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Russian and Soviet Aircraft Designations

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Russian names of aircraft are of course originally written in the Cyrillic alphabet, and have to be transcripted. Transcriptions can be quite different, largely dependent on the language of the reader, to reflect pronunciation; eg. Gorbatsjov and Gorbachew.
Always remember that the aircraft that you are looking for might be in the list under Y instead of J, V instead of W, E instead of 'Ye', 'TCh' instead of 'Ch', 'Sj' instead of 'Sh', or the other way around...

Until recently, there was enormous confusion, because many designations were kept secret and information flow was slow. The assigning of NATO codenames to aircraft was done for good reason. Sufficiently old books will claim that the "Foxbat" is the 'MiG-23', "Faceplate" is the 'MiG-21', or that "Backfin" was in production as the 'Yak-42'. A few times detailled three-view drawings of non-existing aircraft have been published. And often, even if a general designation of the aircraft is known, different versions with different engines may not be distinguished.

To mess up things even more, many design bureaus assign designations very similar to the designations applied by the armed forces, e.g. Tu-95 and Tu-20, or even duplicate designations. By which designation an aircraft is known in the West is often a matter of coincidence. The assigned NATO codenames help clearing this up and clarify changes.

Before WWII
Before WWII, aircraft were given designations consisting of a function letter and a sequential number. A function letter system, as supplied by (Mike Campbell), is listed here:
A Autogyro ARK Arctic Coastal Recce B Bomber (Bombar) BB Short-range bomber Bsh Armoured attacker DAR Long-range arctic recce DB Long-range bomber DI 2-seater fighter DIS Twin engined escort fighter I Interceptor (Istrebitel) I/PI Single seat fighter KOR Ship-borne recce M Seaplane MA Amphibian MBR Short-range maritime recce MDR Long-range maritime recce MI Fighter seaplane MK Armoured seaplane MP Transport seaplane MR Reconnaisance seaplane MTB Maritime heavy bomber MU Trainer seaplane P Mailplane PB Dive bomber PL Transport PS Mail / passenger G Paratroop transport R Reconnaissance ROM Open sea recce SB High speed bomber Sch Low level attacker SchR Attack fighter-recce SPB Fast dive bomber TB Heavy bomber TSh Heavy attack fighter U Primary trainer UT Basic trainer (Uchebnotrenirovochny) UTI Fighter trainer VI High altitude fighter VIT Assaulter VT Supervised design Yu Junkers aircraft V Airship

After WWII
The basics of the current designation system are very simple. Aircraft are known by the acronym for their design bureau, and a sequential number. The number is odd for fighters and types similar to fighters, and even for other aircraft. The definition of a 'fighter' is rather vague and includes such as the Su-25 'Frogfoot' attack aircraft.
Complication arise because of the way in which subtypes are designated. Letters are appended to the basic designation, which indicate the type of modification. There is no fixed sequence, and a letter may have another meaning depending on the designation.

NATO Codenames

Acrid AA-6 Bisnovat R-40

Alamo AA-10 (R-27)

Alkali AA-1 Tomashevitch K-5

Amos AA-9 Vympel K-33 (R-33)

Anab AA-3 Bisnovat K-8 (R-8, R-98)

Apex AA-7 Vympel K-23 (R-23)

Aphid AA-8 Bisnovat R-60

Archer AA-11 Molniya (R-73)

Ash AA-5 Bisnovat K-80 (R-4)

Atoll AA-2 Vympel K-13 (R-3)

Awl AA-4 Mikoyan K-9

AA-12 (R-77)

Backfin Tupolev Tu-98

Backfire Tupolev Tu-22M / Tu-26

Back Net Surveillance radar for SA-5.

Badger Tupolev Tu-16

Band Stand Radar associated with SS-N-7.

Bank North American B-25 Mitchell

Barge Tupolev Tu-85

Bark Ilysuhin Il-2

Bar Lock Surveillance radar for SA-5.

Bat Tupolev Tu-2 and Tu-6

Beagle Ilyushin Il-28

Bear Tupolev Tu-20, Tu-95 and Tu-142

Beast Ilyushin Il-10

Bee Hind Gun laying radar for the tail guns of the Tu-95 'Bear'.

Big Bulge Radar carried by the 'Bear-D'.

Big Bulge Radar fitted to the Ka-25 'Hormone-B'.

Big Nose Radar of the Tu-28P 'Fiddler'

Bison Myasichew M-4

Blackjack Tupolev Tu-160

Blinder Tupolev Tu-22 / Tu-105

Blowlamp Ilyushin Il-54

Bob Ilyushin Il-4

Boot Tupolev Tu-91

Bosun Tupolev Tu-14 / Tu-89

Bounder Myasichew M-50

Box Tail Tail warning radar fitted to the Tu-95 and the Tu-22M

'Backfire', replacing 'Bee Hind'.

Brawny Ilyushin Il-40

Brewer Yakovlev Yak-28

Broussard Yakovlev Yak-28 (Renamed Brewer)

Buck Petlyakov Pe-2

Bull Tupolev Tu-4 and Tu-80

Butcher Tupolev Tu-82

Cab Lisunov Li-2

Camber Ilyushin Il-86

Camel Tupolev Tu-104

Camp Antonov An-8

Candid Ilyushin Il-76

Careless Tupolev Tu-154

Cart Tupolev Tu-70

Cat House Radar associated with ABM-1.

Cash Antonov An-28

Cat Antonov An-10

Charger Tupolev Tu-144

Charlie Submarine class.

Clam Ilyushin Il-18, renamed Coot

Clam Pipe Nose radar fitted to the Tu-95MS Bear-H

Clank Antonov An-30

Classic Ilyushin Il-62

Cleat Tupolev Tu-114

Cline Antonov An-32

Clobber Yakovlev Yak-42

Clod Antonov An-14

Clog Antonov An-28 (?)

Coach Ilysuhin Il-12

Coaler Antonov An-72

***** Antonov An-22

Codling Yakovlev Yak-40

Coke Antonov An-24

Colt Antonov An-2

Condor Antonov An-124

Cooker Tupolev Tu-110

Cookpot Tupolev Tu-124

Coot Ilyushin Il-18 and Il-20

Cork Yakovlev Yak-16

Cossack Antonov An-225

Crate Ilyushin Il-14

Creek Yakovlev Yak-12

Crib Yakovlev Yak-6 and Yak-8

Crow Yakovlev Yak-10 and Yak-12

Crown Drum Nose radar of the Tu-95 'Bear-B'

Crusty Tupolev Tu-134

Cub Antonov An-10 and An-12

Cuff Beriev Be-30

Curl Antonov An-26

Delta submarine class

Dog House Medium range early-warning ground radar for ABM-1.

Down Beat Nose radar of the Tu-95 'Bear-G' and Tu-22M 'Backfire'.

Echo Submarine class.

Faceplate Mikoyan-Gurevich E-2A

Fagot Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15

Faithless Mikoyan-Gurevich Ye-231

Falcon Mikoyan-gurevich MiG-15, renamed Fagot

Fang Lavochkin La-11

Fan Song Radar associated with the SA-2 'Guideline'

Fantail Lavockhin La-15

Fantan Nanchang Q-5

Fargo Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-9

Farmer Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-19

Feather Yakovlev Yak-15 and Yak-17

Fencer Sukhoi Su-24

Fiddler Tupolev Tu-28

Fin Lavochkin La-7

Finback Shenyang F-8 II

Firebar Yakovlev Yak-28

Fire Can Radar used with 57mm and 85mm AAA.

Fishbed Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21

Fishpot Sukhoi Su-9 and Su-11

Fitter Sukhoi Su-7, Su-17, Su-20 and Su-22

Flagon Sukhoi Su-15 and Su-21

Flanker Sukhoi Su-27

Flap Wheel Gun laying radar for 130mm AAA.

Flash Dance Radar of the MiG-31.

Flashlight Yakovlev Yak-25 and Yak-27

Flat Face Radar used with SA-3 and SA-5.

Flat Jack Radar radome of the Tu-126 'Moss'.

Flipper Mikoyan-Gurevich Ye-152

Flogger Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 and MiG-27

Flora Yakovlev Yak-23

Forger Yakovlev Yak-38

Foxbat Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25

Fox Fire Radar of the MiG-25 Foxbat-A

Foxhound Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-31

Frank Yakovlev Yak-9

Fred Bell P-63 Kingcobra

Freehand Yakovlev Yak-36

Freestyle Yakovlev Yak-141

Fresco Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17

Fritz Lavochkin La-9

Frog artillery rocket

Frogfoot Sukhoi Su-25

Frosty Tupolev Tu-10

Fulcrum Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29

Gadfly SA-11, SA-N-7

Gainful SA-6

Ganef SA-4

Galosh ABM-1

Gammon SA-5

Gaskin SA-9

Gauntlet SA-15, SA-N-9

Gazelle ABM-3

Gecko SA-8, SA-N-4

Giant SA-12B

Gimlet SA-16

Gladiator SA-12A

Goa SA-3, SA-N-1

Goblet SA-N-3

Golf submarine class

Gopher SA-13

Grail SA-7

Gremlin SA-14

Griffon SA-5 (renamed Gammon)

Grisha corvette class

Grisom SA-19, SA-N-11

Grumble SA-10, SA-N-6

Guideline SA-2, SA-N-2

Guild SA-1

Gun Dish Gun-laying radar for ZSU-23-4 and ZSU-52-2 AAA sets.

Halo Mil Mi-26

Hare Mil Mi-1

Harke Mil Mi-10

Harp Kamov Ka-20

Harp missile ?

Hat Kamov Ka-10

Havoc Mil Mi-28

Haze Mil Mi-14

Head Light Radar for SA-N-3 Goblet

Head Net Shipboard surveillance radar

Helix Kamov Ka-32, Ka-27, and Ka-29

Hen Kamov Ka-15

Hen House Long-range early-warning ground radar.

Hermit Mil Mi-34

High Fix Radar of the Su-17 'Fitter-C' and of the early MiG-21.

High Lark Radar of the MiG-23 'Flogger'.

High Lune Height Finding radar used with SA-N-2 Guideline.

Hind Mil Mi-24

Hip Mil Mi-8 and Mi-17

Hog Kamov Ka-18

Hokum Kamov Ka-50

Homer Mil Mi-12

Hoodlum Kamov Ka-26 and Ka-126

Hook Mil Mi-6

Hoop Kamov Ka-22

Hoplite Mil Mi-2

Hormone Kamov Ka-25

Horse Yakovlev Yak-24

Hot Brick IR jammer.

Hotel submarine class

Hound Mil Mi-4

Jay Bird Small radar set, used by the MiG-25U Foxbat-C trainer

and the MiG-21MF.

Kangaroo AS-3

Kanin destroyer class

Kara cruiser class

Karen AS-10

Kashin destroyer class

Kazoo AS-18

Kedge AS-14

Kegler AS-12

Kelt AS-5

Kennel AS-1

Kerry AS-7

Kickback AS-16

Kildin (ship) class

Kilter AS-11

Kingfish AS-6

Kingpost AS-13 (?)

Kingbolt AS-13 (?)

Kipper AS-2

Kitchen AS-4

Koala AS-X-19

Kotlin SAM-carrying destroyer class

Kresta cruiser class

Krivak destroyer class

Krupny destroyer class

Krypton AS-17

Kuril carrier class

Kyle AS-9

Kynda cruiser class

Long Track Surveillance radar associated with the SA-4 and SA-6

Low Blow Radar associated with the SA-3

Madcap Antonov An-74

Madge Beriev Be-6

Maestro Yakovlev Yak-28

Magnet Yakovlev Yak-17

Magnum Yakovlev Yak-30

Maiden Sukhoi Su-11

Mail Beriev Be-12

Mainstay Ilyushin Il-76

Mallow Beriev Be-10

Mandrake Yakovlev Yak-25

Mangrove Yakovlev Yak-27

Mantis Yakovlev Tak-32

Mare Yakovlev Yak-14

Mark Yakovlev Yak-7U

Mascot Ilysuhin Il-28

Max Yakovlev Yak-18

May Ilyushin Il-38

Maya Aero L-29 Delfin

Mermaid Beriev Be-42

Midas Ilyushin Il-76

Midget Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15

Mink UT-2

Mode Beriev Be-8 ?

Mole Yakovlev Yak-14 or Beriev Be-8 ?

Mongol Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21

Moose Yakovlev Yak-11

Moss Tupolev Tu-126

Mote Beriev Be-2 / MDR-2

Moujik Sukhoi Su-7

Mug Chetverikov Che-2 / MBR-2

Mule Polikarpov Po-2

Mystic Myasischew M-17 / M-55

Nanuchka Missile boat class

Odd Rods IFF set with three antennas of increasing length.

Osa Missile boat class

Papa Submarine class.

Pat Hand Radar associated with SA-4 and SA-6.

Peel Group Radar for SA-N-1 Goa.

Pop Group Radar for SA-N-4.

Puff Ball Big surveillance radar, carried by the Tu-16.

Saber SS-25

Sandal SS-4

Saddler SS-7

Sagger AT-3

Salish SSC-2A

Samlet SSC-2B

Sandal SS-4

Sandbox SS-N-12

Sapwood SS-6

Sasin SS-8

Satan SS-18

Savage SS-13

Sawfly SS-N-6

Scaleboard SS-12

Scamp SS-14 plus road trailer.

Scapegoat SS-14

Scan Odd The 'Izumrud' radar of the all-wheater MiG-19 and

maybe the MiG-17P.

Scan Fix Early version of the Izumrud radar, fitted to

the MiG-17P.

Scan Three Radar of the Yak-25.

Scarp SS-9

Scrag SS-10

Scrooge SS-15

Scrubber SS-N-1

Scud SS-1

Scunner SS-1

Sego SS-11

Sepal SSC-1B cruise missile

Serb SS-N-5

Shaddock SS-N-3

Sheet Bend Radar associated with SSC-2B Samlet cruise missiles.

Shershen torpedo boat class.

Shilka ZSU-23-4 self-prolled AA gun platform

Short Horn Navigation and bombing radar. Fitted to

Tu-95 'Bear-H'

Short Horn Search radar of the Ka-25 'Hormone-A'

Shyster SS-3

Sibling SS-2

Side Net Heigth finding radar for SA-5.

Siren SS-N-7

Skean SS-5

Skip Spin Radar set of the Yak-28P 'Firebar',

Su-11 'Fishpot' and Su-15 'Flagon'.

Slim Net Missile-associated radar.

Slot Black Radar set of the MiG-29.

Snapper AT-1

Snark SS-N-4

Spandrel AT-5

Spigot AT-4

Spin Scan The R1L radar fitted to some MiG-21 versions.

Spiral AT-6

Spoon Rest Early-warning radar

Square Pair Target-tracking radar for SA-5.

Stiletto SS-19

Straight Flush Radar for SA-6.

Strela SS-N-1 (also Scrubber)

Styx SS-7, SS-N-2

Swatter AT-2

Swift Rod ILS system carried by many USSR aircraft.

Tall King Ground radar.

Top Sail Surveillance radar associated with SA-N-3 Goblet.

Try Add Ground radar associated with the ABM-1 'Galosh'

Twin Scan Radar of the Su-21 'Flagon-E'

Typhoon submarine class ?

Victor submarine class

Whisky submarine class. 'Whisky Twin Cylinder' with two

deck launchers for SS-N-3 cruise missiles, 'Whisky

Long Bin' with four internal launchers.

Yankee submarine class

Yo-yo Radar for SA-1 Guild systems.

Zulu submarine class

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