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Aircraft Designators

A designation consisted of the word "Type" and a single number to indentify the type of aircraft, e.g. "Type 39" for the Tupolev Tu-16. Numbers were assigned in strict numerical sequence. The system was cancelled in 1955 because it was obviously impractical in the long run. The US Air Force began identifying newly appearing Soviet aircraft and missiles by a type number in 1947. The Type Number system was found to be difficult to remember and easy to confuse over a poor radio connection. The Air Standards Coordinating Committee (ASCC)--composed of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand--then stepped in and adopted a system similar to that used during World War II to identify Japanese aircraft. This new system, devised in 1954, assigned each Soviet vehicle a codename or reporting name according to its primary mission. The first letter of the reporting name indicates the type of vehicle.

Type ASCC/NATO Model
Type 1 Fargo Mikoyan MiG-9
Type 2 Feather Yakovlev Yak-15
Type 3   Lavochkin La-150
Type 4   Lavochkin La-152
Type 5   Lavochkin La-156
Type 6   Lavochkin La-160 Strelka
Type 7   Yakovlev Yak-19
Type 8   Sukhoy Su-9 (1st) (note 2)
Type 9   Tupolev Tu-12
Type 10   Ilyushin Il-22 (1st) (note 2)
Type 11   Mikoyan I-270
Type 12   Tupolev Tu-73
Type 13   Yakovlev Yak-25 (1947) (1st) (note 2) (note 3)
Type 13not allocated (published)
Type 14   Mikoyan MiG-15
Type 15   Lavochkin La-168
Type 16 Feather Yakovlev Yak-17
Type 17Tu-82 (Bergander) (note 3)
Type 17Su-11 (1947) (published)
Type 18Su-15 (1949) (Bergander)
Type 18Mikoyan I-320 (published) (note 3)
Type 19FagotSP-1 (MiG-15bisP) (Bergander) (note 3)
Type 19KennelKS-1 Kometa (ASM, DOD code AS-1) (published)
Type 20Yak-30 (1948) (Bergander)
Type 20FrescoMiG-17 (published)
Type 21 Fantail Lavochkin La-15
Type 22ColtAn-2 (Bergander) (note 3)
Type 22BatTu-2R / (Tu-6) (published)
Type 23   Sukhoy Su-12
Type 24MareYak-14 (Bergander)(note 3)
Type 24Yak-10 (published)
Type 25 Mist Tzybin Tz-25
Type 26 Magnet Yakovlev Yak-17UTI
Type 27 Beagle Ilyushin Il-28
Type 28 Flora Yakovlev Yak-23
Type 29 Midget Mikoyan MiG-15UTI
Type 30 Mascot Ilyushin Il-28U
Type 31 Barge Tupolev Tu-85
Type 32 Hare Mil Mi-1
Type 33 Mole Beriev Be-8
Type 34 Madge Beriev Be-6
Type 35 Bosun Tupolev Tu-14
Type 36 Hound Mil Mi-4
Type 37 Bison Myasishchev M-4
Type 38HorseYak-24 (Bergander)
Type 38 Fresco Mikoyan MiG-17
Type 39 Badger Tupolev Tu-16
Type 40 Bear Tupolev Tu-95

1. Not all aircraft with a "Type" designation had ASCC/NATO names allocated.
2. These aircraft have nothing in common with later aircraft with the same designation (a Russian speciality!)
3. In essentially all published lists of "Type" numbers, the numbers 13, 17-20, 22, 24 and 38 are described as follows:

  Type 13(not assigned)
  Type 17Sukhoy Su-11 (1st)
  Type 18Sukhoy Su-15 (1st)
  Type 19Mikoyan KS-1 Kometa (air-to-surface missile, DOD code AS-1)
  Type 20Mikoyan MiG-17
  Type 22Tupolev Tu-2R (Tu-6)
  Type 24Yakovlev Yak-10
  Type 38Yakovlev Yak-24

The corrected data, as presented here, has been provided by Helge Bergander, who obtained his information from detailed analysis of original Soviet documents of the time. In the original table, the entry #20 was suspected to erroneous anyway, because the MiG-17 was out of timeline. Numbers 18, 19, 21, 22 etc. were allocated to aircraft which were first seen around 1949, while the MiG-17 didn't fly before 1950 and didn't appear in public before 1954. The slot #38 is much more plausible for the MiG-17.

Research and Prototype Aircraft

The DOD assigned preliminary codes to newly discovered Soviet or Chinese aircraft, which had not yet been identified. A designation consisted of a code for the place of identification, and a sequential letter.

CASP - Caspian Sea

CASP-A / KASP-A   Alexeev KM
CASP-B / KASP-B   Alexeev A-90 Orlyonok, initially TAG-C

KAZ - Kazan

KAZ-A Backfire Tupolev Tu-22M0

NOVO - Novosibirsk

NOVO-A   twin-engine delta wing
NOVO-B   ?
NOVO-C   Sukhoy T-60S

RAM - Ramenskoye

RAM-A   delta wing
RAM-B   twin engine swept wing
RAM-D   single engine swept wing
RAM-E   twin engine delta wing
RAM-F   Sukhoi variable geometry
RAM-G Forger Yakovlev Yak-38
RAM-H Charger Tupolev Tu-144D
RAM-J Frogfoot Sukhoi T.8/Su-25
RAM-K Flanker Sukhoi T.10/Su-27
RAM-L Fulcrum Mikoyan MiG-29
RAM-M Mystic Myasishchev M-17 Stratosfera
RAM-N   Ilyushin Il-102
RAM-P Blackjack Tupolev Tu-160
RAM-Q   ? NPIC interim designator from September 1982
RAM-R   Buran orbiter prototype
RAM-R1   Buran prototype in glider configuration
RAM-R2   Buran prototype with 4 jet engines for atmospheric flight tests
RAM-S   ?
RAM-T Freestyle Yakovlev Yak-141


SIB-A   Sukhoy FSW testbed

TAG - Taganrog

TAG-A   Beriev/Bartini VVA-14
TAG-B   ? (note 1)
TAG-C   Alexeev A-90 Orlyonok, later designated KASP-B
TAG-D Mermaid Beriev A-40

1. Candidates for TAG-B and TAG-C are the KM and A-90 Orlyonok WIGs.

VLAD - Vladimirovka / Akhtubinsk

VLAD   twin-engine delta wing

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Page last modified: 10-04-2019 12:05:23 ZULU