From the unpleasantly named Mikoyan Skat, to the spectacularly boringly titled Aviation Traders Accountant, aircraft are often given the wrong name. Sometimes a sage is needed to tap the Executive on the shoulder and whisper things like ‘Sir, that name has a secondary meaning on the S&M scene’ or ‘Perhaps Vampire would be better than Spider Crab?’ (the latter is a true story). Here are ten notable re-namings.
10. E-6 Hermes, sounds like herpes, to Naval Aviators’ mirth. Changed to ‘Mercury’, presumably as a tribute to the lead-singer of Queen.
9. Tu-22 ‘Beauty’ and MiG-15 ‘Falcon’ – clearly too complimentary for communist planes, changed to ‘Blinder’ and ‘Fagot’ respectively. It is likely that the homophobic connotations of the MiG-15’s codename were not lost on the Air Standardization Coordinating Committee who assigned it.
* ok, this one is a bit of a cheat, ‘Shrew’ was surely only a suggested name.
4. F-22 SuperStar (too daft) , Rapier (too rapey) , Lightning II – don’t worry, Lockheed Martin can always reuse at least one of these.
3. Kestrel becomes Harrier – worst rename ever? – a Harrier can’t hover
1. B-1B Excalibur to Lancer: The practice of giving weapons systems weirdly sexual names (Massive Ordnance Penetrator?) is long-established, but naming the the B-1B after a popular Condom was too much .
Hopefully the condom had a better serviceability rate than the aircraft!
Thank you for reading Hush-Kit. Our site is absolutely free and we have no advertisements. If you’ve enjoyed an article you can donate here. At the moment our contributors do not receive any payment but we’re hoping to reward them for their fascinating stories in the future.Type selection by Combat Aircraft‘s Thomas Newdick, inappropriate comments by Hush-Kit’s Joe Coles. If you enjoyed this you will love Essential Aircraft Identification Guide: Carrier Aircraft 1917–Present . You should also enjoy our other Top Tens! There’s a whole feast of fantastic British, French, Swedish, Australian, Japanese , Belgian, German and Latin American aeroplanes. Want something more bizarre? The Top Ten fictional aircraft is a fascinating read as is the Top Ten cancelled fighters.
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