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WWII Navy Plane Names/Designations, please explain

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  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Iowa- USA
WWII Navy Plane Names/Designations, please explain
Posted by toadwbg on Friday, March 14, 2003 7:41 AM
In my years of modeling I've never had the following explained:

What do the names of many WWII Navy Planes mean? I understand modern Designation such as the F-16 (Fighter, 16 in a series) For example:

F6F (I assume the "F" is for Fighter, 6 in a series, F model)

TBM (I'm guessing here...Torpedo Bomber M....?)

TBF (similar to above)

TBD (similar to above)

PBY (Patrol Boat Y...?)

...and so forth.

"The only stupid question is the one not asked"

"I love modeling- it keeps me in the cool, dark, and damp basement where I belong" Current Projects: 1/48th Hasegawa F-14D- 25% 1/48th Tamiya Spitfire- 25%
  • Member since
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  • From: Pominville, NY
Posted by BlackWolf3945 on Friday, March 14, 2003 8:16 AM
Hey Toad!

You were pretty close! Here's a bit of info that should help explain.

The first letter or letters in the designation indicate the type or the class of the aircraft. "S" for Scout, "SB" for Scout Bomber, "T" for Torpedo, "F" for Fighter etc. The last letter in a designation is the manufacturer's code. "A" for Brewster, "F" for Grumman, "M" for General Motors...

Some types are not as obvious as others. Take a Transport aircraft for instance; the letter "T" is already used for Torpedo aircraft. So the code letter for a Transport bird would be "R". I don't know why it's "R" for Transports, but the guy who wrote the work that I used as a reference for this post guessed it was because "R" is the second letter in "Transport". If anyones knows otherwise, I'd like to know! LOL

If there's a number anywhere in the designation it has one of two meanings. If it's within the main body, say F4F, it means that the aircraft is the 4th major fighter design built by Grumman. ("F" being Grumman's manufacturer code letter) If the number is used as a suffix this indicates a sub-type, say SBD-1, which would be the first version or sub-type Scout Bomber built by Douglas.

SBD - Scout Bomber built by Douglas

F6F - 6th Fighter design built by Grumman

F6F-3 - Third sub-type of the 6th Fighter design built by Grumman

If you want a more complete reference, check out this web page:

http://rwebs.net/avhistory/acdesig/usnavy.htm

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, March 14, 2003 8:21 AM
Blackwolf/toad: I was told sbd designation ment slow damn bomber!!
  • Member since
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  • From: Pominville, NY
Posted by BlackWolf3945 on Friday, March 14, 2003 8:23 AM
Or Slow But Deadly! LOL
  • Member since
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  • From: Connecticut, USA
Posted by Aurora-7 on Friday, March 14, 2003 2:44 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by blackwolfscd

Or Slow But Deadly! LOL


OK how about SB2C for the 'Helldiver' or is this a family forumWink [;)]

 

 

  • Member since
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, March 14, 2003 3:38 PM
I alway found the old Navy designations a litte confusing, although i think I got it... An R2D is/was the Navy version of the DC-3 or C-47. Now would the R2D-2 be the second version of the R2D series a/c or a star wars character?
  • Member since
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  • From: Pominville, NY
Posted by BlackWolf3945 on Friday, March 14, 2003 7:49 PM
ROTFLMAO!

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  • From: Panama City, Florida, Hurricane Alley
Posted by berny13 on Friday, March 14, 2003 8:43 PM
What about this one. AF version of the B-1RD was called the GU-ll in the Navy. So what was it a bird or a gull?Big Smile [:D]Big Smile [:D]Big Smile [:D]Big Smile [:D]Big Smile [:D]

Berny

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  • Member since
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  • From: Pominville, NY
Posted by BlackWolf3945 on Friday, March 14, 2003 10:55 PM
Or how about the F-1SH? Tongue [:P]

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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, March 15, 2003 7:45 AM
"If the VP is such a VIP, shouldn't we put the PC on the QT because if it leaks to the VC, he could end up a MIA, then we'd all be put on KP."
Tell me, who said that?
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  • From: Pominville, NY
Posted by BlackWolf3945 on Saturday, March 15, 2003 8:14 AM
Robin Williams - Goooooood Mornin' Vietnaaaaaam!

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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, March 16, 2003 3:25 AM
PBY Patrol Bomber Y was the navy designation for the manufacturer, Consolidated.
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  • From: USA
Posted by jcarlberg on Monday, March 17, 2003 10:39 AM
The Navy designation system endured until the 1960s, when, allegedly, the Secretary of Defense, Robert MacNamara, couldn't understand how the McDonnell Phantom could be the Navy and Marine F4H and the Air Force F-110 at the same time. Subsequently the current tri-service designation came into being, which is how the F8U Crusader became the F-8E, to the unending chagrin of the services.
  • Member since
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  • From: Panama City, Florida, Hurricane Alley
Posted by berny13 on Monday, March 17, 2003 11:28 AM
If the F-110 was the first to go under the new designation, how did we get the F-111 and the F-117?

Berny

 Phormer Phantom Phixer

On the bench

TF-102A Delta Dagger, 32nd FIS, 54-1370, 1/48 scale. Monogram Pro Modeler with C&H conversion.  

Revell F-4E Phantom II 33rd TFW, 58th TFS, 69-260, 1/32 scale. 

Tamiya F-4D Phantom II, 13th TFS, 66-8711, 1/32 scale.  F-4 Phantom Group Build. 

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Joisey
Posted by John P on Monday, March 17, 2003 12:27 PM
The F-111 is actually sequential to the Phantom, but I guess they just decided to skip updating that one :).

The F-117 is a bogus number, chosen at random to confuse the hell outta any potential spies.
-------------------------------
  • Member since
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  • From: Panama City, Florida, Hurricane Alley
Posted by berny13 on Monday, March 17, 2003 2:49 PM
Close. The Phantom was a Navy project and the F-4A was already in production. When the Navy went to the F-4B to fix problems with the A model the Air Force got interested in it. So the AF version was designated F-4C in keeping with MacNamara's new rule.

The F-111 started off as an Air Force project and MacNamara said the Navy would also buy it. The Navy version became the F-111B.

You are correct on the F-117.

Happy Modeling

Berny

 Phormer Phantom Phixer

On the bench

TF-102A Delta Dagger, 32nd FIS, 54-1370, 1/48 scale. Monogram Pro Modeler with C&H conversion.  

Revell F-4E Phantom II 33rd TFW, 58th TFS, 69-260, 1/32 scale. 

Tamiya F-4D Phantom II, 13th TFS, 66-8711, 1/32 scale.  F-4 Phantom Group Build. 

 

  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, March 17, 2003 6:21 PM
The Navy never did buy the F-111 because they couldn't get enough weight out of it without compromiseing the structure.
On the confusion scale this has to rate pretty high, After WW2 when the B-26 Marauder was taken out of service the A-26 Invader was redesignated B-26.
  • Member since
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 12:14 AM
The same plane could also have different designations depending on who built it. The Grumman F4F Wildcat was also the General Motors FM-2 Wildcat. Even better, the Vought F4U Corsair was also built by Goodyear as the FG-1 and I believe there was a version from Brewster known as the F3A.

The TBF Avenger came from Grumman, the TBM Avenger from General Motors (again, the same design). The TBD was the Devastator from Douglas.

At the beginning of the Vietnam War the B-26 Invader was re-redesignated the A-26. Specifically, The B-26K became the A-26A, adding even more to the confusion! :-)

I hope this helps to sort out some of the mess.

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