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kblomkvist

USAF serial number decals

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I have an interesting question to discuss with those of you who have more knowledge about the USAF and their rules of displaying serial numbers on aircraft. I understand that generally the serial number is something like AF 98-1067, AF means "Air Force", "98" means the fiscal year and 1067 is the sequential number for the specific aircraft. The question that bothers me is: which way of displaying the number is more correct for 1990s-2000s aircraft? I've seen that on the "older" USAF aircraft there's  usually a 3-digit sequential number,  e.g. AF 83-120

060315-F-2383G-013.JPG

while the most modern ones have the 4-digit sequence, such as AF 15-5202

15-5202.jpg?m=1543344491

I've made my F-23A aggressor skin pack with the 4-digit sequence painted on the tails but now I'm thinking about replacing it with the 3-digit one in order to make it look more reallistic. Any advice?

Edited by kblomkvist

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It's interesting indeed, I wonder about this too. As you may know, I'm working (together with other great modders) on a new F-22 Raptor add-on. The Raptor's serials are 3-digit, so you may want to add 3-digit decals for your YF-23. After all, both the YF-22 and YF-23 were born in the 90s in the contest of the ATF competition.

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32 minutes ago, Menrva said:

The Raptor's serials are 3-digit, so you may want to add 3-digit decals for your YF-23.

I've noticed that and I'm curious whether there's any particular rule behind it.

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From my understanding using only the 3 last digits on the tailnumber could lead to confusion (86-0234 and 86-1234 would have the same tailnumber with only 3 digits). That might be a reason. Of course that applies only, if you acquire lots of planes in a fiscal year.

I'm not that familiar with USAF. USN had their bureaunumbers and sometimes numbers were reserved for contracts, that were later canceled. The numbers were (often, maybe always) not reused. If that is the case in USAF too, then you would not need huge amounts of planes to get the scenario above.

Lot's of guesswork from my side here.

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