The coding of the RAN
FAA's aircraft is basically a carry on from the old days where we
managed everything in line with the Royal Navy standards of operation.
From 1946, all RN FAA aircraft, whether at home or abroad, would carry a
3 digit fuselage code of which the first digit would denote its layout
Single seaters used 100 codes,
2 seaters used 200 codes,
3 seaters used 300 codes,
Multi engines used 400 codes,
Fleet Support (FRU) used 500 codes,
Multi engined light trainers used 600 codes,
700 codes were spare,
Communications aircraft used 800 codes,
Station flights used 900 codes,
Trials / development aircraft used 000 codes.
The RAN FAA adopted the same system when it stood up in 1948.
It continued to use a fairly similar system, changing to 900 series
codes for all 2nd Line Units in 1955, and then a whole of FAA change to
800 series codes for both 1st & 2nd Line Units in 1958.
By 1977 and into the 80's the RAN had used / were using pretty much all
available 800 codes:
Tracker (E): 840-853
Tracker (G): 844-859
Kiowa: 890, 891, 892, 896, 899
Iroquois: 893, 894, 895, 897, 898
Sea King: 901-910
Aircraft codes from, lets say 1990 to now were / are:
Squirrel (ex-Army): 801, 811, 819-824
Squirrel (Navy): 860-865
Kiowa: 890, 892, 896, 031, 032
Sea King: 902, 905, 907, 909, 910, 920, 921, 922
A-109E: 501, 505, 510
Bell 429: 047, 048, 049
MRH-90: Will operate any 6 numbered between 001-046
The exceptions to the rule have been the contractor supplied Agusta
A-109E's & Bell 429's, which have used their manufacturers numbers
(A109: 501, 505, 510; Bell 429: 047, 048, 049).
The MRH-90's do also use their manufacturer’s numbers as their side
numbers. But that has more to do with the fact that all MRH-90's are
pooled between Navy and Army, making the process of repainting airframes
a costly undertaking to reflect who they may be operating with at any
given time. Similar to why they will ALL operate in a camouflage scheme,
instead of the Navy cabs being painted grey.
MH-60R will be coded 901-924. Which is nice to see, as a good proportion
of those numbers were last used on the last ASW Helo we had with a
dipping sonar capability the mighty Sea King!
Interesting to note that 2 Kiowas were
operated towards the end of RAN Kiowa OPS with their Army codes 031 &
032, and operated at points in their Army Camo scheme. No 800 series
codes were allocated.