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British Designations

Aircraft

The 1918 Designation system.

The 1918 system was based on the meaning of names as codewords. It was used until 1927. Up to 1921 alliteration of aircraft name and manufacturer's name was obligatory; later this was often continued. The following information is from an article in Aeroplane Monthly, November 1994:

Landplanes

   Fighter                          Zoological, Vegetable, Mineral (terrestial)

      Single-seater                    Insects, birds and reptiles

      Two-seater                       Mammals

      Three-seater                     Flowers

      Four-seater                      Shrubs

      Five-seater                      Trees

      Over five seats                  Metals, Rocks

   Bomber                           Geographical (inland)

      Single-Seater                    Italian towns

      Two-seater                       British towns

      Three-seater                     French towns

      More than 3, under 5 ton         Towns in colonies and dependencies

      5 to 10 tons                     Towns in Asia

      10 to 15 tons                    Towns in Africa

   Heavy Armoured Machines          Proper Names (male)

      Under 2 tons                     Mythological Greek

      2 to 5 tons                      Mythological Roman

      5 to 10 tons                     Mythological Eastern and Egyptian

      10 to 20 tons                    Mythological Northern Europe

Seaplanes

   Fighter                          Zoological (marine)

      Single-seater                    River fish

      Two-seater                       Saltwater fish

      Three-seater                     Shellfish

   Bomber                           Geographical (seaboard)

      Single-Seater                    Italian towns

      Two-seater                       British towns

      Three-seater                     French towns

      More than 3, under 5 ton         Towns in colonies and dependencies

      5 to 10 tons                     Towns in Asia

      10 to 15 tons                    Towns in Africa

   Patrol and anti-submarine        Proper Names (female)

      Under 2 tons                     Mythological Greek

      2 to 5 tons                      Mythological Roman

      5 to 10 tons                     Mythological Eastern and Egyptian

      10 to 20 tons                    Mythological Northern Europe

The 1927 RAF Naming System

   Category                         Names beginning with...

   --------                         -----------------------

    1. Fighters, land                F

    2. Fighters, fleet               N (maritime significance)

    3. Bombers, single-engined       P

    4. Bombers, multi-engined        B

    5. Bombers, torpedo              M (maritime significance)

    6. Army co-operation             A

    7. Spotter & reconaissance       S

    8. Coastal reconaissance         R

    9. Troop carriers                C

   10. Training aircraft             T

   11. General Purpose Aircraft      G

   12. Fighter Reconaissance         O (maritime significance)

The 1932 RAF Naming System

    1. Fighters                      Speed, Activity, Aggressiveness

    2. Bombers

        (a) Day                      Animals (except felidae)

        (b) Army co-operation        Classical names

        (c) Night                    Inland town of the Empire, or towns
                                     associated with the RAF.

        (d) General Purpose          British historical names

        (e) Transport                General towns and seaports
                                     of the British Empire.

    3. Flying Boats                  Coastal towns and seaports
                                     of the British Empire.

    4. Fleet Air Arm

        (a) Fighters                 Mythological names

        (b) Fighter reconaissance    Seabirds

        (c) Torpedo Bombers          Oceans, seas and estuaries

        (d) Spotter reconaissance    Marine animals

    5. Trainers                      Tuition, or places of education


Emmanuel Gustin
[email protected]

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