Dash 80 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 309 posts, RR: 2 Reply 1, posted (10 years 8 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 16138 times:
ding, ding, ding, ding, ding....Give that man a cigar!!
H Search and Rescue (SAR)
I [not used]
J Test - Temporary
N Test - Permanent
Q Drone and Target
As for the F-117 issue, I have heard many variations on this debate including one from my father who worked on the Stealth Fighter team when it was a black op in the Nevada desert. Maybe someone else can better answer this question, though.
Jwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 20 Reply 2, posted (10 years 8 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 16123 times:
The logical designation for the F-117 would be A-117 (not B, which is typically reserved for medium and heavy bombers).
AFAIK the A-10 was the last USAF model to receive the designation, the A-12 the last USN model (and that one was cancelled, A-7 was the last to reach production).
F is used for multi-role aircraft as well, so F-117 might have been given to fool people into thinking it has an air defense role as well (or who knows, maybe that was indeed the plan at the time but it didn't work).
Boeingnut From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 402 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (10 years 8 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 16074 times:
Supposedly the F-117 was given the F designation to fool would-be Soviet spies into thinking that the Nighthawk was going to be some form of air-to-air fighter, meant to take out the Soviet equiv. of the AWACS birds
Excuse me, but what does God need with a starship?
Jwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 20 Reply 4, posted (10 years 8 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 16017 times:
As demonstrated in Tom Clancy's "Red Storm Rising" and other books of the time.
Some even went as far as to place them on aircraft carriers or airlifting them in C-5s (giving rise to all kinds of wild rumours about the aircraft having detachable wings and being carrier capable).
2912n From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 2013 posts, RR: 8 Reply 9, posted (10 years 8 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 15907 times:
The SR was for Strategic Recon.
The U-2 designation stems from when it was a super secret program. The U being for utility. Just something to throw people off a little bit. For a while the U-2 was the TR-1. The TR being "Tactical Recon" to go with the SR designation, but that faded pretty quickly and the U-2 designation came back.