Canadian Military Aircraft Designations

Copyright © 2001-2024 Andreas Parsch

1 Canadian Aircraft Designation System

2 Designation Listing

3 Sources

1 Canadian Aircraft Designation System

Since 1968, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) use standardized aircraft designations.

Examples: C C - 144 A    Challenger-600
C F - 116 CF-5
C F - 101 B Voodoo
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5)

(1) All designations start with "C", standing for "Canada".

Following the initial C is the type letter (2), describing the purpose of the aircraft. The current letters are essentially a subset of the type letters used by the current U.S. system:

Note: The "U" category is a relatively recent addition. "U" probably stands for "UAV", but this is unconfirmed.

In earlier versions of the system, more letters were defined, most of which were never used. The ones that were, but are now obsolete, are:

The number (3) is a three-digit number. There is only one numbering sequence for all aircraft types. A number, which has been allocated to one aircraft, will not be re-allocated to another one later, even if the original allocation has been cancelled. The numbers are not necessarily allocated in sequence, but are instead often chosen to "match" another designation (like manufacturer's or U.S. military) of the aircraft. The type number is also used as the first three digits of the five- or six-digit serial number. Variants of an aircraft for a different purpose retain the number, but use a different type letter. E.g., the Electronic Support Trainer version of the CC-144A Challenger-600 is called CE-144A Challenger-EST. However, the allocation of a new type letter is not done very often, only if the aircraft is significantly altered.

An optional suffix letter (4) may follow the designation, to distinguish between different versions of a type. Letters are assigned alphabetically, omitting I and O. Some letters are reserved for special purposes:

(5) Most aircraft types have an official "Popular Name" assigned. As can be seen from the above CF-116 example (with a popular name of CF-5), this popular name doesn't have to be a proper name ;-)!

2 Designation Listing

Designation Popular Name Manufacturer Model; Remarks
CF-100 Canuck Avro Canada C.100
CF-101B Voodoo McDonnell F-101B
CF-101F Voodoo McDonnell TF-101B, F-101F
(102) not assigned (to avoid confusion with Avro Canada C-102 Jetliner)
(103) not assigned (reserved for proposed Avro Canada "CF-103")
CF-104 Starfighter Canadair CL-90 (license-built Lockheed F-104 Model 683-04-12)
CF-104A Starfighter Lockheed Model 183-92-02 (single-seat F-104)
CF-104D Dual Starfighter Lockheed Model 583-04-15 (two-seat F-104); Mk 1 (Dual Training Aircraft), Mk2 (Dual Operational Aircraft)
CF-105 Arrow Avro Canada project cancelled, designation not reused
CC-106 Yukon Canadair CL-44-6
CP-107 Argus Canadair CL-28-1 (Argus 1), CL-28-2 (Argus 2)
CC-108 Caribou DeHavilland Canada DHC-4/4A Caribou 1/1A/1B
CC-109 Cosmopolitan Canadair CL-66B; license-built Convair CV-440
CSR-110 Albatross Grumman G-111 (U.S. designation: HU-16)
CF-111 Starfighter Canadair/Lockheed original designation of CF-104
CT-111(?) Firefly Slingsby T67C3 (U.S. designation: T-3); Note: The CT-111 designation is most probably not officially allocated to the Firefly!
CH-112 Nomad Hiller UH-12E (U.S. designation: OH-23 Raven)
CH-113 Labrador Boeing-Vertol 107.II-9 (U.S. designation: CH-46)
CH-113A Labrador Boeing-Vertol 107.II-28; orignally named Voyageur
CT-114 Tutor Canadair CL-41A
CC-115 Buffalo DeHavilland Canada DHC-5A
CF-116 CF-5 Canadair CL-219-1A10; license built Northrop F-5A; originally named Freedom Fighter
CF-116D CF-5D Canadair CL-219-1A17; license built Northrop F-5B
CC-117 Falcon Dassault-Breguet Falcon 20C
CH-118 Iroquois Bell Model 205 (U.S. designation: UH-1H)
CO-119   Cessna Model 305 (U.S. designation: L-19A/E) and Model 182; although different designs, both models became CO-119
CT-120 Chipmunk DeHavilland Canada DHC-1B
CP-121 Tracker DeHavilland Canada G-103; license-built Grumman S2F/S-2 Tracker
CP-122 Neptune Lockheed P2V/P-2
CC-123 Otter DeHavilland Canada DHC-3; originally designated CSR-123
CSR-123 Otter DeHavilland Canada original designation of CC-123
CH-124 Sea King Sikorsky S-61A (U.S. designation SH-3); also CH-124A, CH-124B and CH-124C
CH-125   Vertol Model 42 (U.S. designation: H-21)
CH-126   Sikorsky S-58 (U.S. designation: H-34)
CH-127   Vertol Model 44 (similar to Model 42)
CT-128 Expeditor Beech C18S (Mk 1/2), D18S (Mk 3); U.S. designations: C-45B (MK 1), UC-45F (Mk 2)
CC-129 Dakota Douglas C-47/C-47A/C-47B/R4D-1
CC-130B/E/H Hercules Lockheed C-130B/E/H
CC-130J Hercules Lockheed Martin C-130J
CC-130NT Hercules Nav Trainer Lockheed C-130E
CX-131   Canadair CL-84-1
CC-132 Dash 7 DeHavilland Canada DHC-7 Series 102/103
CT-133 Silver Star Canadair CL-30; license-built Lockheed T-33 (T-33AN)
CT-134 Musketeer Beech Musketeer C23-19
CT-134A Musketeer II Beech Sundowner C23
CH-135 Twin Huey Bell Model 212 (U.S. designation: UH-1N)
CH-136 Kiowa Bell Model 206A (U.S. designation: OH-58A)
CC-137 Boeing 707 Boeing Model 707-347C
CC-138 Twin Otter DeHavilland Canada DHC-6-300
CH-139 Jetranger Bell Model 206B-III
CP-140 Aurora Lockheed Model 285B (U.S. designation: P-3 Orion)
CP-140A Arcturus Lockheed Model 285L (U.S. designation: P-3 Orion)
CC-141 Starlifter Lockheed C-141; order was cancelled
CC-142 Dash 8 DeHavilland Canada DHC-8-102
CT-142 Dash 8 Nav Trainer DeHavilland Canada DHC-8-102
CH-143 BK 117 Eurocopter (MBB) BK 117A-3D
CC-144A Challenger-600 Canadair CL-600/600S
CE-144A Challenger-IEST Canadair CL-645 (based on CL-600S); IEST = Interim EW Support Trainer
CP-144A Challenger-CP Canadair CL-646 (based on CL-600S); CP = Coastal Patrol; program cancelled
CX-144A Challenger-X Canadair based on CL-600S
CC-144B Challenger-601 Canadair CL-601-1A
CE-144B Challenger-ARS Canadair based on CL-600S; ARS = Airborne Receiver System (for ELINT gathering)
CC-144C Challenger 604 Canadair CL-604
CE-144C Challenger-EST Canadair based on CL-600S; EST = EW Support Trainer
CC-144D Challenger 650 Canadair CL-650
CT-145 King Air Beech King Air 200
CE-145C Vigilante Beech King Air 350ER MAISR (Manned Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance)
CH-146 Griffon Bell Model 412CF
CH-147 Chinook Boeing-Vertol BV-173 (U.S. designation: CH-47)
CH-147D Chinook Boeing-Vertol CH-47D
CH-147F Chinook Boeing-Vertol CH-47F
CH-148 Petrel European Helicopter Industies EH 101 (Anti-Submarine); order cancelled
CH-148 Cyclone Sikorsky H-92
CH-149 Chimo European Helicopter Industies EH 101 (Search and Rescue); order cancelled
CH-149 Cormorant European Helicopter Industies EH 101 Series 511 (Search and Rescue); similar, but not identical to original Chimo version
CC-150 Polaris Airbus A310-304 MRT
CC-150T Polaris Airbus A310-304 MRTT
(151...154) (not yet assigned)
CT-155 Hawk BAE Hawk 115
CT-156 Harvard II Raytheon/Beech T-6A-1 Texan II
(157...159) (not yet assigned)
CU-160 Eagle IAI/EADS Eagle-1 UAV
CU-161 Sperwer SAGEM Sperwer UAV
CU-162 Vindicator Meggitt Vindicator UAV
CU-163 Altair General Atomics Altair UAV
(164) (not yet assigned)
CU-165 Scan Eagle Boeing Insitu MQ-27 ScanEagle
(166) (not yet assigned)
CU-167 Silver Fox Advanced Ceramics Research Silver Fox UAV
CU-168 Skylark ELBIT Skylark mini-UAV
CU-169 Maveric Prioria Robotics Maveric micro-UAV
CU-170 Heron IAI Heron UAV
CU-171 Super Hauler Bruce Tharpe Engineering Super Hauler UAV
CU-172 Blackjack Boeing Insitu RQ-21A Integrator
CU-173 Raven AeroVironment RQ-11B Raven B
(174) (not yet assigned)
CU-175 Puma AeroVironment RQ-20
CU-176 Gargoyle UMS Skeldar V-200
CC-177 Globemaster III Boeing C-17A
CH-178   Mil Mi-17-V5 (Mi-8TV5)
(179...187) (not yet assigned)
CF-188 CF-18A McDonnell Douglas Model 267A (U.S. designation: F/A-18A Hornet)
CF-188B CF-18B McDonnell Douglas Model 267B (U.S. designation: F/A-18B Hornet); originally planned designation was CF-188D CF-18D
(189...294) (not yet assigned)
CC-295 Kingfisher Airbus Model C295
(296...329) (not yet assigned)
CC-330 Husky Airbus Model A330 MRTT

3 Sources

[1] Jeff Rankin-Lowe and Andrew Cline: "The Aircraft of the Canadian Armed Forces"
[2] R.W.R. Walker: Canadian Military Aircraft Serial Numbers

Comments and corrections to: Andreas Parsch

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Last Updated: 4 March 2024