What does TBM stand for?

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by Aramis, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. Aramis

    Aramis Member

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    Hello, guys... I know this question sounds a little stupid. But, I've been studying about Grumman Avenger and I wanted to find out what TBM stands for. What I've found so far is that TBF means TORPEDO BOMBING FIGHTER and indicates the Avenger models built by Grumman. I also know that TBM indicates those Avenger made by Goodyear. But, does the acronym TBM mean anything?
     
  2. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Not quite, TB Means Torpedo Bomber. The F or the M are for who manufactured it. F means it was made by Grumman. M means it was made by General Motors (it was actually Eastern Aircraft, a division of GM). No way something that big and slow could be classified as a fighter.
     
  3. Catch22

    Catch22 Well-Known Member

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    Eric's got it. F was Grumman, and G was Goodyear, such as FG-1 (Goodyear built Corsair). U was Vought (F4U Corsair), D was Douglas (SBD Dauntless), and C was Curtiss (SB2C Helldiver). I believe North American was J.
     
  4. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    The Navy designation system in WWII seems cryptic, and in some ways, it kind of is, but every digit means something. I have been meaning to write it up for some time.
     
  5. Catch22

    Catch22 Well-Known Member

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    It's a somewhat strange system, as not every letter matches the manufacturer. Do you know what company had V for instance, in order for Vought to not have it?
     
  6. Aramis

    Aramis Member

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    Thanks a lot Evangilder. I really got mixed up with all those letters! Well, I think it would be easier and clearer if it was spelled TB-M and TB-F, since the first two letters signifies the type of the aeroplane and the last letter the manufacturer itself. In the case of the Devastador, is it correct to say that TBD simply means TORPEDO BOAT DESTROYER?
     
  7. Catch22

    Catch22 Well-Known Member

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    No, that's incorrect. It means Torpedo Bomber Douglas. I listed a few companies above.
     
  8. Catch22

    Catch22 Well-Known Member

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    Here's a few examples:

    F4U: Fighter, 4th from manufacturer, Vought

    F6F: Fighter, 6th from manufacturer, Grumman

    SB2C: Scout Bomber, 2nd from manufacturer, Curtiss

    SBD: Scout Bomber, Douglas
     
  9. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I am going to post this write up I just did in a separate thread, but here is some help with the designations:

    US Navy aircraft designations used between 1939 and 1945 are kind of cryptic and confusing, but every digit in the designation has meaning. Not all components of the designation are used for all aircraft, which adds to the confusion. Hopefully, this will help make it more clear.

    Basic components of the designation system

    1. Special Class or Prefix
    This was used for aircraft that had special purposes. There were only three types in the special class.

    X Experimental classification
    L Gliders
    H Helicopters

    2. Aircraft Type or Class
    This was the main identifier of the types of duties or missions that the aircraft would perform. There are several in this classification.

    A Ambulance
    B Bomber
    BT Bomber-Torpedo
    F Fighter
    G Single-engined Transport
    H Hospital
    J Utility
    JR Utility Transport
    N Trainer
    O Observation
    OS Observation-Scout
    P Patrol
    PB Patrol-Bomber
    R Transport
    S Scout
    SB Scout-Bomber
    SN Scout-Trainer
    SO Scout-Observation
    TB Torpedo-Bomber
    TD Target Drone
    TS Torpedo-Scout

    3. Manufacturer's Type Sequence
    If this was the first of the type, no number was included. If there were multiple manufacturer types, a number great than 2 would be insterted between the Aircraft Type and the manufacturer code.

    4. Manufacturer Codes
    This is where things can get a little fuzzy, as some manufacturers were glider manufacturers with designations used for non-glider production. There are also times when designations were used for multiple manufacturers. I will denote which ones were for gliders.

    A Allied Aviation Corporation (gliders)
    A Brewster Aeronautical
    B Beech
    B Boeing
    B Budd Manufacturing
    C Culver Aircraft Corp.
    C Curtiss Aeroplane Motor Co.
    D Douglas Aircraft Corp., McDonnell Aircraft Corp. in 1942
    D Radioplane Corp. (drones)
    E Edo Aircraft Corp.
    E Gould Aeronautical Corp. (gliders)
    E Piper Aircraft Corp.
    E Pratt-Read (gliders)
    F Fairchild Aircraft, Ltd. Canada
    F Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp.
    G Goodyear Aircraft Corp.
    G A.G.A. Aviation Corp. (gliders)
    H Hall-Aluminum Aircraft Corp.
    H Howard Aircraft Co.
    H Snead and Co. (gliders)
    J North American Aviation Corp.
    K Fairchild Aircraft Corp.
    K Kaiser Cargo, Inc. Fleetwings Div.
    K Nash-Kelvinator Corp.
    L Bell Aircraft Corp.
    L Columbia Aircraft Corp.
    L Langley Aviation Corp.
    M Glenn L. Martin Co.
    M General Motors Corp. Eastern Aircraft Division
    N Naval Aircraft Factory
    O Lockheed Aircraft Corp. Plant B
    P Piper Aircraft Corp. (gliders)
    P P-V Engineering Forum (later became Piasecki, Vertol)
    P Spartan Aircraft Co.
    Q Bristol Aeronautical Corp. (gliders)
    Q Fairchild Engine Airplane Corp.
    R Aeronca Aircraft Corp. (Army TG-5 gliders)
    R American Aviation Corp. (gliders)
    R Brunswick-Balke-Collender Corp.
    R Interstate Aircraft Eng. (drones)
    R Ryan Aeronautical Co.
    S Schweizer Aircraft Corp. (gliders)
    S Sikorsky Aviation Corp.
    S Stearman Aircraft Co. (became Boeing-Wichita in 1939)
    S Supermarine
    T Taylorcraft Aviation Corp. (Army TG-6 gliders)
    T Northrop Aircraft, Inc.
    T Timm Aircraft Corp.
    U Chance Vought Corp.
    V Lockeed Aircraft Corp. Vega Plant A
    V Canadian Vickers, Ltd.
    V Vultee Aircraft, Inc. (became part of Consolidated as Convair, code Y, in 1942)
    W Waco Aircraft Corp. (gliders)
    W Canadian Car Foundry Co., Ltd.
    Y Consolidated Aircraft Corp. (became Convair in 1942)

    5. Sub-type or Configuration
    This would be a -number designation to denote changes in design, minor and major. These would not necessarily be sequential, as some design changes were not placed into production.

    6. Special Use or Equipment Suffix
    This is like the "Catch-all" designation for any special equipment that is added to the aircraft. Again, some of the designations can be used for multiple special equipment.

    A Miscellaneous modification
    A Armament on normally unarmed aircraft
    A Arresting gear on normally non-carrier aircraft
    A Amphibian
    A Procured from Army
    B Miscellaneous modification
    B Special armament
    B British version
    C* Arrester gear added
    C Reinforced for catapulting
    C Cannon armament
    CP Trimetrogen camera
    D* Drop tanks
    D Special search or early radar
    E Electronic equipment
    F Flagship conversion
    G Coast Guard version
    G* Guns on normally unarmed aircraft
    H* Hospital conversion
    J* Special weather equipment
    K Drone conversion
    L Winterized
    L Searchlight carrier
    N Night fighter
    P Photographic
    R Support aircraft
    R Transport conversion
    S Anti-submarine
    U Utility
    W Special search or radar
    Z Administrative version

    So to put the above into perspective, lets look at an example. We will use Terry's favorite, the Wildcat.

    F4F-3
    F=Fighter
    4=Fourth fighter produced by this manufacturer
    F=Grumman
    -3= Revised version of the initial F4F.

    SNJ-6B
    SN=Scout-Trainer
    J=North American
    -6=Revision 6 of the original production model
    B=Miscellaneous equipment or Special Version or British Version

    Once you get the hang of it, you can decrypt the designations and figure out what it does, who made it, and other information.
     
  10. Catch22

    Catch22 Well-Known Member

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    Great list Eric!
     
  11. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I cribbed it from some notes I had from multiple sources. It should be fairly complete, but there is always a surprise somewhere. ;)
     
  12. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Nice Eric, thanks!
     
  13. Aramis

    Aramis Member

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    Gentlemen... you guys are truly a walking aviation enclyclopedia!!! Maan!
     
  14. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Excellent post, Eric!

    The U.S. Navy designation system is almost as bad is the Imperial Japanese (army and navy) designations...have you ever thought about putting together a database for all nations to decode thier aircraft (either native manufacturered or aquired/purchased) designations?
     
  15. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Tactical ballistic missile
     
  16. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Yeah, I have thought about it, but that's a huge undertaking. Just getting all of the US Navy stuff together was bad enough. The IJA and IJN would be great to have, but that would be a pretty big task alone. Maybe one of these days I may tackle it.
     
  17. T Bolt

    T Bolt Well-Known Member

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    Great info Eric! I've already filed it away in my reference files.
     
  18. TimEwers

    TimEwers Member

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    Totally Big Melons when referring to certain female parts.
     
  19. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    The Japanese used a similar system for their aircraft in WWII

    A6M2 Zero

    A = Carrier Fighter
    6 = 6th Type
    M = Mitsubishi
    2 = 2nd version of design
     
  20. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Wasn't there something about a year in the Japanese designations as well?
     
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