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      Russian and Soviet NATO Designations

      Russian names of aircraft are of course originally written in the Cyrillic alphabet, and have to be transcripted. Transcriptions can be quite different, largely dependent on the language of the reader, to reflect pronunciation; eg. Gorbatsjov and Gorbachew.

      Always remember that the aircraft that you are looking for might be in the list under Y instead of J, V instead of W, E instead of 'Ye', 'TCh' instead of 'Ch', 'Sj' instead of 'Sh', or the other way around...

      Until recently, there was enormous confusion, because many designations were kept secret and information flow was slow. The assigning of NATO codenames to aircraft was done for good reason. Sufficiently old books will claim that the "Foxbat" is the 'MiG-23', "Faceplate" is the 'MiG-21', or that "Backfin" was in production as the 'Yak-42'. A few times detailled three-view drawings of non-existing aircraft have been published. And often, even if a general designation of the aircraft is known, different versions with different engines may not be distinguished.

      To complicate things even more, many design bureaus assign designations very similar to the designations applied by the armed forces, e.g. Tu-95 and Tu-20, or even duplicate designations. By which designation an aircraft is known in the West is often a matter of coincidence. The assigned NATO codenames help clearing this up and clarify changes.


      Before WWII

      Before WWII, aircraft were given designations consisting of a function letter and a sequential number. A function letter system is listed here:

      A Autogyro ARK Arctic Coastal Recce B Bomber (Bombar) BB Short-range bomber Bsh Armoured attacker DAR Long-range arctic recce DB Long-range bomber DI 2-seater fighter DIS Twin engined escort fighter I Interceptor (Istrebitel) I/PI Single seat fighter KOR Ship-borne recce M Seaplane MA Amphibian MBR Short-range maritime recce MDR Long-range maritime recce MI Fighter seaplane MK Armoured seaplane MP Transport seaplane MR Reconnaisance seaplane MTB Maritime heavy bomber MU Trainer seaplane P Mailplane PB Dive bomber PL Transport PS Mail / passenger G Paratroop transport R Reconnaissance ROM Open sea recce SB High speed bomber Sch Low level attacker SchR Attack fighter-recce SPB Fast dive bomber TB Heavy bomber TSh Heavy attack fighter U Primary trainer UT Basic trainer (Uchebnotrenirovochny) UTI Fighter trainer VI High altitude fighter VIT Assaulter VT Supervised design Yu Junkers aircraft V Airship

      After WWII

      The basics of the current designation system are very simple. Aircraft are known by the acronym for their design bureau, and a sequential number. The number is odd for fighters and types similar to fighters, and even for other aircraft. The definition of a 'fighter' is rather vague and includes such as the Su-25 'Frogfoot' attack aircraft.

      Complication arise because of the way in which subtypes are designated. Letters are appended to the basic designation, which indicate the type of modification. There is no fixed sequence, and a letter may have another meaning depending on the designation.

      NATO Codenames

              Acrid	      AA-6     Bisnovat R-40 
              Akula         Submarine Class
              Alpha         Submarine Class
              Alamo	      AA-10    SARH/IR/ARH Air-to-Air Missle(R-27)
              Alkali	      AA-1     Tomashevitch K-5
              Amos	      AA-9     Vympel K-33        (R-33)
              Anab	      AA-3     Bisnovat K-8       (R-8, R-98)
              Apex	      AA-7     Vympel K-23        (R-23)
              Aphid	      AA-8     Bisnovat R-60
              Archer	      AA-11    Molniya            (R-73)
              Ash	      AA-5     Bisnovat K-80      (R-4)
              Atoll	      AA-2     Vympel K-13        (R-3)
              Awl	      AA-4     Mikoyan K-9
                            AA-12                       (R-77)
              Backfin       Tupolev Tu-98
              Backfire      Tupolev Tu-22M / Tu-26
              Back Net      Surveillance radar for SA-5.
              Badger	      Tupolev Tu-16
              Band Stand    Radar associated with SS-N-7.
              Bank	      North American B-25 Mitchell
              Barge	      Tupolev Tu-85
              Bark	      Ilysuhin Il-2
              Bar Lock      Surveillance radar for SA-5.
              Bat	      Tupolev Tu-2 and Tu-6
              Beagle	      Ilyushin Il-28
              Bear	      Tupolev Tu-20, Tu-95 and Tu-142
              Beast	      Ilyushin Il-10
              Bee Hind      Gun laying radar for the tail guns of the Tu-95 'Bear'.
              Big Bulge     Ocean Surface Surveilance Radar carried by the 'Bear-D'.
              Big Bulge     Radar fitted to the Ka-25 'Hormone-B'.
              Big Nose      AI Radar of the Tu-28P 'Fiddler'Interceptor
              Bison	      Myasichew M-4 Bomber
              Blackjack     Tupolev Tu-160 Bomber
              Blinder       Tupolev Tu-22 Bomber/ Tu-105 
              Blowlamp      Ilyushin Il-54
              Bob	      Ilyushin Il-4
              Boot	      Tupolev Tu-91
              Bosun	      Tupolev Tu-14 / Tu-89
              Bounder       Myasichew M-50
              Box Tail      Tail warning radar fitted to the Tu-95 and the Tu-22M 
                            'Backfire', replacing 'Bee Hind'.
              Brawny	      Ilyushin Il-40
              Brewer	      Yakovlev Yak-28
              Broussard     Yakovlev Yak-28 (Renamed Brewer)
              Buck	      Petlyakov Pe-2
              Bull	      Tupolev Tu-4 and Tu-80
              Butcher       Tupolev Tu-82
              Cab	      Lisunov Li-2
              Camber	      Ilyushin Il-86
              Camel	      Tupolev Tu-104
              Camp	      Antonov An-8
              Candid	      Ilyushin Il-76
              Careless      Tupolev Tu-154
              Cart	      Tupolev Tu-70
              Cat House     Radar associated with ABM-1.
              Cash	      Antonov An-28
              Cat	      Antonov An-10
              Charger       Tupolev Tu-144
              Charlie       Submarine class.
              Clam	      Ilyushin Il-18, renamed Coot
              Clam Pipe     Nose radar fitted to the Tu-95MS Bear-H
              Clank	      Antonov An-30
              Classic       Ilyushin Il-62
              Cleat	      Tupolev Tu-114
              Cline	      Antonov An-32
              Clobber       Yakovlev Yak-42
              Clod	      Antonov An-14
              Clog	      Antonov An-28 (?)
              Coach	      Ilysuhin Il-12
              Coaler	      Antonov An-72
              Cock	      Antonov An-22
              Codling       Yakovlev Yak-40
              Coke	      Antonov An-24
              Colt	      Antonov An-2
              Condor	      Antonov An-124
              Cooker	      Tupolev Tu-110
              Cookpot       Tupolev Tu-124
              Coot	      Ilyushin Il-18 and Il-20
              Cork	      Yakovlev Yak-16
              Cossack       Antonov An-225
              Crate	      Ilyushin Il-14
              Creek	      Yakovlev Yak-12
              Crib	      Yakovlev Yak-6 and Yak-8
              Crow	      Yakovlev Yak-10 and Yak-12
              Crown Drum    Nose radar of the Tu-95 'Bear-B'
              Crusty	      Tupolev Tu-134
              Cub	      Antonov An-10 and An-12
              Cuff	      Beriev Be-30
              Curl	      Antonov An-26
              Delta	      submarine class
              Dog House     Medium range early-warning ground radar for ABM-1.
              Down Beat     Nose radar of the Tu-95 'Bear-G' and Tu-22M 'Backfire'.
              Echo	      Submarine class.
              Faceplate     Mikoyan-Gurevich E-2A
              Fagot	      Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 Fighter
              Faithless     Mikoyan-Gurevich Ye-231
              Falcon	      Mikoyan-gurevich MiG-15, renamed Fagot
              Fang	      Lavochkin La-11
              Fan Song      Radar associated with the SA-2 'Guideline'
              Fantail       Lavockhin La-15
              Fantan	      Nanchang Q-5
              Fargo	      Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-9 Fighter
              Farmer	      Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-19 Fighter
              Feather       Yakovlev Yak-15 and Yak-17 Fighter
              Fencer	      Sukhoi Su-24 Fighter/Bomber
              Fiddler       Tupolev Tu-28
              Fin	      Lavochkin La-7 Fighter
              Finback       Shenyang F-8 II
              Firebar       Yakovlev Yak-28
              Fire Can      Radar used with 57mm and 85mm AAA.
              Fishbed       Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fighter
              Fishpot       Sukhoi Su-9 and Su-11
              Fitter	      Sukhoi Su-7, Su-17, Su-20 and Su-22 Fighter/Bomber
              Flagon	      Sukhoi Su-15 and Su-21
              Flanker       Sukhoi Su-27 Fighter
              Flap Wheel    Gun laying radar for 130mm AAA.
              Flash Dance   Radar of the MiG-31.
              Flashlight    Yakovlev Yak-25 and Yak-27
              Flat Face     Radar used with SA-3 and SA-5.
              Flat Jack     Radar radome of the Tu-126 'Moss'. AEW
              Flipper       Mikoyan-Gurevich Ye-152
              Flogger       Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 and MiG-27 Fighter / Attack-Bomber
              Flora	      Yakovlev Yak-23
              Forger	      Yakovlev Yak-38 VTOL Fighter
              Foxbat	      Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 Fighter/Interceptor/Recon
              Fox Fire      Radar of the MiG-25 Foxbat-A
              Foxhound      Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-31 Interceptor development of MIG-25
              Foxtrot       Submarine Class
              Frank	      Yakovlev Yak-9
              Fred	      Bell P-63 Kingcobra Fighter
              Freehand      Yakovlev Yak-36
              Freestyle     Yakovlev Yak-141 Fighter(Not Produced)
              Fresco	      Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 Fighter
              Fritz	      Lavochkin La-9 Fighter
              Frog	      artillery rocket
              Frogfoot      Sukhoi Su-25 Ground Attack
              Frosty	      Tupolev Tu-10
              Fulcrum       Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 Fighter
              Gadfly	      SA-11, SA-N-7
              Gainful       SA-6
              Ganef	      SA-4
              Galosh	      ABM-1
              Gammon	      SA-5
              Gaskin	      SA-9
              Gauntlet      SA-15, SA-N-9
              Gazelle       ABM-3
              Gecko	      SA-8, SA-N-4
              Giant	      SA-12B
              Gimlet	      SA-16
              Gladiator     SA-12A
              Goa	      SA-3, SA-N-1
              Goblet	      SA-N-3
              Golf	      submarine class
              Gopher	      SA-13
              Grail	      SA-7
              Gremlin       SA-14
              Griffon       SA-5 (renamed Gammon)
              Grisha	      corvette class
              Grisom	      SA-19, SA-N-11
              Grumble       SA-10, SA-N-6
              Guideline     SA-2, SA-N-2
              Guild	      SA-1
              Gun Dish      Gun-laying radar for ZSU-23-4 and ZSU-52-2 AAA sets.
              Halo	      Mil Mi-26
              Hare	      Mil Mi-1
              Harke	      Mil Mi-10
              Harp	      Kamov Ka-20
              Harp	      missile ?
              Hat	      Kamov Ka-10 
              Havoc	      Mil Mi-28
              Haze	      Mil Mi-14
              Head Light    Radar for SA-N-3 Goblet
              Head Net      Shipboard surveillance radar
              Helix	      Kamov Ka-32, Ka-27, and Ka-29
              Hen	      Kamov Ka-15
              Hen House     Long-range early-warning ground radar.
              Hermit	      Mil Mi-34
              High Fix      Radar of the Su-17 'Fitter-C' and of the early MiG-21.
              High Lark     Radar of the MiG-23 'Flogger'.
              High Lune     Height Finding radar used with SA-N-2 Guideline.
              Hind	      Mil Mi-24 Attack Helo
              Hip	      Mil Mi-8 and Mi-17 Helo
              Hog	      Kamov Ka-18
              Hokum	      Kamov Ka-50
              Homer	      Mil Mi-12
              Hoodlum       Kamov Ka-26 and Ka-126
              Hook	      Mil Mi-6
              Hoop	      Kamov Ka-22
              Hoplite       Mil Mi-2
              Hormone       Kamov Ka-25
              Horse	      Yakovlev Yak-24
              Hot Brick     IR jammer.
              Hotel	      submarine class
              Hound	      Mil Mi-4
              Jay Bird      Small radar set, used by the MiG-25U Foxbat-C trainer
                            and the MiG-21MF.
              Kangaroo      AS-3
              Kanin	      destroyer class
              Kara	      cruiser class
              Karen	      AS-10
              Kashin	      destroyer class
              Kazoo         AS-18
              Kedge	      AS-14
              Kegler	      AS-12
              Kelt	      AS-5
              Kennel	      AS-1
              Kerry	      AS-7
              Kickback      AS-16
              Kildin	      (ship) class
              Kilter	      AS-11
              Kingfish      AS-6
              Kingpost      AS-13 (?)
              Kingbolt      AS-13 (?)
              Kipper	      AS-2
              Kitchen       AS-4
              Koala	      AS-X-19
              Kotlin	      SAM-carrying destroyer class
              Kresta	      cruiser class
              Krivak	      destroyer class
              Krupny	      destroyer class
              Krypton       AS-17
              Kuril	      carrier class
              Kyle	      AS-9
              Kynda	      cruiser class
              Long Track    Surveillance radar associated with the SA-4 and SA-6
              Low Blow      Radar associated with the SA-3
              Madcap	      Antonov An-74
              Madge	      Beriev Be-6
              Maestro       Yakovlev Yak-28
              Magnet	      Yakovlev Yak-17
              Magnum	      Yakovlev Yak-30
              Maiden	      Sukhoi Su-11
              Mail	      Beriev Be-12
              Mainstay      Ilyushin Il-76
              Mallow	      Beriev Be-10
              Mandrake      Yakovlev Yak-25
              Mangrove      Yakovlev Yak-27
              Mantis	      Yakovlev Tak-32
              Mare	      Yakovlev Yak-14
              Mark	      Yakovlev Yak-7U
              Mascot	      Ilysuhin Il-28 Light Bomber
              Max	      Yakovlev Yak-18
              May	      Ilyushin Il-38
              Maya	      Aero L-29 Delfin
              Mermaid       Beriev Be-42
              Midas	      Ilyushin Il-76 Transport
              Midget	      Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 renamed Faggot
              Mink	      UT-2
              Mode	      Beriev Be-8 ?
              Mole	      Yakovlev Yak-14 or Beriev Be-8 ?
              Mongol	      Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 renamed Fishbed
              Moose	      Yakovlev Yak-11
              Moss	      Tupolev Tu-126
              Mote	      Beriev Be-2 / MDR-2
              Moujik	      Sukhoi Su-7
              Mug	      Chetverikov Che-2 / MBR-2
              Mule	      Polikarpov Po-2
              Mystic	      Myasischew M-17 / M-55
              Nanuchka      Missile boat class
              Odd Rods      IFF set with three antennas of increasing length.
              Osa	      Missile boat class
              Papa	      Submarine class.
              Pat Hand      Radar associated with SA-4 and SA-6.
              Peel Group    Radar for SA-N-1 Goa.
              Pop Group     Radar for SA-N-4.
              Puff Ball     Big surveillance radar, carried by the Tu-16.
              Saber           SS-25
              Sandal		SS-4
              Saddler 	SS-7
              Sagger		AT-3
              Salish		SSC-2A
              Samlet		SSC-2B
              Sandal		SS-4
              Sandbox 	SS-N-12
              Sapwood 	SS-6
              Sasin		SS-8
              Satan           SS-18
              Savage		SS-13
              Sawfly		SS-N-6
              Scaleboard	SS-12
              Scamp		SS-14 plus road trailer.
              Scapegoat	SS-14
              Scan Odd	The 'Izumrud' radar of the all-wheater MiG-19 and
                              maybe the MiG-17P.
              Scan Fix	Early version of the Izumrud radar, fitted to
                              the MiG-17P.
              Scan Three	Radar of the Yak-25.
              Scarp		SS-9
              Scrag		SS-10
              Scrooge 	SS-15
              Scrubber	SS-N-1
              Scud		SS-1
              Scunner 	SS-1
              Sego		SS-11
              Sepal		SSC-1B cruise missile
              Serb		SS-N-5
              Shaddock	SS-N-3
              Sheet Bend	Radar associated with SSC-2B Samlet cruise missiles.
              Shershen	torpedo boat class.
              Shilka		ZSU-23-4 self-prolled AA gun platform
              Short Horn	Navigation and bombing radar. Fitted to
                              Tu-95 'Bear-H'
              Short Horn	Search radar of the Ka-25 'Hormone-A'
              Shyster 	SS-3
              Sibling 	SS-2
              Side Net	Heigth finding radar for SA-5.
              Siren		SS-N-7
              Skean		SS-5
              Skip Spin	Radar set of the Yak-28P 'Firebar',
                              Su-11 'Fishpot' and Su-15 'Flagon'.
              Slim Net	Missile-associated radar.
              Slot Black	Radar set of the MiG-29.
              Snapper 	AT-1
              Snark		SS-N-4
              Spandrel	AT-5
              Spigot		AT-4
              Spin Scan	The R1L radar fitted to some MiG-21 versions.
              Spiral		AT-6
              Spoon Rest	Early-warning radar
              Square Pair	Target-tracking radar for SA-5.
              Stiletto	SS-19
              Straight Flush	Radar for SA-6.
              Strela		SS-N-1 (also Scrubber)
              Styx		SS-7, SS-N-2
              Swatter 	AT-2
              Swift Rod	ILS system carried by many USSR aircraft.
              Tall King	Ground radar.
              Top Sail	Surveillance radar associated with SA-N-3 Goblet.
              Try Add 	Ground radar associated with the ABM-1 'Galosh'
              Twin Scan	Radar of the Su-21 'Flagon-E'
              Typhoon 	submarine class ?
              Victor		submarine class
              Whisky		submarine class. 'Whisky Twin Cylinder' with two
                              deck launchers for SS-N-3 cruise missiles, 'Whisky
                              Long Bin' with four internal launchers.
              Yankee	        submarine class
              Yo-yo	        Radar for SA-1 Guild systems.
              Zulu	        submarine class