Talk:List of aircraft of the Royal Air Force

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On Wikipedia:WikiProject Aircraft I have started a proposal for how lists of aircraft could be rationalised on wikipedia. If you're interested, let's discuss it there -- Cabalamat 03:24, 1 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Which aircraft?[edit]

This page has massive problems. I'm afraid it looks as though someone has simply dumped a list of aircraft from somewhere, without any checking. I have neither the time nor knowledge to check up on all the aircraft listed here. However here are a few that never served with the RAF.

  • FE2a (out of s in 1916, before RAF formed)
  • Bloodhound (because it's a missile!)
  • Swordfish (Navy only according to Fairey Swordfish)
  • Bleriot XI (this is the plane in which Bleriot flew the channel in 1909 for heaven's sake - it was out of date in 1914, never mind 1918!)

I am pretty sure that the following never served with the RAF, because they were pre-WWI or early WWI and would have been outdated by 1918.

  • Bristol Prier
  • Bristol Boxkite

These require severe justification:

  • Dornier 22 (it was a German navy plane)
  • Junkers 52
  • Junkers 53
  • Koolhoven (Dutch, with no record of use by RAF)
  • Albatross (are we talking about the Grumman floatplane, the German WW1 fighter or the Russian trainer?)

I'm probably going to have to blank this and let is build of from the start, or reduce it only to aircraft that there is no dispute about, unless anyone has any sources for the list as a whole? DJ Clayworth 15:20, 2 Oct 2003 (UTC)

The Albatross, as in de Havilland Albatross. It does appear that the Bloodhound is the missile, as is the Thor. Those should indeed not be in there. When it comes to the RFC and RNAS types, some would regard those as not true RAF types, whilst others would view them from the point of view of grandfather rights. The Do 22 was in service with No 230 Squadron from June 1941 to February 1942. The Junkers was in service with No 173 Squadron in February 1943. The Koolhoven was in service with No 510 Squadron from May 1943 to December 1943.

There are a couple of missiles which slipped through, and there is some dispute about the early WWI types, but on the whole, you should find that the list holds up to scrutiny.

As for blanking the list, I would put that into the category of vandalism. There are some things that need to be done to it. I will remove the Bloodhound and Thor entries directly after finishing this post, but to wipe it out complete it totally unjustified. David Newton 14:10, 4 Oct 2003 (UTC)


Thanks for your reply, and about the Swordfish. I agree that a total blank would be pointless; I was going to leave everything that I could confirm.

If we are going to leave the WWI types in I think we ought to rename the page. We might consider 'List of aircraft of the British military', but then we should include Navy and Army types too. Or we could do our best to remove pre-1918 types, or list them separately. Does the 'Squadrons' book not give an indication of which types were out of service when the RAF was formed?

I also think that 'one off' planes like the Junkers should be listed separately. Presumably they were captured examples; a line of explanation would really help here, so that nobody thinks that the RAF took delivery of a squadron of ME 109s!. I'd love to see a little more information about each plane, such as at least the manufacturers name, and ideally date of entry. Could we also combine the different marks together: such as one line for Spitfire, with all the different marks listed?

Have you looked at List of military aircraft of the United States ? I find it a lot easier to understand.

Having said all that I appreciate the completeness of the entry. Well done for that. I know a fair bit about planes and there were several I had never heard of. DJ Clayworth 19:59, 4 Oct 2003 (UTC)

I'm aware that the additions I've made have done odd things to the alphapetic ordering. I'm not sure yet whether it would be better to change the order to follow the manufacturers name, or to change the name entries to "Lancaster (Avro)" etc. DJ Clayworth 16:42, 7 Oct 2003 (UTC)

I've made a little bit of a return to editing this page. I have slightly altered the nomenclature on some of the US aircraft. The reason I have done that is because the RAF does not use the US designations officially. The C-130 is commonly referred to as such, but in official RAF useage, it is the Hercules C3 or C5, or whichever other mark number is needed. The only exception to this rule is the C-17. There the RAF does use the USAF designation because at the moment, the aircraft are only leased. I would imagine that if and when they are bought, the designation will change to Globemaster C1.

I have done that on the theory that people who find this page are looking for the RAF designation, not the USAF one. David Newton 02:44, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Makes sense; the US desig (if common) would be a nice addition as a parenthetical note, as is done for the Canberra in the US list. Stan 15:41, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)
It's official. They're being bought. -N328KF 02:38, 2004 Jul 22 (UTC)

David, why 'pursuit' rather than the much more widely recognised 'fighter';? DJ Clayworth 14:47, 12 Nov 2003 (UTC)

Sporran: good choice to revert I think. My personal preference is for ordering by the most commonly used name e.g. 'De Havilland Mosquito' under M, because more people will remember the name 'Mosquito' than 'd Havilland'. Of course that does make the list look rather odd. If someone had time we could either 'embolden the main name so that it's easy to work out what the 'sort key' is, or rewrite each line as 'Mosquito, De Havilland'. I don't really like the second as there are already too many comma separated items on the lines.

DJ Clayworth 15:20, 1 Dec 2003 (UTC)

The bolding looks really ugly. Tannin

There are a number of anomalies still, relating to type name/number versus manufacturer name. The Vega Gull is in twice. The Avro 504 should be ordered as 504 (so before the A's). Sundry Morane types are listed under 'M'. Wasn't he Douglas 'Havoc' known as the 'Boston' in British service? And I agree that 'pursuit' is anomalous for a list of British-used aircraft. Rcingham

I found many references calling the HP V/1500 the Handley Page V/1500. That's obviously what it stood for, and is clearer about who the manufacturer was, so I suggest we leave it. DJ Clayworth 22:11, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)


The RFC / RNAS / RAF operated a single Albatros B.II. A demonstration aircraft that was in the UK when war broke out and was impressed. Mjroots (talk)

Curtiss T-32 Condor II

Should this aircraft be added to the list. Four were impressed into RAF service and received serials P5723 - P5726. None were operated and all scrapped at RAF Sealand. Mjroots (talk) 10:44, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

They are listed in the Civil Aircraft Impressed Into RAF Service 1939-1945 section. MilborneOne (talk) 14:53, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
Ah, missed that! OK, what about the Albatros? There isn't a section for Civil Aircraft Impressed Into RAF Service 1916-18. Mjroots (talk) 16:11, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

Royal Flying Corps / Royal Naval Air Service[edit]

I think the RFC/RNAS aircraft are badly treated on this page, down the bottom and labeled 'pre-RAF'. Any support from watchers for splitting them of as List of aircraft of the RFC, and List of aircraft of the RNAS.MilborneOne 22:25, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

No comments for six-months! somebody else has created List of aircraft of the Royal Naval Air Service so I have split of the List of aircraft of the Royal Flying Corps. MilborneOne 20:37, 19 July 2007 (UTC)


A list is only helpful alphabetically if one is looking for a name, not an aircraft. Aircraft should be sorted by type first, then kind of propulsion, and only later the official designation, which in the case of the RAF happens to be a name. As it is now, it is really hard to finds the right type if one happens to have forgotten the name.--Mrg3105 01:23, 17 October 2007 (UTC)01:22, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

I would suggest this list is OK as it is, if you do not know the name then the categories can be used, for example Category:British aircraft 1970-1979. The categories use the "function", like fighter or bomber and would be better to use if you have forgotten the name. MilborneOne 12:08, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

I'm of the opinion we should sort by the year it either entered service or first flew... (talk) 22:34, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

Not sure that would help the reader find information it is not one of the facts they would start with. MilborneOne (talk) 12:02, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

Article name[edit]

I think this article should be List of aircraft of the Royal Air Force like all the other related lists. Any objections if I moved it? MilborneOne (talk) 11:43, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

No comments after two weeks - article moved. MilborneOne (talk) 11:19, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Good move. BritishWatcher (talk) 11:23, 13 August 2009 (UTC)


I have been working on cleaning up the page, and completing the missing fields as well as adding proper references. I would like to make some major changes however and am looking for input on the following changes.

  1. delete versions column - it doesn't add any useful info and is unlikely to ever be complete. - done.
  2. amalgamate all the alphabetical tables into a single table, sorted by name, but which can also be resorted by manufacturer, etc - this will also reduce the overall page size as it gets rid of a bunch of overhead. - done.
  3. split service period into service entry and retirement fields (for easier searching). - done.
  4. make manufacturer names italic to downplay them versus the type names (bolding the type names was tried without success - am hoping this worked where that did not). ie Supermarine Spitfire - or it could be made dark grey or light blue, though that might be a bit heavy, page size-wise. - did but disputed as weird.
  5. incorporate impressed types into main table with a note to that effect on each entry. - needs to be more consistent with main table.
  6. add numbers used column. Might be hard to find or keep updated for some types but more useful than the variants field, and more in keeping with other aircraft of ... air force pages. - still to do.
  7. add prototypes. Lots of types but should be included for completeness
  8. split "ex-RFC & RNAS aircraft", "RAF FAA aircraft" and "Prototype aircraft" from main table.

NiD.29 (talk) 20:53, 16 May 2013 (UTC) NiD.29 (talk) 15:25, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

Although I dont have a problem with most of your changes proposed, and appreciate the work you have done so far making the manufacturer italic just didnt look right. Just a point about prototypes most aircraft were never actually operated by the Royal Air Force, they were operated by the builders for the Air Ministry, adding them into a list of RAF aircraft may be misleading. Not sure about adding the numbers used as it might be a step to far! and a lot of wartime production was re-directed to other air forces. Trying to help looking for missing dates! MilborneOne (talk) 15:52, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
One problem at a time, I'd like to see most of the dates before doing the numbers anyway, and would add them in a hidden field initially until enough are gathered to justify a column anyway.
No worries about the italics as it introduced an additional problem - namely while the bulk of RAF aircraft use a standard name formula where the manufacture's name can be downplayed, this isn't true for many ex-RFC/RNAS types and so didn't work well on that score.
The idea about prototypes came about because there are a few already in the list and they don't fit since service dates are not going to be available - ie - I am not convinced the Spiteful was accepted for operational use for instance, but it was included in the ref. Also by hiving it off, with an appropriate note that these were operated by the AM for evaluation and testing purposes and were not accepted by the RAF for operational use, will reduce the tendency for people to keep trying to add their favourite obscure prototype to the main list - this might be a new page that can be linked to from here.
Also wish I had more than one book as a ref tho - and one that covered RAF FAA (24-39) aircraft as they are missing refs, and something that covers the training gliders and drones, as those sections need expanding.

NiD.29 (talk) 15:35, 2 June 2013 (UTC)


I have just reverted the change origin for the Tornado and Typhoon from the UK to UK/GER/ITA and then EU, as far as I am aware all the RAF aircraft were built at Warton which as far as I am aware is in the UK. Also note that the EU is not a country and doesnt build aircraft. I will revert back to the status quo soon unless anybody has evidence that any of the RAFs current aircraft were not built at Warton. MilborneOne (talk) 12:07, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

The airframes used may have been built in the UK, but the engineering and development of the type was a multinational effort and this should be reflected in the nationality entry (likewise for all the multinational types). I agree about not using "EU" though - only those member states actually involved should be listed, and EU is much broader than the programs ever were. NiD.29 (talk) 05:50, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
OK but it is not an entry for nationality but "origin" and the origin is where the aircraft came from which in this case is Warton in the UK, nearly every modern aircraft is a multi-national effort and if we had a flag for every supplier to an aircraft it would be a bit daft. Nearly all the Airbus wings, a large percentage of the value of the aircraft, are made in Broughton but I dont think anybody would stick a union jack next to every Airbus. So sorry NiD.29 I have to disagree with you. MilborneOne (talk) 20:34, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
Origin of the design, as well as the airframe, and no I didn't propose flags for every single supplier - only the primary partners.NiD.29 (talk) 23:08, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
OK but that is not standard practice as far as I am aware, or hasnt been on these pages for a long time. I could plenty of examples of types that dont show the origin of the design, in fact most dont. Bell Griffin is built in Canada but could be considered an American design, Canadair Sabre could be considered American not Canadian, Westland Sea King a Yeovil product but an American design, the same as Wessex, Sioux, Dragonfly and Whirlwind, Chipmunk built at Chester but could be considered a Canadian design originally, Jaguar could be considered an anglo-french design, Shorts Tucano could be considered a Brazilian design, Slingsby Firefly could be considered a French design, Gazelle and Puma could be considered French design, so what makes Typhoon/Tornado built at Warton an exception. MilborneOne (talk) 17:31, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
Good point, and some should be - I thought the Jaguar was listed as both, most of the Sikorsky's and the Tucano underwent detail redesign to meet British specs (to varying degrees), as did the Chipmunk (the UK Chipmunks had little interchangeable with the Canadian ones - hence the anti-spin strakes the Canadian ones didn't need), Gazelle and Puma are French, unsure why they'd be listed as British. No clue as the the Firefly's provenance so can't comment on that and the Canadair Sabre was redesigned to accept a Canadian engine, as the North Star was (and I doubt anyone would suggest an American flag for the North Star despite being a modified C-54). The Bell Griffin is both US and Canada (I understand the development work for that model took place in Canada but the original design was American, as is the company). The point is that the UK was not the sole developer of the Tornadoes and Typhoons it flies - the versions they bought have a significant portion of the final development done in the other major partner countries whereas with the others the final British development resulted in significant changes that made them effectively (and uniquely) British, with little other than the general shape in common with the original foreign design.
All that said, it is preferable and neater to have just one flag - but then the arguments start as to whose flag - easier to put them all in. Perhaps more opinions than just ours should be solicited?NiD.29 (talk) 00:08, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
You can perhaps understand but may not agree why one flag has normally been used to indicate the source of the aircraft, that is where they are actually built, if you look at the registration documents for these type of aircraft on the British CAA for example they clearly use the Foo-built as the place of origin. I will raise it at project when I get some time, thanks. MilborneOne (talk) 12:34, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
Good enough - it isn't world ending, it looks better and there is a consistent logic behind it.NiD.29 (talk) 23:01, 5 September 2013 (UTC)

Style guidance[edit]

I have been reformatting this list along the lines set out at WP:AVILIST. This has led to some suggested changes to the guidelines. The discussion is here. — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 11:44, 24 November 2015 (UTC)