its surrounding waters to evaluate the feasibility of a biological attack against an island complex and to evaluate doctrine and tactics for delivery of such an attack. Liquid Bacillus globigii was disseminated from a spray tank mounted on a US Navy aircraft. Bacillus globigii causes infections in people with weakened immune systems.

Source: http://www.allaboutrace.com/2008/05/01/rev-jeremiah-wright-my-thoughts/

If this story is true, then H-45 was a Navy helo specifically modified for spraying germs on people. Sigh!
The story may or may not be true, but has almost certainly nothing to do with the "H-44" (not -45):

1) Timeframe is a bit off (the H-44 designation was allocated in 1959)

2) Names like "BIG TOM" are not necessarily unique in the history of US military operations and projects. In fact, I once found a reference to a USAF document, which was approximately the correct time-frame (early 1960s) and had the name "BIG TOM" in its keyword list. So I FOIA'd a copy, only to find out that this "BIG TOM" project was entirely unrelated to helicopters in any way.

3) For a bio-warfare experiment, you'd use an existing helo modified with certain payloads, which would definitely not result in the request for a new helicopter designation.

4) "H-44" and "US Navy" don't go together. The H-44/BIG TOM was clearly a USAF project.
 

Andreas Parsch

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Stargazer2006 said:
Quoting my own post on this one... I think the key to the mystery of the missing H- designations is long overdue now. If we put the later STEP CHILD (H-45) aside for now, all three other designations (H-36 for LONG EARS, H-38 for SHORT TAIL and H-44 for BIG TOM) were reserved together in the same USAF request which insisted on their secrecy and the need for a plausible explanation as a cover-up...

50 years down the line, we can assume that unless there was alien technology behind them (I know some actually DO believe in that sort of thing...), the best bet is for a series of aircraft using a then-secret technology and/or configuration.

The request for H-36/38/44 originated from an office labeled "AFCIN-4F". AFCIN was "Air Force Intelligence" at that time. H-45A was requested by the FTD, the Foreign Technology Division. Therefore my wild and admittedly completely uneducated guess would be evaluation and/or clandestine operational use of helicopters of non-US (e.g. Soviet??) origin.
 

Stargazer2006

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I've removed my inaccurate posts on BIG TOM.

Your guess about evaluated foreign rotorcraft is certainly interesting... Yet in other cases, there never was a real DoD designation nor a real serial number allocated. The Il-10, Mig-15 and Yak-23 never got any designation, while the Yak-9P or the MiG and Sukhoi jets aircraft were assigned non-standard designations. None of these ever got a real serial number. In the case of the H-36, -38 and -44 we have standard DoD designations, and even a serial in one instance. So the "Soviet evaluation scenario" doesn't quite satisfy me... though I would have loved to see one of those old Mils in USAF guise! (imagine a Mil Mi-6... THAT would sound good for a "Big Tom"... LOL)
 

Vahe Demirjian

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Regarding the "missing" designation A-11, it's probable that US Strategic Air Command reserved A-11 for the ATA-B proposal, because the timeframe in which A-11 would have been used (1976-1979) supersedes the assignment of A-10 but precedes the assignment of A-12 Avenger II. It's also possible that Piper may have been planning to assign the A-11 designation to the production version of Piper Enforcer prototype ground attack aircraft in the event that the Piper Enforcer was ordered into production.
 

Stargazer2006

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Vahe Demirjian said:
supersedes the assignment of A-10 but supersedes the assignment of A-12 Avenger II.

Did you mean "precedes" in the second instance?

Vahe Demirjian said:
It's also possible that Piper may have been planning to assign the A-11 designation to the production version of Piper Enforcer prototype ground attack aircraft in the event that the Piper Enforcer was ordered into production.

Now that's an interesting possibility... But why would the DoD skip a number that a manufacturer was considering for assignment?
 

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Vahe Demirjian said:
I meant "precedes" in the second instance?

I just don't understand your sentence. Did you mean "supersedes the assignment of A-10 but precedes the assignment of A-12 Avenger II" ?
 

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Stargazer2006 said:
Vahe Demirjian said:
I meant "precedes" in the second instance?

I just don't understand your sentence. Did you mean "supersedes the assignment of A-10 but precedes the assignment of A-12 Avenger II" ?

I was just hypothesizing that the Strategic Air Command probably reserved the designation A-11A for the ATA-B (the supersonic stealth replacement for the F-111) circa 1978, given that the A-10 designation was allocated in 1970 and the A-12 designation was officially allocated to the Avenger II in 1988. Anyway, the F-15E Strike Eagle has already replaced the F-111 as the USAF's primary fighter-bomber, and the F-22 has a secondary role as a fighter-bomber (as does the F-35A).
 
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Arjen

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My suggestion, to avoid confusion:
[A-11]follows the assignment of A-10 but precedes the assignment of A-12 Avenger II

Superseding usually means replacing something old with something new.
http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/supersede
Definition of supersede

verb [with object]

take the place of (a person or thing previously in authority or use);
supplant:the older models of car have now been superseded
 

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Considering the previous use of A-16 designation for an unbuilt attack version of the F-16 and F/A-18 for the Hornet, I can't see how the DoD would revert to A-11 or even A-14 for its next attack aircraft. If anything, the next logical slot ought to be A-19.

Makes we wonder why the Strike Eagle never was called the F/A-15...
 

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Stargazer2006 said:
Considering the previous use of A-16 designation for an unbuilt attack version of the F-16 and F/A-18 for the Hornet, I can't see how the DoD would revert to A-11 or even A-14 for its next attack aircraft. If anything, the next logical slot ought to be A-19.
There was never an official allocation of "A-16". A-18, on the other hand, was officially allocated in the A-series as an out-of-sequence number (so were A-29 and A-37, BTW). The next "regular" A-series number is A-14, because -13 is always skipped.

As for A-11, this was formally reserved, but the reservation was never taken up (at least in the official records). As to the background of the reservation, any guess is probably as good as the other.
 

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Stargazer2006 said:
Makes we wonder why the Strike Eagle never was called the F/A-15...
On the basis of the Hornet, the Bombcat should then have been the "F/A-14" and the new Lightning II should be the "F/A-35".

I have always hated the "F/A" designation and have always personally referred to the Hornet as the F-18 exclusively. I wish they would finally drop the stupid "F/A-18" designation, like they did with the "F/A-22" (thank heaven!).

If there is a real desire, though, to keep the current designation, at least get rid of the "/" and just refer to it as the "FA-18", which would be in keeping with the "FB-111". The "/" causes havoc on many computers, so the designation without it should be less problematic.
 

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gatoraptor said:
I have always hated the "F/A" designation and have always personally referred to the Hornet as the F-18 exclusively. I wish they would finally drop the stupid "F/A-18" designation, like they did with the "F/A-22" (thank heaven!).
It's all about politics (as often, when common sense fails ::) ). The designation system itself clearly includes the air-to-ground mission in F-designated aircraft.

If there is a real desire, though, to keep the current designation, at least get rid of the "/" and just refer to it as the "FA-18", which would be in keeping with the "FB-111". The "/" causes havoc on many computers, so the designation without it should be less problematic.
As a side note, the official designation as listed in DOD's MDS database is indeed FA-18, without a "/".
 

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The reason the 463L Pallet is called the 463L pallet is due to the following code:

4: April
63: 1963
L: Logistics

Basically, it was developed in April 1963 as a Logistics Pallet.
Source: Plaque at the Air Mobility Command Museum, Dover AFB, DE.
 

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Speaking of the F-111, why did it not receive a new designation as the F-110 did. After the Tri-Service system came into effect in Sept 1962, the F4H became the F-4B and the F-110A became the F-4C. Since the F-111 designation was assigned after the F-110 designation, it seems that the F-111 would be redesignated (perhaps they could have used the F-7 designation since it was assigned essentially as a "place holder" for the long out of service Sea Dart.


Wes W.
 

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Why would the F-111 have to receive a new designation? It was already in use with that designation by both the USAF and the US Navy, so why bother changing it.
F-110 is a different case as it involves a few aircraft 'borrowed' by the USAF from the US Navy. And, as the US Navy had a lot of F4Hs that were being redesignated as F-4, it was logical and convenient to put the newly ordered USAF F-110 aircraft under that same designation. Never forget that the designation systems are just some form of record keeping and that those administering it were (and still are) only interested in 'record keeping' and not neat sequences, like we are :) .
 

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Jos Heyman said:
Why would the F-111 have to receive a new designation? It was already in use with that designation by both the USAF and the US Navy, so why bother changing it.
F-110 is a different case as it involves a few aircraft 'borrowed' by the USAF from the US Navy. And, as the US Navy had a lot of F4Hs that were being redesignated as F-4, it was logical and convenient to put the newly ordered USAF F-110 aircraft under that same designation. Never forget that the designation systems are just some form of record keeping and that those administering it were (and still are) only interested in 'record keeping' and not neat sequences, like we are :) .

Maybe politics. It's not uncommon to continue with the old designation series, as recently shown by the use of C-143 and C-144 for Bombardier Challenger and CN-235 airframes in use with the US Coast Guard.
 

Andreas Parsch

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Vahe Demirjian said:
So we should rule out the possibility that the USAF's New Generation Bomber may be designated B-72 rather than B-3 ...
Did you want to say "should not"? Anyway, the USAF can effectively call their aircraft whatever they like, so even if B-3 is the most likely number, it could also be anything else.
... (if the USAF doesn't wish to avoid confusion with the B-17).
Huh??
 

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