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K designation for British F-111, F-4 and C-130


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I was just wondering if the K used to designate RAF/RN versions of the Aardvark, Phantom and Hercules actually stood for something, or if was just randomly/coincidentally assigned to UK versions. It seems out of sequence for designations at the time.

NB, not to be confused with the RNZAF A-4K and P-3K, which are peculiar to the RNZAF and supposedly standing for 'Kiwi'.

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No idea about the Herc and the F-111, but IIRC, the Phantom FG.1/F-4K was based on the F-4J, just different avionics and engines etc.

In that case, they seem to have just used the next available letter.

Perhaps it was just a case of osmosis?

Mike. :)

Edited by MikeR
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Never crossed my mind before, maybe just a coincidence? Wasn't the FGR2 known as F-4M?

Yes....which by a strange coincidence comes after K....lol

I always wondered about the F-111K and C-130K....

But then aircraft designations can be a law unto themselves

E-3F (for France)....came before the D and there is no E....(well at least I don't think so)

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Probably coincidence as no letters were skipped for the F-4 and C-130. Don't know about the F-111K, though.

Grant

The C-130K was based on the C-130H, so you had I and J skipped to get to K. The F-4/C-130/F-111 were ordered at the same time and had the 'K' designation applied to distinguish the fact they had differences from the US equivalents. They were probably all given the same designation for commonality - the Australian F-111s were given the 'C' code.

I believe Nigel is correct that the 'K' was derived from 'Kingdom'.

It's interesting that later Uk military orders form the US were not given distinct designations, even when they differed from the US equivalents (e.g. CH-47) I beleive this may be down to funding arrangements.

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Hatchet is right about the C-130J. But for the later post, the C-130K was derived from the C-130E. It did not have the uprated T-56A-15 engines. I believe that the HC-130H designation also came out before the C-130K. Still have no idea why it became the C-130K.

Grant

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Not sure about if the letter actually stood for anything, it's just the random letter assigned. At one time the letter "I" wasn't used to avoid confusion with the numeral "1." Well, that's out the window now, consider the F-15I and F-16I. IIRC, "H" was to be assigned to Greek contracts ("Hellene?"), "P" to Portuguese contracts, "K" to British contracts. I don't know how "K" got assigned to NZ aircraft, the "Kiwi" connotation is obvious, but then the "K" designation for British contacts seemed to go away…

Ah, and lest we forget ""G" is for Germany?" (Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters anyone?)…

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Not sure about if the letter actually stood for anything, it's just the random letter assigned.

I think that's it. Once one aircraft had a letter assigned, the rest were given the same letter because someone thought there was a meaning to it. The fact that it broke the rules for assigning designations wouldn't have mattered - after all, one thing you soon spot when you look at designations is how often the rules are overlooked. The same has happened more recently: after the C-130J, Lockheed's version of the G.222 was called the C-27J, apparently because it has the same engines and a similar cockpit.

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