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View Full Version : 2 totally different fighters, why a similar number?



taiterbud
02-14-2005, 12:42 PM
I found this to be very interesting.

The F4F and the F4U are completely different airplanes, so why is the nomenclature so similar? The Navy's system for numbering aircraft was different from the Army, which simply gave the next number in line for any aircraft they were considering. The Navy, however took into consideration who was building the airplane when numbering theirs. The first letter designated what type of aircraft it was: B - bomber; F - fighter; J - utility; S - scout; T - torpedo bomber. These letters could be combined if appropriate - SB for a scout bomber, for example. The next number identified how many of this type of aircraft had been built by this manufacturer. The manufacturer was assigned a letter - B for Boeing, F for Grumman, U for Vought. The F4F was the fourth fighter built by Grumman; the F4U was the fourth fighter built by Vought. There was also an F4B, which was a 1930s era biplane built by Boeing. After the war the U.S. went to a uniform method of numbering aircraft so that all services had the same number for the same airplane, it was this new system which gave the Marines the F4B Phantom jet - another bent wing legend.

taiterbud
02-14-2005, 12:42 PM
I found this to be very interesting.

The F4F and the F4U are completely different airplanes, so why is the nomenclature so similar? The Navy's system for numbering aircraft was different from the Army, which simply gave the next number in line for any aircraft they were considering. The Navy, however took into consideration who was building the airplane when numbering theirs. The first letter designated what type of aircraft it was: B - bomber; F - fighter; J - utility; S - scout; T - torpedo bomber. These letters could be combined if appropriate - SB for a scout bomber, for example. The next number identified how many of this type of aircraft had been built by this manufacturer. The manufacturer was assigned a letter - B for Boeing, F for Grumman, U for Vought. The F4F was the fourth fighter built by Grumman; the F4U was the fourth fighter built by Vought. There was also an F4B, which was a 1930s era biplane built by Boeing. After the war the U.S. went to a uniform method of numbering aircraft so that all services had the same number for the same airplane, it was this new system which gave the Marines the F4B Phantom jet - another bent wing legend.

Akronnick
02-14-2005, 03:41 PM
In the US Navy planes were designated according to what role the planes filled, in this case F for Fighter, that's the first letter. The number refers to the sequence of that type from that manufacturer, 4 in this means that this is the fourth major fighter plane from each of the manufacturers, F for Grumman and U for Vought, Usually the letter would be the first letter in the company's name but when Grumman submitted its first fighter design, the FF, G was already taken. My source doesn't list a company name for V so I suspect that was not used to avoid confusion with the V that's in all the squadron designations (VF-2, VT-8, etc.) Notice that in the First design, there is no number between the type and the manufacturer like in FF. After the manufacturer letter, there may be a hyphen, and then a number, this indicates version of the design, so there is no F1F, but there was an FF-1. After the number, there may be a letter to indicats special equipment supplied to that plane, many times as a modification. An example here is the F4U-1, (Original version of the Corsair with the birdcage canopy, In PF as British Corsair MkI) the F4U-1A, (with the bubble canopy) the F4U-1C (Armed with cannon), and finally the F4U-1D. (essentially a -1A with the ability to carry more ordnance)

There's an old quip that there's three ways to do anything: The Right Way, The Wrong Way, and The NAVY Way. This crazy nomenclature is proof of that, but it actually makes sense if you think about it.

Now, in 1962, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force combined their nomenclature. That did away with the situation of having two completely seperate designations for what is essentially the same aircraft. Under the old system, the McDonnell Phantom II was called the F4H by the Navy and would have been called the F-110 Spectre by the Air Force, And the Tomcat would have been the F13F!

Asgeir_Strips
02-15-2005, 08:41 AM
The F4U-1D Also had a larger engine..
The F4U-1D had P&W R-2800-8W 2,250HP Engine With Water Injection, So the -1D model was faster, or it needed the extra power so it could carry more bombload.. The F4U-1C had the same engine as The F4U-1 and F4U-1A....

The F4U-4 Had a P&W R-2800-18W 2100HP engine for takeoff and 2450HP WEP.. Had a top speed at 445mph (Contra the -1D's 425mph) Rate of climb: 3870FPM, Service Ceiling 41,500Ft. (Contra the -1D's 33,900 ft)

I got this info from an article in Flight journal (It was a special Corsair Edition, so it was only about the corsair..) a test pilot called Corwin Meyer wrote that article (He is alive) He has flown nearly all the major aircraft that participated in WW2 so i believe anything he say/write....

He also stated that the corsair could have been deployed on aircraft carriers much earlier, because if Vought had "Loaned" a F6F from Grumman and used the Hellcats non bounce shock strut landing gear, the "bounce" could have been eliminated within a Month!! and also, if they had increased the corsair's roll-stabilizing vertical fin area by three times (to at least make it equal to the hellcat's) the torque stall would have been eliminated... And when Corwin Meyer asked the Vought test pilots about that, they simply answered that The Vought's engineering boss simply wouldn't hear anything negative about the Corsair, even from US navy trained test pilots. Whereas Roy Grumman (President of Grumman) who flew the Hellcat throughout WW2 always had an open policy towards the test pilots regarding the F6F... So the Grumman test pilots opinions always mattered, whereas the Vought's test pilots opinions didn't matter at all... So that means that The corsair could be deployed on US carriers in Mid 1942!!!

Zyzbot
02-15-2005, 08:53 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by taiterbud:
I found this to be very interesting.

The F4F and the F4U are completely different airplanes, so why is the nomenclature so similar? The Navy's system for numbering aircraft was different from the Army, which simply gave the next number in line for any aircraft they were considering. The Navy, however took into consideration who was building the airplane when numbering theirs. The first letter designated what type of aircraft it was: B - bomber; F - fighter; J - utility; S - scout; T - torpedo bomber. These letters could be combined if appropriate - SB for a scout bomber, for example. The next number identified how many of this type of aircraft had been built by this manufacturer. The manufacturer was assigned a letter - B for Boeing, F for Grumman, U for Vought. The F4F was the fourth fighter built by Grumman; the F4U was the fourth fighter built by Vought. There was also an F4B, which was a 1930s era biplane built by Boeing. After the war the U.S. went to a uniform method of numbering aircraft so that all services had the same number for the same airplane, it was this new system which gave the Marines the F4B Phantom jet - another bent wing legend. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


The Japanese Navy used a very similar system to the one used by the USN.

A6M2 Zero:

A= Carrier borne fighter
6= Sixth to go into service
M= manufactured by Mitsubishi
2= Second version

Chuck_Older
02-15-2005, 10:16 AM
I'm going to guess that "V" was reserved for "Vultee"

jarink
02-15-2005, 10:58 AM
For those that are curious....

First Letter (function)
A Amphibian
B Bomber
F Fighter
G Transport (1 engine)
H Ambulance
J Utility
JR Utility-Transport
N Trainer
O Observation
OS Observation-Scout
P Patrol
PB Patrol Bomber
R Transport (multi-engine)
S Scout
SB Scout-bomber
SN Scout-trainer
SO Scout-Observation
T Torpedo
TB Torpedo-bomber
X Experimental

Third Letter (manufacturer)
A Brewster
B Beechcraft/Boeing
C Curtiss
D Douglas
E Bellanca/Piper
F Grumman
H Howard
J North American
K Fairchild
L Bell
M Martin/General Motors
N Naval Aircraft Factory
O Lockheed
P Spartan
Q Stinson
R Ryan
S Stearman
T Timm
U Vought
V Vultee
Y Consolidated

(Souce is "Naval Aircraft" by Chartwell Books, 1977 ISBN 0 7026 0025 3, page 127)