Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Appendix 1: Early Missiles and Drones
Missing Numbers
Copyright © 2003-2008 Andreas Parsch

Missing Numbers in pre-1963 Missile Designation Listings

There are few gaps in my numerical listings of U.S. missile designations before 1963 (see Pre-1963 Designations Of U.S. Missiles And Drones), which I could not yet track down in official records or popular sources. This article provides a summary about these "missing numbers", and briefly discusses (if possible) which missile projects might have had the missing numbers assigned. It can be assumed, however, that all missing numbers were either skipped (for unknown reasons) or assigned to projects which did not progress very far. It's also possible that some numbers were reserved for a certain project, but never actually used, so that no references to the designation will be found.

For each missing designation, a rough time frame is given brackets. This denotes the period in which the designation would have been assigned in sequence, based on the time line for the preceding and following numbers.

Note: Comments and additions are of course very welcome (e-mail me). This includes any evidence which can either confirm or - just as impotant - refute the guesswork in this article, as well as new ideas regarding the missing designations.

U.S. Navy Missiles, 1948-1962

AAM-N-8 [1953/58]: A possible candidate for the AAM-N-8 slot is the Diamondback missile project, which was studied by the Navy between 1955 and 1958.

ASM-N-9 [1955/58]: One report links ASM-N-9 to the Raven project for a long-range nuclear air-to-surface missile. However, Raven was designated ASM-N-8, a designation which was soon transferred to the Corvus anti-radar missile, when the latter was redefined to cover the Raven requirement as well. One possible candidate for the slot is the Hopi nuclear air-to-surface missile, which was tested at the Naval Ordnance Test Station (NOTS) China Lake.

RTV-N-14 [1951]: The Navy flew several experimental sounding rockets in the early 1950s, and one of these may have received a formal RTV-N-14 designation.

U.S. Army Missiles, 1948-1955

?-G-11 [1948/50]: I have no immediately plausible candidate for the #11 slot in the Army's missile list, but if the number was assigned, the project must have been very short-lived and/or the designation was reserved but never actually used for that project. An official U.S. Army memorandum from 1951 lists all type-designated missile projects from #1 (RV-A-1) to #19 (XSAM-A-19), except for #11. Because said memorandum does include long terminated projects (e.g., the RTV-G-1/RV-A-1 WAC Corporal had been completed by 1948), the omission of #11 is particularly noticable.

?-A-20, ?-A-21 [1951/53]: I have little data on "unknown" Army missile programs of that time frame. One remote possibility for one of these numbers is the French SS.10 anti-tank missile, which was preliminarily evaluated by the U.S. Army in 1952. This evaluation was then terminated, but the missile was procured several years later as the MGM-21 after the development of the SSM-A-23 Dart had failed.

?-A-24, ?-A-26 [1953/55]: Most likely one of the two numbers was allocated to the Nike II project, which was established in 1955. Nike II was renamed Nike Zeus in November 1956.

U.S. Air Force Missiles, 1955-1963

GAR-7 [1956], GAR-10 [1958/59]: So far no records of these two designations could be tracked down. Based on experience with other "hard-to-find" USAF designations, both numbers were most likely never officially assigned to any project. A typical cause for this is that the number is requested by the program office of a certain missile project, disapproved by higher authorities, but not assigned afterwards to any other project. There are a few options, which projects could have been associated with the numbers GAR-7 and -10. There were some USAF studies in the 1950s about bomber-launched air-to-air missiles under the general moniker BDM (Bomber-Defense Missile). Related to these studies was the North American Nasty missile, which was apparently a rearward-firing missile to replace tail-mounted gun turrets. Another project in the 1958/61 time frame was the Convair Pye Wacket, a peculiar disc-shaped air-to-air missile. While the GAR-7/10 designations could have been proposed for these kinds of projects, this is not necessarily likely.

U.S. Navy Drones, 1946-1962

KD3R [1946/58]: There were many Radioplane target drone projects between the KD2R (Radioplane model number RP-19) and the KD4R (model RP-70), some of which were designs for the Navy. It's entirely possible that the KD3R designator was set aside for a project, which was not built in the end.

U.S. Army Air Force Drones, 1941-1947

OQ-8, OQ-9, OQ-10 [1943]: The official reference source [1] lists all USAAF aircraft designations from about 1935 to 1946, including OQ-numbers from OQ-2 to OQ-19. However, the entries on OQ-8/9/10 only say "no data available". The OQ listing (-2 to -19) in the official records [2] don't mention OQ-8 through -10 at all, even though such records usually show all designations, including those that were reserved but never taken up. Therefore it must be assumed that the designations OQ-8, -9 and -10 were skipped for unknown reasons. One possibility is that the OQ-11 was designated out of sequence and the next numbers were allocated from #12 on without filling the gap first. Source [1] says that the OQ-11 was a redesignation of "Model A-11", which seems strange because the short-lived "A-for-Aerial Target" series supposedly ended with the A-8. Anyway, if the OQ-11 was indeed originally the A-11 for any reason, it's not implausible that the number 11 was kept even if "OQ-8" would have been next in line.

U.S. Air Force Drones, 1947-1963

Q-13: This number was never assigned. The apparent gap between Q-12 (the final designation in the Q-series) and Q-14 comes from the fact that Q-14 was an out-of-sequence redesignation of the old PQ-14.


[1] US Army Air Forces: "Army Aircraft Model Designations", 1946
[2] USAF Aircraft Nomenclature Records

Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 1

Last Updated: 20 January 2007