List of military aircraft of the United States

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This list of military aircraft of the United States includes prototype, pre-production and operational types. For aircraft currently in service, see the List of active United States military aircraft. Prototypes are normally prefixed with "X" and 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 "Y".

The United States Air Force currently employs a designation and naming system to identify all aircraft type with distinct names. Until 1962, both the Army and Air Force maintained one system, while the United States Navy maintained a separate system. In 1962, these were unified into a single system heavily reflecting the Army/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 designated under the pre-1962 United States Navy designation system. For these aircraft, see List of military aircraft of the United States (naval).

A collection of NASA experimental aircraft, including (clockwise from left) the X-31, F-15S/MTD, SR-71, F-106, F-16XL, X-38, Radio Controlled Mothership, and X-36.


[edit] Prior to 1919

[edit] Army Signal Corps, August 2, 1909 to April 6, 1917

[edit] American-Built Airplanes of World War I, April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918

[edit] American Expeditionary Force (A.E.F.) aircraft from the French Government

[edit] American Expeditionary Force (A.E.F.) aircraft from the British Government

[edit] American Expeditionary Force (A.E.F.) aircraft from the Italian Government

[edit] Post-War, November 11, 1918 to September 1919

[edit] Army Air Service, 1919-1924

Prior to 1919, all planes flown by the Army Air Service were referred to by the designation given to them by their manufacturer. In September 1919, the Army Air Service decided that it needed some 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.

[edit] Type O: Foreign-Built Pursuit Aircraft

[edit] Type I: Pursuit, water-cooled

[edit] Type II: Pursuit, night

[edit] Type III: Pursuit, air-cooled

[edit] Type IV: Pursuit, ground attack, 1922

[edit] Type V: Two-seat pursuit

  • TP-1 - Engineering Division

[edit] Type VI: Ground attack, 1920-1922

[edit] Type VII: Infantry liaison

[edit] Type VIII: Night observation

[edit] Type IX: Artillery observation

[edit] Type X: Corps observation

[edit] Type XI: Day bombardment

[edit] Type XII: Night bombardment, short range

[edit] Type XIII: Night bombardment, long range

[edit] Type XIV: Trainer, air-cooled

[edit] Type XV: Trainer, water-cooled

[edit] Ambulance, 1919-1924

[edit] Messenger

[edit] Pursuit, special

[edit] Racer

[edit] Seaplane

[edit] Transport

[edit] Army Air Corps/Army Air Forces/Air Force 1924-1962

[edit] Attack, 1924-1948

[edit] Bomber

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.

[edit] Light Bomber, 1924-1926

[edit] Medium Bomber, 1924-1926

[edit] Heavy Bomber, 1924-1926

[edit] Unified bomber sequence, 1926-1962

[edit] 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.

[edit] Missiles

Beginning with #68, the M- (missile) and B- (bomber) series diverged. The following missiles, some of which are incorrectly labeled as "formerly designated B-xx" in some sources, never used a B-series designation.

[edit] Cargo, 1924-1962

After 2005, several planes were added to this sequence.

[edit] Drone

[edit] Aerial Target

[edit] 1940-1941

[edit] 1942-1948
  • PQ-8 Cadet - Culver
  • PQ-9 - Culver
  • PQ-10 - Culver
  • PQ-11 - Fletcher
  • PQ-12 - Fleetwings
  • PQ-13 - ERCO
  • PQ-14 - Culver
  • PQ-15 - Culver

[edit] Aerial Target (Model Airplane), 1942-1948

[edit] Controllable bomb, 1942-1945

[edit] Target Control, 1942-1948

[edit] Unified sequence, 1948-1962

  • Q-1 - Radioplane
  • Q-2 Firebee - Ryan
  • Q-3 - Radioplane
  • Q-4 - Radioplane/Bendix
  • Q-5 Kingfisher - Lockheed
  • Q-6
    • Q-7 - skipped: request for redesignated QB-17 not approved
    • Q-8 - skipped: request for redesignated QF-80 not approved
  • Q-8 Cadet Culver
  • Q-9
  • Q-10 - Radioplane
    • Q-11 - skipped
  • Q-12 Challenger - Beech
  • Q-14 Cadet - Culver

[edit] Electronic Reconnaissance

[edit] Glider

[edit] Assault Glider, 1942-1944

  • AG-1 - Christopher
  • AG-2 - Timm

[edit] Bomb Glider, 1942-1944

  • BG-1 - Fletcher
  • BG-2 - Fletcher
  • BG-3 - Cornelius

[edit] Cargo Glider, 1941-1948

  • CG-1 - Frankfort
  • CG-2 - Frankfort
  • CG-3 - Waco
  • CG-4 Haig - Waco
  • CG-5 - St. Louis
  • CG-6 - St. Louis
  • CG-7 - Bowlus/Douglas
  • CG-8 - Bowlus/Douglas
  • CG-9 - AGA Aviation
  • CG-10 Trojan Horse - Laister-Kauffman
  • CG-11 - Snead
  • CG-12 - Read-York
  • CG-13 - Waco
  • CG-14 - Chase
  • CG-15 Hadrian - Waco
  • CG-16 - General Airborne Transport
  • CG-17 - Douglas
  • CG-18 - Chase
  • CG-19 - Douglas
  • CG-20 - Chase

[edit] British-Built Cargo Gliders, 1941-1948

[edit] Fuel Glider, 1930-1948

  • FG-1 - Cornelius

[edit] Powered Glider, 1943-1948

  • PG-1 - Northwestern
  • PG-2 - Ridgefield
  • PG-3 - Waco

[edit] Training Glider, 1941-1948

  • TG-1 - Frankfort
  • TG-2 - Schweizer
  • TG-3 - Schweizer
  • TG-4 - Laister-Kauffman
  • TG-5 Grasshopper - Aeronca
  • TG-6 Grasshopper - Taylorcraft
  • TG-7 Orlik - SZD
  • TG-8 Grasshopper - Piper
  • TG-9 - Briegleb
  • TG-10 - Wichita Engineering
  • TG-11 - Schempp
  • TG-12 - Bowlus
  • TG-13 - Briegleb
  • TG-14 - Stiglmeier
  • TG-15 - Franklin
  • TG-16 - A.B.C.
  • TG-17 - Franklin
  • TG-18 - Midwest
  • TG-19 - Schweyer
  • TG-20 - Laister-Kauffman
  • TG-21 - Notre Dame
  • TG-22 - Mehlhose
  • TG-23 - Harper-Corcoran
  • TG-24 - Bowlus-Dupont
  • TG-25 - Plover
  • TG-26 - Universal
  • TG-27 - Grunau
  • TG-28 - Haller
  • TG-29 - Volmer Jensen
  • TG-30 Bluebird - Smith
  • TG-31 - Aero Industries
  • TG-32 - Pratt-Read
  • TG-33 - Aeronca

[edit] Unified sequence, 1948-1955

  • G-2 - Ridgefield
  • G-3 - Waco
  • G-4 Haig - Waco
  • G-10 Trojan Horse - Laister-Kauffman
  • G-13 - Waco
  • G-14 - Chase
  • G-15 Hadrian - Waco
  • G-18 - Chase
  • G-20 - Chase

[edit] Sailplane, 1960-1962

  • S-1 - Schweizer
  • S-2 - Schweizer

[edit] Gyroplane, 1935-1939

[edit] 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.

Unofficial designations YF-112 and up were later assigned to "black" projects - see Fighter series in Unified System.

[edit] Fighter, Multiplace

[edit] Pursuit, Biplace

[edit] Pursuit, British-built

[edit] Observation

[edit] Observation, 1924-1942

[edit] Observation amphibian, 1925-1948

[edit] Liaison, 1942-1962

[edit] Reconnaissance

[edit] Photographic reconnaissance, 1930-1948 / Reconnaissance, 1948-1962

[edit] Reconnaissance-strike, 1960-1962

Both of the following aircraft are part of the B- (bomber) series.

[edit] Rotary Wing, 1941-1948/Helicopter 1948-present

Designated R- for "rotary wing" until 1948, when the United States Air Force was founded. After this, all R- designations were changed to H- ("helicopter"), but the original numbers were retained. After 1962, the series was continued within the Unified Designation System.

[edit] Supersonic/special test, 1946-1948

The series was continued as the X (Experimental) series after 1948 - see X-series in Unified System.

[edit] Trainer

[edit] Advanced Trainer, 1925-1948

[edit] Basic Combat, 1936-1940

Superseded by Advanced Trainer (AT-).

[edit] Basic Trainer, 1930-1948

[edit] Primary Trainer, 1925-1948

[edit] Foreign-Built Training and Communications Aircraft, 1925-1948

[edit] 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, one number higher than the PT- sequence had reached.

[edit] Convertiplane, 1952-1962

[edit] Army, 1956-1962

[edit] Airplane, Cargo, 1956-1962

[edit] Airplane, Observation, 1956-1962

[edit] Airplane, Research, 1956-1962

  • AZ-1 Marvelette - Mississippi State University

[edit] Flying Platform, 1955-1956

[edit] Helicopter, Cargo, 1956-1962

[edit] Helicopter, Observation, 1956-1962

[edit] Helicopter, Utility, 1956-1962

[edit] Helicopter, Experimental, 1956-1962

[edit] Vertical Takeoff and Landing Research, 1956-1962

[edit] Unified System, 1962-present

[edit] Airship

[edit] Anti-Submarine Warfare

[edit] Anti-Submarine Warfare Helicopter

[edit] Attack

USAF A-10 Thunderbolt II

[edit] Attack Helicopter

[edit] Fixed-Wing Gunships (Modified Aircraft)

Use for attack missions is indicated by the modified mission identifier A-.

[edit] Bomber

USAF B-2 Spirit

[edit] Cargo

[edit] Cargo Helicopter

Army Chinook sling-loads a howitzer.

[edit] Drone

[edit] Electronic Warfare

USAF E-3 Sentry

[edit] Electronic Warfare (Modified Aircraft)

[edit] Experimental, 1948-present

[edit] Fighter

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.[7]

[edit] Glider[8]

[edit] Helicopter

[edit] Laser

[edit] Observation

[edit] Observation Helicopter

[edit] Patrol

[edit] Reconnaissance

[edit] Reconnaissance (Modified Aircraft)

[edit] Tanker

[edit] Trainer

[edit] Utility, 1955-present

[edit] Utility Helicopter

[edit] Vertical and Short Take-off and Landing Aircraft

[edit] Un-designated foreign aircraft operated by the United States

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Parsch, Andreas. "Convair MX-2223 (SM-74)". Designation-Systems.Net. Retrieved on 2007-07-24. 
  2. ^ Andrade 1979, page 60
  3. ^ "". rec.aviation.military FAQ, Part 4. Retrieved on 2007-01-13. 
  4. ^ Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. Illustrated Encyclopedia of Weapons and Warfare (London: Phoebus, 1978), Volume 4, p.370, "Blackbird, Sr-71 Lockheed".
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Parsch, Andreas (2006-11-27). "Cover Designations for Classified USAF Aircraft". Designation-Systems.Net. Retrieved on 2006-12-29. 
  6. ^ "Edwards AFB website". Col. Joseph A. Lanni, USAF biography. Retrieved on 2007-01-07. 
  7. ^ a b Fulghum, David A., "MiGs in Nevada", Aviation Week & Space Technology, November 27, 2006
  8. ^ 94th Flying Training Squadron aircraft
  • Andrade, John M. (1979). U.S. Military Aircraft Designations and Serials Since 1909. Midland Counties Publications. ISBN 0-904597-22-9. 
  • Fahey, James C. (1946). U.S. Army Aircraft 1908-1946. 

[edit] External links

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