Designations Of U.S. Military Electronic And Communications Equipment

Copyright © 2000-2008 Andreas Parsch

1 Introduction

2 Early Communications Designation Systems

3 Joint Electronics Type Designation System (The "AN" System)

4 Other Designations

5 "AN" Designation Listings

6 Sources

1 Introduction

Soon after radio came in use at the beginning of the 20th century, Army and Navy started to use this new means of communication. Both services also assigned formalized designations to its radio and communications equipment almost from the beginning. These systems, however, proved cumbersome and difficult to adapt to new requirements. The expansion of World War II, and the introduction of new types of equipment (e.g. radar) finally lead to the joint "AN" designation system for all types of electronic and communications equipment. This article will describe the various designation systems in some detail.

2 Early Communications Designation Systems

The material in this section is exclusively from source [4].

2.1 Army

The Army used a numbering system for its radio communications equipment since at least World War I. The system distinguished between complete sets and components.

Sets were designated with a type designator and a sequential model number, separated by a dash. Each designator used its own sequential number series, starting with 1. The following types were defined:

Sometimes, modifications were indicated using additional letters, as in SCR-211-C or SCR-AH-183.

Components and Equipment:
Components and associated items were also designated using a type designator and a model number, separated by a dash. Type designators for radio communications components and equipment were:

2.2 Navy

Beginning around 1910, the Navy assigned alphanumerical type designations codes to its radio communication equipment.

Sets and Systems:
Two letters were used, where the first letter indicated the type of equipment, while the second letter served as a sequential model letter, e.g. "RB" was the second receiver. When the single letter model sequence was exhausted, this was extended to three letters, e.g. "RZ" was followed by "RAA", "RAB", etc.
Some type letters used "sub-series", in which the second letter of the 3-letter designator was not assigned sequentially, but indicated the sub-type of the equipment. Examples (like type letter "A") can be found in the type letter listing below.
Later versions of a system would receive a numerical suffix, i.e. "RAK-1" for the second version of "RAK", "RAK-2" for the third, etc. Modifications after delivery resulted in lower case suffixes, like "RAK-1a", "RAK-1b", etc. Prototypes and test models of an equipment item were designated with an "X-" prefix, e.g. the prototype for the "RAK" would be an "X-RAK".
The following type letters were defined:
(listing copied verbatim from source [4])

Model     Type of Equipment
A-- ---   Airborne Radio and Radar Equipment
    AB-   Airborne IFF
    AI-   Airborne Radar Intercept
    AM-   Airborne Radio Transmitting and Receiving
    AR-   Airborne Radio Receiving
    AS-   Airborne Search Radars
    AT-   Airborne Radio Transmitting
    AY-   Airborne Radar Altimeters
B-- ---   Ship-Shore IFF Equipment
C-- CX    All Commercial Experimental Equipment
D-- ---   Ship-Shore Radio and Radar Direction Finding Equipment
    DX-   Assembled Direction Finder Equipments (DF assemblies 
          which when used with a standard receiver form a 
          complete DF equipment.)
E-- ---   Emergency Power Equipment (Gasoline or Diesel engine 
          generator sets)
F-- ---   Radar Fire Control Equipment ("F" series superseded by 
          the BuOrd Radar Mark/Mod series)
    ---   Subseries of "F" series in use for other than fire 
          control radar, as follows:
    FP-   Facsimile Recording Equipment.
    FQ-   Facsimile Scanning Equipment.
    FR-   Frequency Shift Receiver Converter Equipment.
    FS-   Frequency Shift Keying Equipment.
G-- ---   Airborne Radio Transmitting Equipment (Classification 
          cancelled - Reassigned "AT" series.)
H-- ---   Hoist Train Mechanism (Cancelled - hoist train 
          mechanism considered as part of an equipment.)
I-- ---   Intercept Radar.
J-- ---   Sonar-Sound Listening (Receiving).
L-- ---   Precision Calibrating Equipment.
M-- ---   Radio Transmitting and Receiving Equipment.
N-- ---   Sonar Echo Sounding.
    NA-   Sonar Beacon.
    NG-   Echo Sounding (Rochelle Salt).
    NJ-   Lightweight Echo Sounding Recording.
    NK-   Portable Echo Sounding Recording.
    NM-   Echo Sounding (Magnetostriction).
O-- ---   Measuring, Test, and Operator Trainer Equipments for 
          Models OA to OCZ inclusive.  For Models after OCZ, the 
          subseries breakdown is as follows:
    OE-   Xmtr and/or Rcvr Analyzers, Vacuum-Tube Voltmeters, 
          Volt-Ohm-Milliammeters, Multimeters.
    OF-   Echo Boxes, Wavemeters, Frequency Meters (non-
    OG-   Signal Generators (non-precision), Test Oscillators
    OK-   Sonar Computers.
    OM-   Test Monitor Equipment.
    OP-   Signal and Sound Wave Measuring Equipment, Noise 
    OS-   Oscilloscopes.
    OT-   Radar Operator Trainers.
    OV-   Vacuum Tube Analyzers or Testers.
    OW-   Sonar Test Equipment.
    OZ-   Impedance Measuring Equipment.
P-- ---   Automatic Transmitting and Receiving Equipment Coding 
Q-- ---   Sonar Echo-Ranging-Listening Equipments:
    QA-   E/R/L (Quartz).
    QB-   E/R/L (Rochelle Salt).
    QC-   E/R (Magnetostriction) with L (Rochelle Salt).
    QD-   Depth Determining Equipment.
    QF-   Teacher and Training Equipment.
    QG-   Console Version of "QC" Series.
    QJ-   Console Version of "QB" Series.
    QK-   Scanning Sonar-Crystal.
    QL-   Frequency Modulated Sonar.
    QX-   Auxiliary Equipments to Echo Ranging Sonar.
R-- ---   Radio Receiving Equipment (Panoramic radio adapters 
          were included in this class up through Model REZ).
    RP-   Panoramic Radio Adapters.
S-- ---   Search Radar Equipment.
T-- ---   Radio Transmitting Equipment.
    TP-   Power Amplifiers.
U-- ---   Remote Control:
    UX-   Mobile Remote Control.
V-- ---   Visual - PPI Repeaters.
W-- ---   Sonar - Combined Ranging and Sounding:
    WA-   Combined Sounding-Ranging (Magnetostriction).
    WB-   Combined Sounding-Ranging (Rochelle Salt).
    WC-   Combined Sounding-Ranging (R/S Sounding) (M/S & R/S 
          Ranging & Listening).
    WD-   Combined Sounding-Ranging (R/S Sounding) (M/S & R/S 
          Ranging & Listening)
    WE-   Combined Lightweight M/S Echo Ranging with sounding 
          feature removed.
    WF-   Combined Ranging-Sounding-Listening (Sonic & supersonic 
          listening using ADP crystals).
X-- ---   Experimental (Navy-designed).
Y-- ---   Navigation and Landing Equipment: (other than direction 
          finders), (beacons).
Z-- ---   Airborne Navigation and Landing. (Classification 
          cancelled - reassigned "AY" series).

Components and parts of a system received separate designations, as follows:

Examples: CRV - 46 151
COL - 46 159 - A
CAY - 50 AEY - 1
(1) (2) (3) (4)

(1) was a letter code for the manufacturer, the first letter always being a "C". Initially, only two letters were used, but this was later extended to 3 and 4 letters.

The two-digit code (2) indicated the class or type of the component. The following table lists the type codes:
(listing copied verbatim from source [4])

Class   Material
10      Miscellaneous: To be used when a definite class is not 
14      Special RF Devices (Not covered by any other 
        classification).  (Electronic switching, etc.)
18      Prime Movers and Accessories: All types except 
19      Batteries:  All types; parts and accessories.
20      Rectifier Power Units - Voltage Regulators - Copper Oxide 
        Rectifiers: All types.  A20 is crystal detectors.
21      Motors - Generators - Dynamotors - Motor Generators - 
        Rotary Converters, etc.  Motor controllers.
22      Instruments - Electrical Indicating and Recording.
23      Control Panels and Control Units. (Except motor 
24      Switches: Manually operated.
25      Shields and Shielding Material: Finishes.
26      Keys - Telegraph: Manually operated.
28      Protective Devices: Static types.
29      Electromagnetic Contact Devices: All types.
30      Transformers and Reactors: Power and audio.
35      Oscillators - Complete Units (Audio or RF).
36      Ranging Equipment - Radio (Localizer, rotating beacons, 
38      Vacuum Tubes - Photo-electric Cells: All types.
40      Piezo-Electric Crystals and Holders - Thermometers and 
41      Compensators - Underwater Sound.
43      Transmitter-Receiver Units (Combined): Equipment in which 
        the transmitter and receiver are not separable as units.
46      Receiver Units and Converters (RF to IF, etc.) - Radio 
        and Sound.
47      RF Transformers - Inductors - Chokes.
48      Capacitors: All types.
49      Head Telephones - Telephone Cords - Patch Cords - 
        Loudspeakers - Plugs - Jacks - Sockets - Receptacles: All 
50      Amplifier, Modulator, and Coupler Units - Electronic 
        Converters - Mixing Panels: All types. (Complete diplex 
        and duplex units.) See 14 for electronic switching.
51      Microphones - Hydrophones - Underwater Sound Electrical 
        Pickup Devices - Combination Handsets: All types.
52      Radio Transmitter Units: Includes RF drivers for 
        underwater sound equipment, etc.
53      Filter Units: All electrical types.
54      Sound Receiving Devices - Acoustical.
55      Indicators and Recorders: Radio, radar, and underwater 
        sound.  (Indicating instruments under Class 22.)
56      Wave Propagation.
59      Television - Photo - Radio.
60      Test Equipment (Integral instruments under Class 22.) A60 
        is Training Equipment (Operator trainers and instruction 
61      Insulators and Insulating Material: Phenolic and ceramic.
62      Wires and Conductors - Junction Boxes.  A62 is RF 
        transmission lines and RF cables, etc.
63      Resistors:  All types.
64      Static Recorders and Eliminators.
65      Remote Control Systems by Wire: Repeater systems, etc.
66      Antennas - Antenna Assemblies.  (Dummy and phantom 
67      Automatic Systems, Facsimile, Tele-Automatic: Automatic 
        keyers and recorders.
68      Secrecy Systems: Sending and receiving. (Speech 
69      Direction Finding Equipment: Radio.
70      Distance Finding: A70 is radio altimeters.
72      Portable Equipment - Field Sets.
73      Combined Gas Engine Generator Sets.
74      Precision Calibration and Measuring Equipment.
75      Standards: (Including standardization notices, etc.)
78      HF Underwater Sound Projector (above 10 Kc) and 
        supporting parts.
79      LF Underwater Sound Projector (10 Kc or below).
83      Frequency Control Systems.
84      Control by Radio.
85      Interference Reduction.
87      Experimental Superfrequency Equipment.
88      Instrument Landing Equipments.
89      Radio Recognition and Identification Devices.
90      Visual Signalling Apparatus (This classification for type 
        number assignments only).

(3) was the number of the specific model, consisting of 2, 3 or 4 digits, resulting in a 4-, 5- or 6-digit model designation. Secret equipment used 3-letter codes instead of model numbers.

(4) was an optional suffix to designate modifications. Normal designations had upper case letter suffixes, while designations for secret equipment had numerical suffixes.

3 Joint Electronics Type Designation System (The "AN" System)

3.1 History

With the rapidly expanding use of radio, radar and other electronic equipment in World War II, the old Army and Navy systems were increasingly unsuited for the new requirements. Therefore, the Army and Navy introduced the new "Joint Army-Navy Nomenclature System", also known as "Joint Communications-Electronics Nomenclature System", or short as "AN System". This was formally approved on 17 February 1943, although the first designation assignments were already made in late December 1942. The initial emphasis was on airborne radio and radar equipment, but the system was designed to be extendable and was soon extended to include other types of equipment. When the Air Force separated from the Army in 1947, it continued to use the system for its electronic equipment. The Coast Guard started to use the system from 16 August 1951 and the Army from 8 June 1953. In 1957, the system was formalized in MIL-STD-196 "Joint Electronics Type Designation System" (JETDS). The system has since been slightly revised and adapted to modern requirements, and the current version is MIL-STD-196E, released on 17 February 1998.

In a way similar to the older Army and Navy systems, JETDS distinguishes between complete systems and components. The US military uses detailed definitions of "Item Levels" from single "Parts" to complete "Systems", and a brief explanation of all terms relevant to the discussion of JETDS can be found here. JETDS does not designate parts and assemblies, and uses different designation schemes for the other item types.

3.2 Sets And Systems

Sets, subsystems and systems are designated by the well-known "AN" nomenclature.

Examples: AN / A P G - 5 A
AN / A L Q - 151 (V)2
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)

All designations are prefixed by "AN/". Originally, this stood for "Army-Navy", but this interpretation is no longer valid. Nowadays, "AN/" is simply an indicator for the JETDS. In non-official references to electronic equipment, the "AN/" prefix is often omitted.

Letter (1) indicates the installation location of the equipment:

Letter (2) is the type of the equipment:

Letter (3) defines the purpose of the equipment:

(4) is the model number. Each Installation-Type-Purpose letter combination uses its own model number sequence, starting at 1. Blocks of high model numbers are reserved for use by Canada (500-599, 2500-2599), Australia (2000-2099), New Zealand (2100-2199) and the UK (2200-2299). It seems that the first number of the Canadian block (500) is never used, i.e. Canadian designations always start with 501.

The optional suffix letter (5) denotes a specific version of the equipment. The first version uses no suffix, the first modifcation uses "A", etc. The letters "I", "O", "Q", "S", "T", "X", "Y", "Z" are not used as version suffix. "I", "O", "Q" and "S" could be confused with numerals 1, 0 and 5 respectively, for "T", "X", "Y" and "Z" see section 3.4.

(6) The "(V)" symbol indicates an equipment with variable components (sets, groups or units). A number following the "(V)" is used to designate a specific version of the equipment, i.e. with a specific component configuration. If a component of a set or system is of variable configuration, i.e. carries a "(V)" symbol, the set or system itself must also use the "(V)" symbol.


1. Installation letter "C", type letters "B" and "Z", and purpose letter "Z" are reserved for use by the NSA (National Security Agency) only.

2. "Cryptographic" is not an "installation" letter in the proper sense. It should have been a new "type" or "purpose" letter.

3. Installation letter "G" is used, when two or more of "F", "M", "P", "T" or "V" apply.

4. Installation letter "M" is only used if the vehicle housing the equipment is solely designed for this purpose, i.e. the vehicle is a part of the equipment. For equipment installed in other vehicles, like tanks, etc., installation letter "V" is used.

5. Installation letter "T" is only used, if none of "G", "M", "P", "U" or "V" can be applied. It is intended for equipment, which can be moved, but can't be operated while in motion.

6. Installaton letter "U" is used in following two principally different cases:
- Equipment items (e.g. a radio AN/URC-n), which can be used in different installations (e.g. in aircraft, ship or ground installations)
- Systems, which consist of several components installed in different locations (e.g. the AN/USD-9 system has an airborne component AN/ARW-83 and a ground-based component AN/TSQ-105)

7. This designator was actually used. For example, the AN/CBQ-1 was an air-transportable pigeon loft & message center. The "AN" system, as originally devised, was intended for electronic and communications equipment. The US military used homing pigeons (on a small scale, of course) through WW II (the Army did not retire its last homing pigeon until 1957).

8. Type letter "E" (Laser) is a fairly recent (1985) addition to the system and is not in wide use. Most laser devices use either "V" or "A", depending on the laser wavelength.

3.3 Components (Groups And Units)

Groups and units (i.e. the components of complete sets and systems) are designated as follows:

Examples: MD - 945 / TSC
AM - 4859 A / ARN-89
R - 1808 (V)5 / TRS-2(V)
OA - 1256 / MPQ-4A
PP - 867 / U
AS - 22 / AP
(1) (2) (3) (5) (4)

The one- or two-letter code (1) indicates the type of the unit or group.

Group indicators:

Unit indicators:

(2) is the model number. Each unit or group indicator uses its own model number sequence, starting at 1. Blocks of high model numbers are reserved for use by Canada (5000-5999, 25000-25999), Australia (20000-20999), New Zealand (21000-21999) and the UK (22000-22999).

The optional suffix letter (3) denotes a specific version of the equipment. The first version uses no suffix, the first modifcation uses "A", etc. The letters "I", "O", "Q", "S", "T", "X", "Y", "Z" are not used as version suffix. "I", "O", "Q" and "S" could be confused with numerals 1, 0 and 5 respectively, for "T", "X", "Y" and "Z" see section 3.4.

(4) The full type designation of a group or unit includes a slant bar, followed by the designation of the set or system, of which it is a part. If the equipment can be used with several systems, a more general designator is appended. E.g. the MD-945/TSC is a modulator, which is used with several AN/TSC-n systems, while the AS-22/AP is an antenna, which is used with several airborne radar sets/systems with different purpose indicators. A designation for a general purpose component, i.e. one that is not designed to be used in a specific environment, should use only the general installation letter "U" after the slant bar. However, the "/U" suffix is often omitted in these cases.

(5) The "(V)" symbol indicates an equipment (usually a group) with variable components. A number following the "(V)" is used to designate a specific version of the equipment, i.e. with a specific component configuration.


1. Group indicator "OS" was added to the system in 1998, and clashes with the "OS" unit indicator. These two designators apparently share a single numerical model number sequence.

2. Unit indicator "DU" is not listed in the original MIL-STD-196E. It was added to the system around 1999 and will be included in the next revision of MIL-STD-196.

3.4 Miscellanea

3.4.1 Training Equipment

Training items designed to be used with a certain equipment item are designated by adding "-Tn" to the equipment designator. E.g., the second training set for the AN/APQ-13 radar set is designated as AN/APQ-13-T2. If a set/system can be used for training with several sets/systems of a certain type, the model number is omitted. E.g., AN/APG-T1 is the first training set designed to be used with several AN/APG-n systems. If a set/system can be used for training with equipment in different installation locations, installation letter "U" is used, e.g. AN/URC-T1 is a training set for both airborne (AN/ARC-n) and ground (AN/GRC-n) radio communicators.

3.4.2 Power Input Modifications

Modifications of an equipment, which only change the electrical power input requirements (e.g. different voltage and/or frequency), are not indicated by the "standard" modification letters "A", "B", etc., but by the three reserved letters "X", "Y" and "Z". These can also be combined, e.g. AN/ARC-51BX is the first power input modification of the AN/ARC-51B. If more than 3 power input modifications exist for a specific equipment, multiple suffix letters ("XX", "YY", etc.) are used.

3.4.3 Development Indicator

During the development phase of an equipment item, a development indicator like (XN-1) may be appended to the basic equipment designation. The letter combination always starts with "X" and indicates the organization responsible for the development, and the number is a sequential series number (using separate series for each combination of equipment designator and developing organization). E.g., the AN/APS-73(XH-3) is the third developmental model of the basic AN/APS-73 by the Air Force Aerial Reconnaissance Laboratory.
The following letter combinations for organizations have been defined over the years (not all of them are still used today):

3.4.4 Additional Type Indicators for Data Processing Equipment

Designators for data processing sets and systems (type indicator "Y") can optionally be further detailed to indicate the characteristics of the equipment. In this case, additional digits in parentheses are inserted behind the installation-type-purpose designator, e.g. AN/UYK(1,4,5)-n. The following digits can be used:

3.4.5 Additional Parenthetical Designators

There are two other designators, which are used in a way similar to the "(V)" for variable configuration equipment, i.e. they are appended behind the model number. These designators are:

An example, which uses both of these designators, is RT-1539A(P)(C)/G.

3.4.6 Preliminary Designators

If an equipment item has not yet received an official designation, it can be referred to using a designation, where the model number has been replaced by parentheses. E.g., a new fire control radar system could be identified as AN/APG-() in the initial development phase.

4 Other Designations

4.1 BuAer Defensive Fire Control Systems

[The information in this section was contributed by Chuck Hansen. Thanks!]

The postwar U.S. Navy Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) assigned "AERO" designations to many different types of equipment, that were used on postwar US Navy aircraft. More specifically, "AERO" designations were assigned to aircraft ordnance equipment and accessories, including tow targets, gunsights, bombsights, target carriers, gun chargers, turrets, bomb shackles, bomb and torpedo racks, launchers and ejectors, bomb trailers and skids, and bomb and torpedo hoists. The following table lists the AERO numbers assigned to airborne defensive fire control systems.

Number Contractor Description/Use
AERO-1 Westinghouse 4x20mm tail turret with automatic gun laying radar
AERO-2 General Electric 2x20mm wingtip turret with radar
AERO-3 Emerson 2x20mm wingtip roll/traverse turret
AERO-4 Martin 4x20mm roll/traverse fighter nose turret
AERO-5 General Electric 4x20mm tail turret with automatic gun laying radar
AERO-6 Martin 2x20mm; automatic gun laying with S-6 sight & APG-19 radar; for P4M tail (X220CH-3)
AERO-7 Martin 2x20mm; S-4 sight, stabilized drive; for P4M tail (X220CH-2)
AERO-8 Martin 2x.60 cal; automatic gun laying with S-4 sight; for P4M tail (X260CH-1)
AERO-9 Emerson 2x20mm nose turret; for P4M and P2V
AERO-10 Emerson 2x20mm nose turret; S-9 sight, stabilized drive
AERO-11 Emerson 2x20mm; Mk 18 sight, APG-18 radar; for patrol plane tails (X220RH-1)
AERO-12 Martin 2x20mm side turret; for XP5Y-1
AERO-13 Emerson 2x20mm deck turret (as AERO-9)
AERO-14 Emerson 2x20mm deck turret; stabilized drive; for P2V-7
(15) (No information)
AERO-16 ERCO 2x20mm teardrop turret (modified ERCO X220TH-1)
AERO-17 Emerson 4x.50 cal. roll/traverse nose turret; for F9F-3
AERO-18 Control Instr.(Westinghouse) 2x20mm roll/traverse nose turret; Vickers drive; for escort fighters
AERO-19 NADC Side turret
AERO-20 Emerson 20mm side turret (similar to AERO-12)
AERO-21 Westinghouse 2x20mm tail turret (developed from AERO-11); for A3D
AERO-22 Westinghouse Automatic gun laying radar
AERO-23 Westinghouse Automatic gun laying radar turret; for XP6M-1
AERO-24 Emerson Wingtip turret; for XP5Y-1

4.2 US Air Force QRC (Quick Reaction Capability) Programs, 1952 - 1964

[The information in this section was contributed by Per Nyström. Thanks!]

The following text is quoted from "The History of US Electronic Warfare" (source [5]), Volumes 2 and 3:


In 1952, mid-way through the Korean War, the US Air Force issued a new directive entitled "Quick Reaction Capability (QRC) for ECM". This procedure was to be used when it was necessary to procure quickly limited quantities of new equipment, to counter new enemy electronic threats as they were discovered. The program used production procurement funds, which are larger than those for research and development. The ECM Branch of the Aircraft Radiation laboratory at Wright Field was assigned technical responsibility for the resultant QRC equipments designed for airborne use, and the Air Force Supply Depot at Gentile AFB held procurement responsibility. Early in the program an in-house QRC facility was established at the Rome Air Development Center for building ground-based systems. Following a competitive bid the Hallicrafters Company at Chicago won the contract to become sole source contractor to built QRC systems, and held the position throughout most of the 1950s. As electronic warfare increased in importance the company did well out of the program. It also enjoyed an advantage over competitors, when the Air Force wanted QRC equipments placed in production. In 1959, following strong representations from competing companies, the Air Force revised the QRC program to allow any suitable company to bid for the work.

Usually a QRC program would provide engineering prototypes or a few production models of an equipment, plus sufficient spare parts for one year's operation. In a very few cases, however, as many as 100 examples of a specific equipment might be built. Later the Navy and the Army would initiate QRC programs of their own, though the other two services would use them far less than the Air Force. The Navy equipments built under QRC contracts carried regular equipment designators rather than QRC designators, making them difficult to identify. The Army ran its own system of QRC designators in parallel with that used by the Air Force, also starting from QRC-1.

The List of QRC Programs from [5] gives brief details of the first 232 Air Force QRC programs, spanning the period between the date of the initiation of the procedure and the end of 1964. A few post-1964 numbers are also listed, but the list is incomplete from this date on.

In more recent days there appears to be a continued use of "QRC" designations but in a slightly different format. There are references to projects with designations like QRC xx-yy, where xx is 83 or 84, possibly indicating a year, and yy is a low number, up to 05, possibly a consecutive series of QRC projects for that year. QRC may also be read as "Quick Reaction Contract" in these cases. A list with a few of these designations can be found here.

5 "AN" Designation Listings

Note: Special thanks go to David Huie. Without his active help, the designation listings on this site wouldn't be anywhere near as complete as they are now!

Because some of the AN equipment listings are fairly large, I provide them in separate files. If a certain AN/Axx, AN/Cxx, AN/Dxx or AN/Zxx code is not listed, then I don't know any equipment item using that designator. You may also look for listings of designations on the sites listed on the Link page.

The reasons, why I do not attempt to include listings of equipment with installation-letters other than "A", "C", "D" and "Z" are:
- The topic of my site are military aviation designations.
- I really do have very few data about other "AN" designations, because my library is almost completely aviation related.
The AN/USD category is listed, because it includes several drone surveillance systems, and is therefore "on-topic" for an aviation related site.

Notes for the designation lists:

Navigation Bar

If your browser - and you ;-) - like frames, click here to view the equipment listings in a window with a separate "AN/xxx" Navigation Bar on the left side. This is definitely not a very sophisticated solution, but I want to avoid any frame-based trouble (i.e. difficulties with bookmarking, search-engines, text-only browsers, etc.) with this website (as you will have noticed, I'm not focusing on design, but on content ;-)) ).

AN/AAx - Airborne Infrared Equipment

AN/AAA - Airborne Infrared Auxiliary Assemblies
AN/AAB - Airborne Infrared Bombing Equipment
AN/AAD - Airborne Infrared Reconnaissance and Surveillance
AN/AAG - Airborne Infrared Fire-Control Equipment
AN/AAM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Airborne Infrared Equipment
AN/AAQ - Airborne Infrared Multipurpose/Special Equipment
AN/AAR - Airborne Infrared Receivers
AN/AAS - Airborne Infrared Search and Detection Equipment
AN/AAT - Airborne Infrared Transmitters

AN/ACx - Airborne Carrier Signal Based Equipment

AN/ACC - Airborne Carrier Signal Based Communications
AN/ACM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Airborne Carrier Signal Based Equipment
AN/ACQ - Airborne Carrier Signal Based Multipurpose/Special Equipment

AN/ADx - Airborne Radiological Equipment

AN/ADA - Airborne Radioactivity Auxiliary Assemblies
AN/ADR - Airborne Radioactivity Receivers

AN/AEx - Airborne Laser Equipment

AN/AES - Airborne Laser Search and Detection Equipment

AN/AGx - Airborne Teletype Equipment

AN/AGA - Airborne Teletype Auxiliary Assemblies
AN/AGC - Airborne Teletype Communications
AN/AGM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Airborne Teletype Equipment

AN/AIx - Airborne Interphone Equipment

AN/AIA - Airborne Interphone Auxiliary Assemblies
AN/AIC - Airborne Interphone Communications
AN/AIH - Airborne Interphone Recorders
AN/AIM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Airborne Interphone Equipment
AN/AIQ - Airborne Interphone Multipurpose/Special Equipment

AN/AJx - Airborne Electromechanical Equipment

AN/AJA - Airborne Electromechanical Auxiliary Assemblies
AN/AJB - Airborne Electromechanical Bombing Equipment
AN/AJM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Airborne Electromechanical Equipment
AN/AJN - Airborne Electromechanical Navigation Equipment
AN/AJQ - Airborne Electromechanical Multipurpose/Special Equipment

AN/AKx - Airborne Telemetering Equipment

AN/AKA - Airborne Telemetry Auxiliary Assemblies
AN/AKM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Airborne Telemetering Equipment
AN/AKQ - Airborne Telemetry Multipurpose/Special Equipment
AN/AKR - Airborne Telemetry Receivers
AN/AKT - Airborne Telemetry Transmitters

AN/ALx - Airborne Countermeasures Equipment

AN/ALA - Airborne Countermeasures Auxiliary Assemblies
AN/ALD - Airborne Countermeasures Detection and Surveillance
AN/ALE - Airborne Countermeasures Ejectors
(i.e. flare/chaff dispensers)
AN/ALH - Airborne Countermeasures Recorders
AN/ALK - Airborne Countermeasures Computers
AN/ALM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Airborne Countermeasures Equipment
AN/ALQ - Airborne Countermeasures Multipurpose/Special Equipment
AN/ALR - Airborne Countermeasures Receivers
AN/ALT - Airborne Countermeasures Transmitters

AN/AMx - Airborne Meteorological Equipment

AN/AMA - Airborne Meteorological Auxiliary Assemblies
AN/AME - Airborne Meteorological Ejectors
AN/AMH - Airborne Meteorological Recorders
AN/AMM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Airborne Meteorological Recorders
AN/AMQ - Airborne Meteorological Multipurpose/Special Equipment
AN/AMR - Airborne Meteorological Receivers
AN/AMS - Airborne Meteorological Search and Detection Equipment
AN/AMT - Airborne Meteorological Transmitters

AN/ANx - Airborne Sound Equipment

AN/ANH - Airborne Sound Recorders
AN/ANQ - Airborne Sound Multipurpose/Special Equipment

AN/APx - Airborne Radar Equipment

AN/APA - Airborne Radar Auxiliary Assemblies
AN/APB - Airborne Bombing Radars
AN/APD - Airborne Direction Finding and Surveillance Radars
AN/APG - Airborne Fire-Control Radars
AN/APH - Airborne Radar Recorders
AN/APM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Airborne Radars
AN/APN - Airborne Navigation Radars
AN/APQ - Airborne Multipurpose/Special Radars
AN/APR - Airborne Radar Receivers
AN/APS - Airborne Search and Detection Radars
AN/APT - Airborne Radar Transmitters
AN/APW - Airborne Flight Control Radars
AN/APX - Airborne Identification Radars
AN/APY - Airborne Surveillance Radars

AN/AQx - Airborne Sonar Equipment

AN/AQA - Airborne Sonar Auxiliary Assemblies
AN/AQH - Airborne Sonar Recorders
AN/AQM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Airborne Sonar Equipment
AN/AQQ - Airborne Sonar Multipurpose/Special Equipment
AN/AQS - Airborne Search & Detection Sonars

AN/ARx - Airborne Radio Equipment

AN/ARA - Airborne Radio Auxiliary Assemblies
AN/ARB - Airborne Radio Bombing Equipment
AN/ARC - Airborne Radio Communications
AN/ARD - Airborne Radio Direction Finding and Surveillance
AN/ARH - Airborne Radio Receorders
AN/ARM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Airborne Radio Equipment
AN/ARN - Airborne Radio Navigation Equipment
AN/ARQ - Airborne Radio Multipurpose/Special Equipment
AN/ARR - Airborne Radio Receivers
AN/ARS - Airborne Radio Search Equipment
AN/ART - Airborne Radio Transmitters
AN/ARW - Airborne Flight/Remote Control Radio
AN/ARY - Airborne Radio Surveillance and Control Equipment

AN/ASx - Airborne Special/Combination Equipment

AN/ASA - Airborne Special/Combination Auxiliary Assemblies
AN/ASB - Airborne Special/Combination Bombing Equipment
AN/ASC - Airborne Special/Combination Communications
AN/ASD - Airborne Special/Combination Detection and Reconnaissance Equipment
AN/ASE - Airborne Special/Combination Ejectors
AN/ASG - Airborne Special/Combination Fire-Control Equipment
AN/ASH - Airborne Special/Combination Recording/Reproducing Equipment
AN/ASK - Airborne Special/Combination Computers
AN/ASM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Airborne Special/Combination Equipment
AN/ASN - Airborne Special/Combination Navigation Equipment
AN/ASQ - Airborne Special/Combination Multipurpose/Special Equipment
(this could be anything!)
AN/ASR - Airborne Special/Combination Receivers
AN/ASS - Airborne Special/Combination Search Equipment
AN/AST - Airborne Special/Combination Transmitters
AN/ASW - Airborne Special/Combination Flight/Remote Control Equipment
AN/ASX - Airborne Special/Combination Identification Equipment

AN/ATx - Airborne Telephone (Wire) Equipment

AN/ATC - Airborne Wire Telephone Communications Equipment
AN/ATE - Airborne Wire Dispensers
AN/ATM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Airborne Wire Telephone Equipment
AN/ATR - Airborne Wire Telephone Receivers

AN/AVx - Airborne Visual/Light Equipment

AN/AVA - Airborne Visual/Light Auxiliary Assemblies
AN/AVB - Airborne Visual/Light Bombing Equipment
AN/AVD - Airborne Visual/Light Detection and Reconnaissance Equipment
AN/AVG - Airborne Airborne Visual/Light Fire-Control and Searchlight Control Equipment
AN/AVH - Airborne Visual/Light Recorders
AN/AVM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Airborne Visual/Light Equipment
AN/AVN - Airborne Visual Navigation Equipment
AN/AVQ - Airborne Visual/Light Multipurpose/Special Equipment
AN/AVR - Airborne Light Receivers
AN/AVS - Airborne Visual Search Equipment
AN/AVT - Airborne Light Transmitters
AN/AVX - Airborne Visual Identification Equipment

AN/AWx - Airborne Armament Equipment

AN/AWA - Airborne Armament Auxiliary Assemblies
AN/AWB - Airborne Armament Bombing Equipment
AN/AWE - Airborne Armament Ejectors
AN/AWG - Airborne Fire-Control Systems
AN/AWH - Airborne Armament Related Recorders/Reproducers
AN/AWM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Airborne Armament Equipment
AN/AWQ - Airborne Armament Multipurpose/Special Equipment
AN/AWW - Airborne Armament Remote Control Equipment

AN/AXx - Airborne Television/Telefax Equipment

AN/AXA - Airborne TV/Fax Auxiliary Assemblies
AN/AXC - Airborne TV/Fax Communications
AN/AXD - Airborne TV Detection and Surveillance Equipment
AN/AXH - Airborne TV/Fax Recorders
AN/AXM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Airborne TV/Fax Equipment
AN/AXQ - Airborne TV/Fax Multipurpose/Special Equipment
AN/AXR - Airborne TV/Fax Receivers
AN/AXS - Airborne TV Search Equipment
AN/AXT - Airborne TV/Fax Transmitters
AN/AXX - Airborne TV Identification Equipment

AN/AYx - Airborne Data Processing Equipment

AN/AYA - Airborne Data Processing Auxiliary Assemblies
AN/AYC - Airborne Data Processing Communication Equipment
AN/AYD - Airborne Data Processing Detection Equipment
AN/AYG - Airborne Fire-Control Computers
AN/AYH - Airborne Data Processing Recorders
AN/AYK - Airborne Data Processing Computers
(i.e. general-purpose computers)
AN/AYM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Airborne Data Processing Equipment
AN/AYN - Airborne Navigation Computers
AN/AYQ - Airborne Multipurpose/Special Computers
AN/AYR - Airborne Data Processing Receivers
AN/AYS - Airborne Search Computers
AN/AYW - Airborne Flight Control Computers
AN/AYY - Airborne Surveillance Computers

AN/Cxx - Air Transportable Equipment

AN/CBQ - Air Transportable Pigeon Multipurpose/Special Equipment
AN/CNQ - Air Transportable Sound Multipurpose/Special Equipment
AN/CPA - Air Transportable Radar Auxiliary Assemblies
AN/CPM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Air Transportable Radars
AN/CPN - Air Transportable Navigation Radars
AN/CPQ - Air Transportable Multipurpose/Special Radars
AN/CPS - Air Transportable Search and Detection Radars
AN/CPT - Air Transportable Radar Transmitters
AN/CPX - Air Transportable Identification Radars
AN/CRA - Air Transportable Radio Auxiliary Assemblies
AN/CRB - Air Transportable Bombing Radio Equipment
AN/CRC - Air Transportable Radio Communications
AN/CRD - Air Transportable Radio Direction Finding
AN/CRM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Air Transportable Radio Equipment
AN/CRN - Air Transportable Radio Navigation Equipment
AN/CRR - Air Transportable Radio Receivers
AN/CRT - Air Transportable Radio Transmitters
AN/CRW - Air Transportable Remote Control Radio
AN/CRX - Air Transportable Radio Identification Equipment
AN/CSC - Air Transportable Special/Combination Communications
AN/CSQ - Air Transportable Special/Combination Multipurpose/Special Equipment
AN/CST - Air Transportable Special/Combination Transmitters
AN/CTQ - Air Transportable Telephone Multipurpose/Special Equipment
AN/CTW - Air Transportable Telephone Remote Control Equipment
AN/CVQ - Air Transportable Visual/Light Multipurpose/Special Equipment
AN/CVX - Air Transportable Visual/Light Identification Equipment

AN/Dxx - Missile/Drone Equipment

AN/DAB - Missile/Drone Infrared Bombing Equipment
AN/DAN - Missile/Drone Infrared Navigation Equipment
AN/DAW - Missile/Drone Infrared Flight Control Equipment
AN/DJM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Missile/Drone Electromechanical Equipment
AN/DJN - Missile/Drone Electromechanical Navigation Equipment
AN/DJQ - Missile/Drone Electromechanical Multipurpose/Special Equipment
AN/DJW - Missile/Drone Electromechanical Flight/Remote Control Equipment
AN/DKM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Missile/Drone Telemetering Equipment
AN/DKQ - Missile/Drone Telemetry Multipurpose/Special Equipment
AN/DKT - Missile/Drone Telemetry Transmitters
AN/DKW - Missile/Drone Flight/Remote Control Telemetry Equipment
AN/DLD - Missile/Drone Countermeasures Detection and Surveillance
AN/DLM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Missile/Drone Countermeasures Equipment
AN/DLQ - Missile/Drone Countermeasures Multipurpose/Special Equipment
AN/DMQ - Missile/Drone Meteorological Multipurpose/Special Equipment
AN/DPD - Missile/Drone Direction Finding and Surveillance Radars
AN/DPM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Missile/Drone Radars
AN/DPN - Missile/Drone Navigation Radars
AN/DPQ - Missile/Drone Multipurpose/Special Radars
AN/DPS - Missile/Drone Search and Detection Radars
AN/DPT - Missile/Drone Radar Transmitters
AN/DPW - Missile/Drone Flight/Remote Control Radars
AN/DPX - Missile/Drone Identification Radars
AN/DPY - Missile/Drone Surveillance Radars
AN/DRA - Missile/Drone Radio Auxiliary Assemblies
AN/DRC - Missile/Drone Radio Communication Equipment
AN/DRM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Missile/Drone Radio Equipment
AN/DRN - Missile/Drone Radio Navigation Equipment
AN/DRQ - Missile/Drone Radio Multipurpose/Special Equipment
AN/DRR - Missile/Drone Radio Receivers
AN/DRS - Missile/Drone Radio Search Equipment
AN/DRT - Missile/Drone Radio Transmitters
AN/DRW - Missile/Drone Flight/Remote Control Radio
AN/DSA - Missile/Drone Special/Combination Auxiliary Assemblies
AN/DSM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Missile/Drone Special/Combination Equipment
AN/DSN - Missile/Drone Special/Combination Navigation Equipment
AN/DSQ - Missile/Drone Special/Combination Multipurpose/Special Equipment
AN/DSW - Missile/Drone Special/Combination Flight/Remote Control Equipment
AN/DVG - Missile/Drone Airborne Visual/Light Fire-Control Equipment
AN/DWQ - Missile/Drone Armament Multipurpose/Special Equipment
AN/DWW - Missile/Drone Armament Remote Control Equipment
AN/DXQ - Missile/Drone TV Multipurpose/Special Equipment

AN/Uxx - General Utility (or Multiple Installation) Equipment

AN/USD - Special/Combination Surveillance Equipment

Note: Other AN/Uxx listings are outside the scope pf this website.

AN/Zxx - Airborne (Piloted/Pilotless Combination) Equipment

AN/ZPQ - Airborne (Piloted/Pilotless Combination) Multipurpose/Special Radars
AN/ZRC - Airborne (Piloted/Pilotless Combination) Radio Communications
AN/ZSD - Airborne (Piloted/Pilotless Combination) Special/Combination Detection and Reconnaissance Equipment
AN/ZSM - Maintenance and Test Sets for Airborne (Piloted/Pilotless Combination) Special/Combination Equipment
AN/ZSN - Airborne (Piloted/Pilotless Combination) Special/Combination Navigation Equipment
AN/ZSQ - Airborne (Piloted/Pilotless Combination) Special/Combination Multipurpose/Special Equipment
AN/ZSW - Airborne (Piloted/Pilotless Combination) Special/Combination Flight/Remote Control Equipment

6 Sources

[1] Department of Defense: MIL-STD-196E "Joint Electronics Type Designation System"
[2] Department of Defense: MIL-HDBK-505 "Handbook For Definitions Of Item Levels, Item Exchangability, Models And Related Terms"
[3] Department of Defense: MIL-HDBK-1812 "Type Designation, Assignment And Method For Obtaining"
[4] Ray Mote: "World War Two Nomenclature Systems", in ELECTRIC RADIO Magazine, June & July 1995
[5] Association of Old Crows: "The History of US Electronic Warfare"

(The designation listings were compiled using a wide variety of sources, not the least of which were the Internet and contributions by fellow researchers.)

Comments and corrections to: Andreas Parsch

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Last Updated: 3 February 2008