Broke From United States of America, joined Apr 2002, 1322 posts, RR: 3 Posted (10 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2550 times:
Currently, the U. S. Military uses an (almost) standard designation system for their aircraft no matter what service the aircraft is flown by.
This current designation system was adopted in 1962.
Prior to that there were 3 different designation systems; one used by the Air Force (which was adopted in 1947 when the Air Force became an independent service), one by the Army (this was developed when the Army took over the procurement of its own aircraft sometime after 1947), and one used by the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard, which had been around since the 1920's.
If anyone is interested, I can supply the pre and post 1962 designations for all U. S. Military Aircraft of that period. It's a pretty big list.
I know that often people tend to get these mixed up and I thought a copy of a standard reference might be helpful.
My source is William Green's "Observer's Book of Aircraft", the 1963 edition.
I think Janes also published a similar cross reference.