1962 United States Tri-Service aircraft designation system

BlockdesignationTri-Service aircraft designation system(through 1962)1962 redesignation of USN/USMC/USCG aircraft1962 unified designation systemair vehicle designationBlock numberJoint Services designation systemjoint system
The Tri-Service aircraft designation system is a unified system introduced in 1962 by the United States Department of Defense for designating all U.S. military aircraft.wikipedia
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Attack aircraft

ground-attack aircraftground attack aircraftattack
The U.S. Navy continued to introduce new aircraft in their A-series, but these were mostly similar to light and medium bombers.

1924 United States Army Air Service aircraft designation system

designationpre-1962 bomber seriesUSAAC aircraft designation system
The 1962 system was based on the one used by the USAF between 1948 and 1962, which was in turn based on the Type, Model, Series USAAS/USAAC/USAAF system used from 1924 to 1948.
With some minor changes it became the basis of the 1962 United States Tri-Service aircraft designation system.

United States military aircraft designation systems

military aircraft designation systemnew U.S. Air Force designation systemseparate nomenclature systems
Prior to then, the U.S. armed services used separate nomenclature systems.
Since 18 September 1962 a joint system of mission-based designations has been used, with most of these restarting from 1.

Boeing KC-767

KC-767Boeing KC-767JKC-767A
Recently this rule has been ignored, and aircraft have received a design number equal to the model number (e.g., KC-767A ) or have kept the design number when they are transferred from one series to another (e.g., the X-35 became the F-35).
The tanker received the designation KC-767A, after being selected by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) initially to replace older KC-135Es.

McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet

F/A-18 HornetF/A-18F-18
The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet is a twin-engine, supersonic, all-weather, carrier-capable, multirole combat jet, designed as both a fighter and attack aircraft (hence the F/A designation).

General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon

F-16F-16 Fighting FalconF-16C Fighting Falcon
It is not clear how much modification is required to merit a new series letter, e.g., the F-16C production run has varied extensively over time.
During the late 1980s and 1990s, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) produced 232 Block 30/40/50 F-16s on a production line in Ankara under license for the Turkish Air Force.

Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk

F-117 NighthawkF-117F-117A Nighthawk
The Air Force has even assigned the F designation to attack-only aircraft, such as the F-111 Aardvark and F-117 Nighthawk.
Most modern U.S. military aircraft use post-1962 designations in which the designation "F" is usually an air-to-air fighter, "B" is usually a bomber, "A" is usually a ground-attack aircraft, etc. (Examples include the F-15, the B-2, and the A-6.) The F-117 is primarily an attack aircraft, so its "F" designation is inconsistent with the DoD system.

F-19

19
Since the unification of the numbering system in 1962, U.S. fighters have been designated by consecutive numbers, beginning with the F-1 Fury.

List of military aircraft of the United States (naval)

allscout bomberU.S. Navy
For aircraft designations under the U.S. Army Air Force/U.S. Air Force USAF system or the post-1962 Tri-Service system and aircraft currently in service, see List of military aircraft of the United States.

United States Department of Defense aerospace vehicle designation

United States Armed Forces designationUS Military designationcommon naming
These regulations replaced the previous regulations which were originally introduced in 1962 (See 1962 United States Tri-Service aircraft designation system).

United States Department of Defense

Department of DefenseU.S. Department of DefenseUS Department of Defense
The Tri-Service aircraft designation system is a unified system introduced in 1962 by the United States Department of Defense for designating all U.S. military aircraft.

Military aircraft

militarycombat aircraftwarplane
The Tri-Service aircraft designation system is a unified system introduced in 1962 by the United States Department of Defense for designating all U.S. military aircraft.

United States Air Force

U.S. Air ForceAir ForceUSAF
Under the tri-service designation system, officially introduced on 18 September 1962, almost all aircraft receive a unified designation, whether they are operated by the United States Air Force (USAF), United States Navy (USN), United States Marine Corps (USMC), United States Army, or United States Coast Guard (USCG).

United States Navy

U.S. NavyUS NavyNavy
Under the tri-service designation system, officially introduced on 18 September 1962, almost all aircraft receive a unified designation, whether they are operated by the United States Air Force (USAF), United States Navy (USN), United States Marine Corps (USMC), United States Army, or United States Coast Guard (USCG).

United States Marine Corps

U.S. Marine CorpsMarinesMarine Corps
Under the tri-service designation system, officially introduced on 18 September 1962, almost all aircraft receive a unified designation, whether they are operated by the United States Air Force (USAF), United States Navy (USN), United States Marine Corps (USMC), United States Army, or United States Coast Guard (USCG).

United States Army

U.S. ArmyUS ArmyArmy
Under the tri-service designation system, officially introduced on 18 September 1962, almost all aircraft receive a unified designation, whether they are operated by the United States Air Force (USAF), United States Navy (USN), United States Marine Corps (USMC), United States Army, or United States Coast Guard (USCG).

United States Coast Guard

U.S. Coast GuardCoast GuardUS Coast Guard
Under the tri-service designation system, officially introduced on 18 September 1962, almost all aircraft receive a unified designation, whether they are operated by the United States Air Force (USAF), United States Navy (USN), United States Marine Corps (USMC), United States Army, or United States Coast Guard (USCG).

NASA

National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationNASA Advisory CouncilU.S. space program
Experimental aircraft operated by manufacturers or by NASA are also often assigned designations from the X-series of the tri-service system.

Combat

fightingfightphysical fighting
M-aircraft conduct combat or special operations while U-aircraft conduct combat support missions, such as transport (e.g., UH-60) and electronic warfare (e.g., MC-12).

Special operations

special opsspecial operationSpec-Ops
M-aircraft conduct combat or special operations while U-aircraft conduct combat support missions, such as transport (e.g., UH-60) and electronic warfare (e.g., MC-12).

Combat support

supportcombat-supportCS
M-aircraft conduct combat or special operations while U-aircraft conduct combat support missions, such as transport (e.g., UH-60) and electronic warfare (e.g., MC-12).

Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk

UH-60 Black HawkUH-60 BlackhawkUH-60
M-aircraft conduct combat or special operations while U-aircraft conduct combat support missions, such as transport (e.g., UH-60) and electronic warfare (e.g., MC-12).

Beechcraft C-12 Huron

C-12 HuronC-12MC-12W
M-aircraft conduct combat or special operations while U-aircraft conduct combat support missions, such as transport (e.g., UH-60) and electronic warfare (e.g., MC-12).