Author Topic: Obfuscation by Designation  (Read 1855 times)

Offline Proponent

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Obfuscation by Designation
« on: 04/05/2024 07:57 pm »
At Peenemünde, the proposed winged A4 rocket originally designated A9 was rechristened as the A4b to up its priority in the competition for increasingly scarce resources as Germany's position in World War 2 deteriorated.

In the US about 15 year later, some Redstone missiles were re-designated either Jupiter-A or Jupter-C to heighten bureaucratic priority through linkage to the Jupiter IRBM then under urgent development.

In both cases, the perpetrator was the von Braun team. While I have no doubt that von Braun was a particularly gifted master of bureaucratic warfare, there must be other examples of this kind of thing in the space business. Can anybody name any?

P.S. Also associated with von Braun were the HUNTSVILEX and PATHFINDERX/PATHSIDERX codes for numbering Redstones and Jupiters, respectively. Did these too confer bureaucratic advantage, or were they merely amusing baubles?

Offline sdsds

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Re: Obfuscation by Designation
« Reply #1 on: 04/06/2024 02:59 am »
HUNTSVILEX was certainly mild obfuscation, in the form of an easy-to-decode substitution cipher:
  1234567890
  HUNTSVILEX


Forum participants likely know the theory that, rather than being for amusement, they prevented the unaware from easily determining serial numbers.

As a modern example of something similar to the Jupiter-A and -C designations: the Intuitive Machines Nova-C carries a payload of 100 kg, while Nova-D will carry 500 kg. It's a roman numeral cipher: C = 100 ; D = 500. Looking forward to the Nova-M, or maybe -MD.
« Last Edit: 04/06/2024 03:36 am by sdsds »
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: Obfuscation by Designation
« Reply #2 on: 04/06/2024 01:53 pm »
The military does this all the time. Delta IV has no real lineage to the earlier Deltas, but got the designation to hide the fact that it was a new rocket. Atlas V is the same.

The Soviets used to designate almost everything they put in orbit as "Cosmos" to hide the mission.

The Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion helicopter bears almost no commonality with the previous versions.

I think there is a really egregious US non-space example, but I cannot think of it right now.

There are undoubtedly dozens more examples.
« Last Edit: 04/06/2024 01:54 pm by Blackstar »

Offline Thorny

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Re: Obfuscation by Designation
« Reply #3 on: 04/06/2024 02:40 pm »

I think there is a really egregious US non-space example, but I cannot think of it right now.

There are undoubtedly dozens more examples.

U-2?
Some variants of the Republic F-84 were so different from the original F-84, they should have had new designations, but didn't.
F-117 Nighthawk "Stealth Fighter" was not a fighter. It should have had an A- designation.
« Last Edit: 04/06/2024 02:42 pm by Thorny »

Online DanClemmensen

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Re: Obfuscation by Designation
« Reply #4 on: 04/06/2024 03:17 pm »
I think there is a really egregious US non-space example, but I cannot think of it right now.
Zumwalt class destroyers are much larger than all other destroyers and cruisers. Not really a destroyer at all. (Not really a viable warship at all, but that's another story.)

Online mandrewa

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Re: Obfuscation by Designation
« Reply #5 on: 04/06/2024 03:59 pm »
The military does this all the time. Delta IV has no real lineage to the earlier Deltas, but got the designation to hide the fact that it was a new rocket. Atlas V is the same.

The Soviets used to designate almost everything they put in orbit as "Cosmos" to hide the mission.

The Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion helicopter bears almost no commonality with the previous versions.

I think there is a really egregious US non-space example, but I cannot think of it right now.

There are undoubtedly dozens more examples.

Long March

There are dozens of almost completely unrelated rockets whose names begin with Long March.

Starlink

China is calling one of its upcoming megaconstellations Starlink.

Offline yuebai

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Re: Obfuscation by Designation
« Reply #6 on: 04/06/2024 04:12 pm »
The military does this all the time. Delta IV has no real lineage to the earlier Deltas, but got the designation to hide the fact that it was a new rocket. Atlas V is the same.

The Soviets used to designate almost everything they put in orbit as "Cosmos" to hide the mission.

The Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion helicopter bears almost no commonality with the previous versions.

I think there is a really egregious US non-space example, but I cannot think of it right now.

There are undoubtedly dozens more examples.

Long March

There are dozens of almost completely unrelated rockets whose names begin with Long March.

Starlink

China is calling one of its upcoming megaconstellations Starlink.

The full name of this project is G60 Starlink. I have to admit that some Chinese companies are not good at naming. ,But if you want to distinguish it, just call it "G60 xinglian" in pinyin.And i guess ,This will not be the only Chinese satellite internet project with the word "starlink" in its name. so,maybe “xinglian”is a good word

Offline Jim

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Re: Obfuscation by Designation
« Reply #7 on: 04/06/2024 05:43 pm »
Discoverer
Solarad
DSP
DSAP

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Obfuscation by Designation
« Reply #8 on: 04/06/2024 05:44 pm »
U-2?
Some variants of the Republic F-84 were so different from the original F-84, they should have had new designations, but didn't.
F-117 Nighthawk "Stealth Fighter" was not a fighter. It should have had an A- designation.


Those are valid, but I'm thinking there's an example of an American aircraft that was entirely new, but given the same designation as a previous aircraft to hide its newness.

The Soviet Union did this too. The Tu-22M Backfire bomber is not related to the earlier Tu-22.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Obfuscation by Designation
« Reply #9 on: 04/06/2024 05:48 pm »
I think there is a really egregious US non-space example, but I cannot think of it right now.
Zumwalt class destroyers are much larger than all other destroyers and cruisers. Not really a destroyer at all. (Not really a viable warship at all, but that's another story.)

I think there's wiggle room in there. US Navy warship designations are now more often based upon how the ship is used than its size. There was a plan to have a separate class designated as cruiser. I won't quibble about Zumwalts not being viable, however. I never see anything about them deploying to hot zones or with a fleet, so I don't know what they're really doing.

If we wanted to go the warship route, there's a huge controversy over how Japan designates ships as "destroyers" even though they have helicopter carriers that are now being modified to carry F-35s. But I saw a discussion of that once that implied that this was as much an issue about how Japanese gets translated into English as it is about any effort to obscure that the ships are not actually destroyers.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Obfuscation by Designation
« Reply #10 on: 04/06/2024 05:50 pm »
Discoverer
Solarad
DSP
DSAP

Those are good. "Support" was such a vague term. But wasn't Solrad the description of the actual science mission? (For those who are unfamiliar, there was both a science mission on the satellites and a signals intelligence mission.) Yes, GRAB was the classified mission, and Solrad obscured that, but I don't think it was an outright lie, like Discoverer was.
« Last Edit: 04/06/2024 06:57 pm by Blackstar »

Offline Emmettvonbrown

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Re: Obfuscation by Designation
« Reply #11 on: 04/06/2024 06:59 pm »

I think there is a really egregious US non-space example, but I cannot think of it right now.

There are undoubtedly dozens more examples.

U-2?
Some variants of the Republic F-84 were so different from the original F-84, they should have had new designations, but didn't.
F-117 Nighthawk "Stealth Fighter" was not a fighter. It should have had an A- designation.

TR-1   Also A-12 OXCART and SR-71. None of these designations make sense in the great order of the post-1962 designation system. Only YF-12 makes some sense. And don't start me on D-21 / M-21.

In France we have Dassault and the Mirage III extended family. The names makes no sense at all - Mirage V then Mirage 5 then Mirage 50.
Same for the Falcons. Or the Mirage 2000 / 4000.

Offline Thorny

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Re: Obfuscation by Designation
« Reply #12 on: 04/06/2024 09:07 pm »
Those are valid, but I'm thinking there's an example of an American aircraft that was entirely new, but given the same designation as a previous aircraft to hide its newness.

Maybe the 1940s/50s FJ Fury? Fury has a weird history, in that the FJ led to the Air Force's far superior F-86 Sabre. Then the Navy applied the F-86's lessons and navalized it into the FJ-2 and FJ-3 Fury, but by then they were almost totally different designs. F9F-3 Panther and F9F-5 Cougar was similar, but somewhat less drastic a redesign. Even the totally different F11F Tiger was called F9F-8 for a while.


Offline LittleBird

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Re: Obfuscation by Designation
« Reply #13 on: 04/07/2024 08:28 pm »
Discoverer
Solarad
DSP
DSAP

Those are good. "Support" was such a vague term. But wasn't Solrad the description of the actual science mission? (For those who are unfamiliar, there was both a science mission on the satellites and a signals intelligence mission.) Yes, GRAB was the classified mission, and Solrad obscured that, but I don't think it was an outright lie, like Discoverer was.

I think DMSP Block 5D is another ... iirc you wrote about how this was a deliberate ploy to make Block 5D sound like a small step from 5C ? … or was it to make Block 5D2 seem like a small step from 5D1 ?
« Last Edit: 04/08/2024 03:20 pm by LittleBird »

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