Talk:British military aircraft designation systems

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Hi, I don't get the "V" part. Why on earth V? Does a "V" have a some special meaning pertaining to rapid evolution? Well this might be a silly question for a native speaker but...

Another question is about K. I read somewhere K came from Kerosene (or Kerosine, if you prefer), which is fuel for jet engines. Is this right?

Thanks in advance, marsian 12:34, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

I presume you mean the "V" as in V Bombers - I dont think it has a meaning the three aircraft all had names beginning with V so they were collectively called the V Bombers. As far as I know you are right the British just re-used the American practice of using "K" for tankers. MilborneOne 12:48, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Oh, sorry! I somehow missed the link to V Bomber... Thanks MilborneOne. --marsian 14:14, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
The UK 'K' prefix more likely came from 'tanKer'. Ian Dunster (talk) 11:04, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Which is probably where the US prefix came from too :) - BillCJ (talk) 11:40, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
I've always guessed it was "K" for "kerosene" but I don't think I've seen any documented derivation for it. Letdorf (talk) 23:56, 14 November 2008 (UTC).
Kerosene is the general/formulaic name for jet fuel. I don't know about now, but the UK term for kerosene back then was paraffin, hence Jet Paraffin.

Are they rules or aren't they?[edit]

This line is confusing:

One rule to the above system is that none of the rules are not hard and fast.

This makes no sense, I presume it means the rules are not always applied. Could someone clear this up!? QueenCake (talk) 20:19, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

In typical British fashion, they are and they aren't. They are applied in a logical if-sometimes inconsistent fashion. In other words, sometimes there are exceptions.
BTW, I suspect the V-bombers names were suggested by the V-shaped wing planforms, and they just chose names for them all beginning with the letter 'V'.

Use of dot[edit]

There are two aspects to this.

One is that, in all books I have, the designations are seen as e.g. B.Mk 1, whereas the article consistently uses e.g. B Mk. 1. The dot seems to me to be misplaced, but the use is so consistent that it puts myself in doubt. Anyway in all references I have always found that Mk is separated from the number by a mere space, without a dot.

The second aspect is that, in recent years, the RAF seems to have abolished everything that stood between the mission and the number, as in Tornado F3. Should the article not reflect that? I propose a section on this recent development as well as its repercussions on extant models.

What do you say? SrAtoz (talk) 17:04, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

We had a long discussion on this some time ago (cant remember where) have a look at Wikipedia:WikiProject Aviation/Style guide/Naming (British military aircraft) which deals with dots and stuff. MilborneOne (talk) 17:08, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
Which books use the B.Mk 1 format (mine - e.g. RAF Yearbooks don't) ? How do they show role prefixes such as "HCC" and "B(K)" ? This article does refer to different formats (e.g. "Hercules C3") - perhaps it should be clearer about this being the current format used officially, but (unless there's an RS that discusses designation formats) there's a limit to what can be said without it becoming OR. DexDor (talk) 15:18, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
Though I am very sure, I will go check and bring references. You are right, though, in that the sources do differ regarding the use of spaces and of the dot. Regarding the recent change, there is a mid-2000s issue of AIR International (will check which) that brings a story on the RAF deciding that, from that day onwards, spaces and dots would be abolished, so we can put our fingers on the precise cutoff date. All of this is pending checks, of course. Be right back after a while. Cheers. SrAtoz (talk) 13:00, 25 July 2011 (UTC)
As promised, I am back. It seems that the references vary wildly in their representation of dots and marks. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation, 1989 single-volume edition, page 424, refers to Gloster's Javelins and Meteors as F(AW).5, F(AW).9, F.1, F.3, T.7, and so on, consistently omitting the Mk. The Complete Book of Fighters, by William Green and Gordon Swanborough, (c) 1994, page 291, refers to the Hunter F Mk 1, F Mk 4 and F Mk 6 (no dots whatsoever). Spitfire: the History, by Eric Morgan and Edward Shacklady, 2000 edition, page 478, refers to Spitfire F Mk 22 and then to F22. Fighter Aircraft of the World, by John W.R. Taylor, 1962, page 32, mentions the de Havilland Sea Venom F. (A.W.) Mk. 53, though one cannot be very sure of the spaces in its typography. Its page 38 also mentions the E.E. Lightning F. Mk. 1A (with spaces for sure), but page 50 is on the Sea Fury F.B.11 (exactly like this). In contrast, the same Author's Bomber Aircraft of the World, 1962, has one page on the Vickers Valiant B. (K) Mk. 1, just like this. McDonnell F-4 Phantom: Spirit in the Skies, ed. by Jon Lake and David Donald, 2002 edition, pages 62-69 and 260, is consistent in mentioning the Buccaneer S.Mk 2 and the Phantom FG.Mk 1 and FGR.Mk 2. Bill Gunston's Harrier (in the Aviation Fact File: Modern Fighting Aircraft series), page 14, has the Harrier GR Mk 3 whereas, throughout the book, it is GR.1, GR.3, T.4 and Sea Harrier FRS.1 otherwise. AIR Enthusiast and AIR International magazines, in all issues I have looked up, shorten designations to Vampire FB.9 and Wyvern TF.1. The Royal Air Force Yearbook 1995, page 7, refers to Tornado GR1; page 16, to Harrier GR7.
The statements I made were supposedly supported by my Brazilian references, which are in fact translations from English originals by the likes of Bill Gunston, Michael Taylor et alii. I take it that they will not serve as references here. Still, there is one such encyclopedia (I cannot name the original, for which I am sorry, but it was published either by Aerospace or by Pilot Press in the mid-80s) where the nomenclature is consistent as in Harrier GR.Mk 3. I believe this to have been the major influence on the way I write RAF aircraft names. It may have been like this in the original, but then it could have been the local translator's or editor's preference.
In short: consistency is at a premium. SrAtoz (talk) 10:34, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Anyway I have checked Wikipedia:WikiProject Aviation/Style guide/Naming (British military aircraft) as suggested. From there I see that B Mk.1 should be avoided. Therefore should this article not be edited for consistency with WP? Also, the Westland Lynx article departs from the style guide's recommendations too. 11:11, 30 July 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by SrAtoz (talkcontribs)
My _suspician_ is that extra dots in role prefixes (e.g. what I call the R.P.2 and RP.Mk 2 formats) may be in books because a "we use dots in abbreviations" rule has been applied incorrectly during editting (role prefixes are codes - not abbreviations). As there are inconsistent formats used in many (otherwise RS) sources it's best to use sources that are both official and copy-edited (e.g. RAF Yearbooks). According to BRITMIL (which I wrote by the way) the RP.2 format is acceptable for Lynx as long as the article uses it consistently. The contraction of Mark should be Mk (i.e. no dot) - RAF Yearbooks and WP:ABBR agree on this. This particular article is about the designations themselves so it may well refer to formats that we'd otherwise discourage in WP. DexDor (talk) 21:47, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
I always thought that books wrote RP.Mk 2 with that dot to separate the prefix from the Mk letters. That makes two of us speculating on editors' reasons... Regarding the Lynx page, I was not referring to the RP.2 format (which I have always found a fine shortening), but to instances down the page where we see Mk.21A instead of Mk 21A. You will see that Wikipedia:WikiProject Aviation/Style guide/Naming (British_military_aircraft) takes the dot in Mk. as acceptable but not preferred. Likewise in this article we are discussing here, I do think your last statement missed the point somewhat. The article is about the names, the prefixes and the numbers, but not really about the formats. WP should be consistent in that the page teaching the correct names (this one) should match the page teaching the recommended format (that one). On this one page here, and on the matter of dots alone, I believe that the formats should be used so as to set a consistent example for the reader, never having it any other way but the chosen way. I believe that we even have consensus on the preferred usage between "dots" and "no dots". The only real discrepancy I see is sometimes using Mk. and sometimes Mk here, when the former is discouraged and the article is not commenting on the alternate usage of dots/no dots.
To put it shortly, I should think that, between Mk. and Mk, the article should adopt only one, regardless of which one (and I would add that both WP and I prefer the second one, but this is beside the point). Curiously enough, by now I have departed from my main points when creating this section, but I also see that we managed to pinpoint the issue where consensus and referencing can both be found. SrAtoz (talk) 01:12, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
I've changed this article from mostly "Mk." to mostly "Mk". Lynx Mk.21A etc are manufacturers designations (they apply only to export variants); they appear to be used consistently (and also consistently with Westland Sea King) - anyway they're outside the scope of this article. DexDor (talk) 07:43, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
Strictly speaking they are part of this scheme, they may be allocated by the manufacturer but as part of the standard government naming system. MilborneOne (talk) 11:23, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
In hindsight I think I was a bit rude in my last entry (31 July, 01:12), for which I apologise; that was not the intent. Maybe I have made too much of a hassle ("much ado about nothing")? But in the end I must thank you both for putting up and for caring for the article. After all, if there is one thing that everyone seems always to agree on, it is that we are all only aiming to improve WP. SrAtoz (talk) 14:29, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
M1 - Can you clarify your statement that manufacturers designations such as Lynx Mk.21A "are part of this scheme" ? For example Hawk 128 (aka Hawk Mk. 128) is the manufacturers designation for the aircraft that has service designation Hawk T2 (aka Hawk T Mk 2). A manufacturer may choose to avoid mark numbers that might cause confusion with service designations, but I don't think that makes it part of the same scheme. DexDor (talk) 19:13, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
OK but I suspect that the designation scheme (like starting from 20 and the like) came out of the Ministry of Supply/Ministry of Aircraft Production/MoD(PE) instructions, but unless I can find a source it is only speculation (but I am sure I have seen it somewhere). MilborneOne (talk) 19:44, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Gordon who?[edit]

The references section mentions articles by a certain Gordon Wansbrough. That is an unlikely coincidence, because one major Author in the field of military aircraft is Gordon Swanborough. Is it a coincidence? Do we have a typo here? SrAtoz (talk) 01:18, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

It appears that Gordon Wansbrough-White is actually an author who has written about aircraft naming [1]. Letdorf (talk) 22:32, 31 July 2011 (UTC).