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rec.aviation.military Frequently Asked Questions (part 4 of 5)
Section - H.4. American missile designations

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These have their own version of the Tri-Service designation system,
consisting of a three-letter prefix, a dash, a series number to indicate
the specific type, and a letter to indicate subtypes.  Series numbers are
assigned within vehicle types, so there are only two numeric series, the
M-series for guided missiles and the R-series for unguided rockets.

The three letters indicate (left to right):

(1) Launch platform:

    A = Aircraft
    B = Multiple
    C = Container
    F = Individual
    G = Runway
    H = Silo stored
    L = Silo launched
    M = Mobile
    P = Soft pad
    R = Ship
    S = Space
    U = Underwater

(2) Mission type:

    C = Cargo transport
    D = Decoy
    E = Electronics or communication
    G = Surface attack
    I = Interception
    L = Launch detection or surveillance
    M = Calibration or scientific research
    N = Navigation
    Q = Drone
    S = Space support
    T = Training
    U = Underwater attack
    W = Weather

(3) Vehicle type:

    M = Missile (guided)
    R = Rocket (unguided)

Example:  AIM-9L Sidewinder.  Aircraft-launched interception missile (i.e.
air-to-air missile), the ninth missile to be designated since 1962, and the
eleventh version of the AIM-9.  As with aircraft, an official proper name
is usually assigned, but is not part of the formal designation.

(See C.17 for current American air-to-air missiles)

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Top Document: rec.aviation.military Frequently Asked Questions (part 4 of 5)
Previous Document: H.3. USAF/USN fighters and attack aircraft
Next Document: H.7. American electronic systems designations

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM