DODD 4120.15 Designating and Naming Military Aerospace Vehicles, May 02,
1985, ASD (MI&L)
**** Text of the Regulation ****
Refs:(a) DoD Directive 4120.15, "Designating and Naming Military Aircraft,
Rockets, and Guided Missiles," November 24, 1971 (hereby canceled)
(b) DoD Directive 5000.11, "Data Elements and Data Codes Standardization
Program," December 7, 1964
(c) DoD 5000.12-M, 1,"DoD Manual for Standard Data Elements," October
1984, authorized by DoD Instruction 5000.12, April 27, 1965
A. REISSUANCE AND PURPOSE
This Directive reissues reference (a) and updates policies and
responsibilities to promote clarity and consistency throughout the
Department of Defense in referencing military aerospace vehicles, and to
assign an executive agent to publish a joint regulation governing the
designation and naming of these vehicles and a single DoD-wide source
document containing approved designators and popular names.
This Directive applies to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and its
field activities, the Military Departments (including their National Guard
and Reserve components), the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
the Unified and Specified Commands, and the Defense Agencies (hereafter
referred to collectively as "DoD Components").
It is DoD policy that:
1. Each military aerospace vehicle shall be assigned a unique mission-
design series (MDS) designator. Only approved MDS designators and popular
names shall be used in referencing these aerospace vehicles in official
documents and public statements.
2. To ensure consistency and uniformity of compliance with this policy,
the Department of the Air Force is hereby assigned as the DoD executive
agent for this function.
1. The Department of the Air Force, as the executive agent for this
a. In coordination with the other Military Departments, publish a joint
regulation governing the designating and naming functions for aerospace
b. Assign MDS designators to all military aerospace vehicles, coordinate
the assignment of popular names to all aerospace vehicles, and publish and
update a list of approved MDS designators and names for aerospace vehicles
in a single DoD-wide source document.
c. Act as the assigned responsible agent, under DoD Directive 5000.11
(reference (b)) and DoD 5000.12-M (reference (c)), to standardize
appropriate data elements for all DoD data systems that require coded
identities for aerospace vehicles. Coordinate these activities with the
Logistics Data Element Standardization Management Program Office of the
Defense Logistics Agency.
2. The Military Departments shall:
a. In coordination with the Department of the Air Force, assign popular
names to their military aerospace vehicles consistent with this Directive
and the joint regulation noted in paragraph D.1.a., above. To ensure
public suitability of popular names, the Department of the Air Force shall
obtain the coordination of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public
Affairs) before public announcement of the selected popular name for each
b. Forward suggested changes to the joint regulation and the DoD-wide
source document to the Department of the Air Force to facilitate
preparation, coordination, and revision, as appropriate.
3. All DoD Components shall:
a. Disseminate the DoD-wide source document published by the Department
of the Air Force as a reference for the names and MDS designators of
military aerospace vehicles.
b. Coordinate with the Department of the Air Force, before referencing in
official documents and public statements, aerospace vehicles in the
planning or predevelopment stage that do not have approved MDS designators
E. EFFECTIVE DATE AND IMPLEMENTATION
This Directive is effective immediately. The Department of the Air Force
shall update the required joint regulation as required and publish the DoD
-wide source document annually. Future proposed changes and revisions to
these documents should be forwarded to the Secretary of the Air Force.
William H. Taft, IV Deputy Secretary of Defense
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