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Why Letter "K" In KC-135?  
User currently offlinehaynflyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2008, 148 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 10 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 7430 times:

Anyone know why the letter "K" is used to designate a tanker? Most other letters seem to make sense but why "K"?


A Attack
B Bomber
C Cargo/transport
D Drone control
E Special electronics
F Fighter
K Tanker
H Helicopter
L Cold weather operations
M Missile capability
O Observation
P Patrol
R Reconnaissance
S Antisubmarine
T Trainer
U Utility
V Vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL)/short takeoff and landing (STOL)
X Research
V Staff transport
W Weather reconnaissance


"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 31
Reply 1, posted (2 years 10 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 7425 times:

T was already taken ?

User currently offlineHaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2108 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (2 years 10 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 7382 times:

Presumably because T for Trainer was already long in use, and because K was one of the few letters available. K as a mission designator (first letter left of the dash) was also initially reserved for tankers but:

"No designations were ever assigned in the K-series (all tankers were derivatives of other aircraft), which is presumably the reason why the "K" basic mission symbol was dropped."

but it obviously remains in use as a modified mission designator or the prefix letter.

http://www.designation-systems.net/usmilav/aircraft.html

[Edited 2011-11-20 13:18:12]


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User currently offlineJBo From Sweden, joined Jan 2005, 2343 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 10 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 7235 times:

Plus there is a 'K' in "TanKer" so at least it's a letter from the word it stands for and not a completely random assignment.


I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.
User currently offlinemoose135 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2323 posts, RR: 10
Reply 4, posted (2 years 10 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 7119 times:

K because it's a Kool jet!  


KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
User currently offlineflood From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 1381 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (2 years 10 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 7096 times:

Maybe they took the K from Kerosene.

User currently offlinenomadd22 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1866 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (2 years 10 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 6913 times:

Because tankermen are invariably Kranky ol Koots?


Andy Goetsch
User currently offlineptrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3944 posts, RR: 18
Reply 7, posted (2 years 10 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 6752 times:

Quoting flood (Reply 6):
Maybe they took the K from Kerosene.

My thought as well.



The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlineTGIF From Sweden, joined Apr 2008, 276 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 6125 times:

Y should perhaps be added to the list (e.g. YF-22).
B.t.w, what's the difference between Y and X?

Quoting haynflyer (Thread starter):
K Tanker
Quoting haynflyer (Thread starter):
C Cargo/transport

Putting two of the letters to gether, you show that the A/C have multiple capabilities, right? e.g. the KC-135 can both be used as a transporter and a tanker?

Quoting haynflyer (Thread starter):
R Reconnaissance
S Antisubmarine

Then what's the deal with the SR-71?
I'm guessing the 'S' isn't for Anti submarine here, but rather Surveillance. Could there be several uses of the letter 'S'?


User currently offlinerwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2352 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 6115 times:
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Quoting TGIF (Reply 10):
Y should perhaps be added to the list (e.g. YF-22).
B.t.w, what's the difference between Y and X?

X should be experimental, Y should be prototype. Both are misused with distressing frequency. The XF-35 and XF-36 should have been Y's, the X-26A (basically a stock Schweizer SGS 2-32) has been named the most inappropriate use of "X" ever. The designations often have a political purpose as well (F/A-18).

Quoting TGIF (Reply 10):
Putting two of the letters to gether, you show that the A/C have multiple capabilities, right? e.g. the KC-135 can both be used as a transporter and a tanker?

That can be, or two letters can indicate a status (X or Y for example are a status, not a mission).

Quoting TGIF (Reply 10):
Then what's the deal with the SR-71?
I'm guessing the 'S' isn't for Anti submarine here, but rather Surveillance. Could there be several uses of the letter 'S'?

It was supposed to be "RS-12" (reconnaissance/strike), with consider given to renaming it RS-71 (to follow the proposed RS-70 version of the XB-70 Valkyrie). Curtis LeMay lobbied to have that changed to "strategic reconnaissance ", and while he was losing that fight internally in the USAF, convinced Lyndon Johnson’s speech writers to make the change. So Johnson gave a speech calling it the SR-71, and the USF dutifully changed all the documentation from R-12 to SR-71...


User currently offlineSpacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 2930 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 6063 times:

Quoting rwessel (Reply 11):
The XF-35 and XF-36 should have been Y's,

No way. Those were technology demonstrators, and nowhere near what the actual production craft was to be. Totally appropriate use of the X in that case.



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User currently offlineTGIF From Sweden, joined Apr 2008, 276 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 6024 times:

Quoting rwessel (Reply 11):
The XF-35 and XF-36 should have been Y's, the X-26A (basically a stock Schweizer SGS 2-32) has been named the most inappropriate use of "X" ever. The designations often have a political purpose as well (F/A-18).

Thanks for the thurough explanation, but you mean X-32 right?

I guess the F-117 can be added to the list of A/C with a "political purpose" designation.


User currently offlineHaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2108 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 5983 times:

Quoting TGIF (Reply 13):
I guess the F-117 can be added to the list of A/C with a "political purpose" designation

Not quite.. maybe the number being out of sequence but the USAF sometimes calls Tactical Bombers - fighters... as in the case of the F-111. Since the F-117 first flew in 1977 it should have been the F-19 sequentially.. we already had the YF-16 and YF-17 and presumably F-18 was already in production...and we did get the F-20 Tigershark and F-21 Kfir.



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User currently offlineSpacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 2930 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 5963 times:

The F-117 was in fact sequential though, with YF-112 through -116 used for Soviet aircraft tested by the USAF, though they skilled the YF-115 for some reason.


The last of the famous international playboys
User currently offlineHaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2108 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 5926 times:

Quoting Spacepope (Reply 15):
The F-117 was in fact sequential though, with YF-112 through -116 used for Soviet aircraft tested by the USAF, though they skilled the YF-115 for some reason.

I knew we used some post 111 numbers for Soviet aircraft owned by the USAF, but by the time the F-117 flew we had already been in the 'teen' fighters for some time.. the F-14 and 15 flying in the early 70's and the F-16 and 18 shortly thereafter. I'm not arguing the point as much as asking where the fault in my logic is if you're correct.



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User currently offlinerwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2352 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 5908 times:
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Quoting Spacepope (Reply 12):
No way. Those were technology demonstrators, and nowhere near what the actual production craft was to be. Totally appropriate use of the X in that case.

I'd disagree - there was no flight research involved here (or very little). These were very early prototypes, and yes, not particularly representative of the final versions, but that's the nature of early prototypes. Compare the YF-16 and YF-17s to the final production version for a similar situation. It made for a good marketing slogan: "The battle of the X planes!"

Another example of oddness, the two prototypes B-52s: The XB-52 and the YB-52. Basically identical airframes (different flight test gear).

Quoting TGIF (Reply 13):
Thanks for the thurough explanation, but you mean X-32 right?

Yes, the JSF prototypes were the X-32 and X-35. Not sure where I got X-36 from.


User currently offlinefsnuffer From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 252 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 5714 times:

Quoting TGIF (Reply 10):
Then what's the deal with the SR-71?
I'm guessing the 'S' isn't for Anti submarine here, but rather Surveillance. Could there be several uses of the letter 'S'?

From what I have heard the SR-71 was originally the RS-71 but when Lyndon Johnson announced its existence he flipped the letters by mistake and the AF did not want to "correct" the Commander in Chief so they just renamed it the SR-71. I have no sources for this but that is the urban legend.


User currently offlineHaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2108 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 5659 times:

Quoting fsnuffer (Reply 18):
From what I have heard the SR-71 was originally the RS-71 but when Lyndon Johnson announced its existence he flipped the letters by mistake and the AF did not want to "correct" the Commander in Chief so they just renamed it the SR-71. I have no sources for this but that is the urban legend.

I would read the whole thread before commenting...  
Quoting rwessel (Reply 11):
It was supposed to be "RS-12" (reconnaissance/strike), with consider given to renaming it RS-71 (to follow the proposed RS-70 version of the XB-70 Valkyrie). Curtis LeMay lobbied to have that changed to "strategic reconnaissance ", and while he was losing that fight internally in the USAF, convinced Lyndon Johnson’s speech writers to make the change. So Johnson gave a speech calling it the SR-71, and the USF dutifully changed all the documentation from R-12 to SR-71...



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