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UK Callsigns of the mid-1980s

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KarlADrage
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UK Callsigns of the mid-1980s

Post by KarlADrage » Sat Mar 27, 2021 9:36 am

Inspired by the excellent post down the page about callsigns used by the F-111s of RAF Upper Heyford's 20th TFW, I wonder if anybody is able to assist with similar lists for some other bases for a project I'm working on, please?

Alconbury used to be my regular haunt as a child, and I remember SALEM, STEAD, BARON and HIFLY all being regularly heard in the RF-4C/F-5E/TR-1 era. Were there any others?

Also very interested in 81st TFW (PIRATE is one that sticks out in the memory), Coningsby (SCORCHER/TORCH for 229 OCU, but struggling to recall any Phantom callsigns?), Wattisham (presume 56 used FIREBIRD?), Marham, Binbrook, Cottesmore (COT was obviously the main one, but I can't remember any formation callsigns) and 48th TFW (I think a substantial number of current ones were in use back then, too, but a definitive list would be amazing!)....

Any help gratefully appreciated, please! MTIA! :thumb:

shuck
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Re: UK Callsigns of the mid-1980s

Post by shuck » Sat Mar 27, 2021 2:54 pm

I have AMITE, BADGER, STAG, TREST, ZORRO for the F-4D's at Lakenheath between 1972-1977.

KarlADrage
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Re: UK Callsigns of the mid-1980s

Post by KarlADrage » Sat Mar 27, 2021 3:50 pm

Thanks, Shuck! BADGER and STAG definitely ring bells as F-111 era-callsigns as well - possibly TREST, too.

Andy Marden
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Re: UK Callsigns of the mid-1980s

Post by Andy Marden » Sat Mar 27, 2021 6:22 pm

Here's a few from my time at Scottish (Mil), so Dec84-Dec87:

Cottesmore: COLT
4 FTS: JESTER
Lakenheath: GYPSY, JAZZ, SPEED
1 CAG: TIGER, YOGI, plus KIWI (CT-133s)
57 FIS: BANDY
81 TFW: BOAR
32 TFS: WOLF

KarlADrage
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Re: UK Callsigns of the mid-1980s

Post by KarlADrage » Sat Mar 27, 2021 7:37 pm

Cheers, Andy!

You've reminded me of a couple more regular visitors: 57 FIS = ARNO, 26th TRW = UTAH, 36th TFW = EAGLE (very original)

Vulcan74
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Re: UK Callsigns of the mid-1980s

Post by Vulcan74 » Sun Mar 28, 2021 11:04 am

For the RAF it was either tri-graph eg EFN-26 or tactical R7L-52. RAF Buccaneer formations = Jackel, Joker. Not sure what the rest of the RAF fleet used back then for formations!

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nugget20
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Re: UK Callsigns of the mid-1980s

Post by nugget20 » Sun Mar 28, 2021 4:01 pm

A few callsigns from the 60s onwards. These are as I heard them so may not be totally correct - American accents aren't always easy to decipher!

20TFW F-100 Busby
66TRW F-101 Gem
57TFS F-4E Cold
32TFS F-4E Racer
52TFW F-4 Rhino, Sock
81TFW A-10 Boar, Rocky
10TFW A-10 Dusty
52TFW A-10 Atilla, Cajun, Pitbull, Swine

KarlADrage
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Re: UK Callsigns of the mid-1980s

Post by KarlADrage » Sun Mar 28, 2021 7:52 pm

Thanks very much, both!

Malcolm
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Re: UK Callsigns of the mid-1980s

Post by Malcolm » Sun Mar 28, 2021 10:36 pm

Mildenhall KC-135's were Dobey
Fairford KC-135's were Lager, and the command post was Three-Geese.

KarlADrage
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Re: UK Callsigns of the mid-1980s

Post by KarlADrage » Mon Mar 29, 2021 6:06 pm

Thanks, Malcolm! I think we thought Mildenhall's were DOLBY! Live and learn! :D

Focal_Plane
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Re: UK Callsigns of the mid-1980s

Post by Focal_Plane » Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:44 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 10:36 pm
Mildenhall KC-135's were Dobey
Fairford KC-135's were Lager, and the command post was Three-Geese.
Pretty sure Mildenhall`s callsign was "Dobby" as shown in the photo on Page 6 of this article. Tankers TDY from Keflavik usually arrived in the UK as "Mogas 50".

https://www.alessandrozucchelli.it/PDF/IAT85.PDF
Focal Plane Photography - The one, the original......

Malcolm
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Re: UK Callsigns of the mid-1980s

Post by Malcolm » Tue Mar 30, 2021 8:34 am

Focal_Plane wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:44 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 10:36 pm
Mildenhall KC-135's were Dobey
Fairford KC-135's were Lager, and the command post was Three-Geese.
Pretty sure Mildenhall`s callsign was "Dobby" as shown in the photo on Page 6 of this article. Tankers TDY from Keflavik usually arrived in the UK as "Mogas 50".

https://www.alessandrozucchelli.it/PDF/IAT85.PDF
I sit corrected - never seen it written down, and over the radio is could sound like Dobey, Dobby, Dolby.

C-130E/H's detached to Mildenhall used "Old".
C-23's were "Pokey".
E-3's detached to Kef were "Outway"

KarlADrage
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Re: UK Callsigns of the mid-1980s

Post by KarlADrage » Tue Mar 30, 2021 10:15 am

Good stuff, gents, thanks! OLD and POKEY bring back lots of memories. Don't remember OUTWAY, but E-3s were super rare for us.

PS + AXE for the 10th ACCS.

shuck
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Re: UK Callsigns of the mid-1980s

Post by shuck » Tue Mar 30, 2021 10:40 am

USAFE A-10A's from Alconbury, Bentwaters and Woodbridge used ...

AIR, BACON, BARN, BISON, BLUE, BOAR, BUZZARD, CHIP, CLIPPER, COBRA, COMO, DUSTY, DYLAN, FOXY, GUNHOG, HAWG, HOG, IGLOO, KILO, MANLY, MURE, PANSY, PIRATE, PORK, RADAR, RENO, RIFLE, ROCKY, SANDY, SKULL, SLAM, SNAPPER, SPONG, SWINE, TRAIT, UGLY, VULTURE, WOMP

KarlADrage
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Re: UK Callsigns of the mid-1980s

Post by KarlADrage » Wed Mar 31, 2021 6:44 am

Excellent again, Shuck! Thank you! Lots of them ring bells!

KarlADrage
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Re: UK Callsigns of the mid-1980s

Post by KarlADrage » Fri Apr 02, 2021 11:15 am

Have dug out the following 48th TFW callsigns from the '80s from various sources so far (including some above - again, thank you! :-) ) :

AUSTIN, CUPPY, BADGER, STAG, GYPSY, JAZZ, SPEED, DUSTY, RAIDER, CHEVY, HAMMER, RAMROD, STAG, BARBER, BOLAR. Anybody able to put squadrons to them? Also, ZUNI & BOSOX were definitely early Liberty Wing F-15E callsigns. Did they only come in with the switch to the Strike Eagle?

A few others from elsewhere:

81st TFW additions to Shuck's list above: SALTY, DRAGO

And some continental-based USAFE jets that were regular visitors....

26th TRW: UTAH, WHACK
32nd TFS: PISTOL, WOLF
50th TFW: RICO, COUGAR, TALON
52nd TFW: BOMBER, STING, WEASEL, PANTHER, BRAMAR (?), RHINO, SOCK
57th FIS: BANDY, ARNO
86th TFW: CASH, HACK
401st TFW: REBEL

Any additions/corrections/comments greatly appreciated! :-)

DickFlute
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Re: UK Callsigns of the mid-1980s

Post by DickFlute » Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:50 am

Hi Karl

In case it's of use I have the following which is a summary of RAF callsigns from my notes from around the mid to late 80s...

Aldergrove
72 Sqn Wessex - Klingon; Parker; Swallow; Swiift

Brawdy
1 TWU Hawk - Burner; Bronze; Dragon; Eagle; Falcon; Gannet; Harlech; Kestrel; Merlin; Opal; Osprey; Sabre; Silver; Tartan

Chivenor
2 TWU Hawk - Baron; Blacknight; Firefly; Gallant; Hatchet; Indigo; Kelly; Mirror; Mogul; Roman; Wizard

Church Fenton
7 FTS JP - Anthrax; Macaw; Sword; Topaz; Vega; Wagon

Coltishall
6 Sqn Jaguar - Boxer; Conga; Cresta; Havoc; Turbo
41 Sqn Jaguar - Carrick; Hotspur; Kodak; Rebel; Redbird; Viking
54 Sqn Jaguar - Blackcat; Buick; Hornet; Panther

Coningsby
5 Sqn Tornado - Carbon; Birch; Laser; Maple; Scarlet; Scorpion
29 Sqn Tornado - Buzzard; Ransack; Magpie; Triplex
228 OCU Phantom - Beetle; Focus; Scarab; Spider
229 OCU Tornado - Charger; Lucky; Maddog; Scorcher; Torch

Cottesmore
TTTE
A Sqn - Alien; Apex; Aston; Axis
B Sqn - Banshee; Blade; Brigand; Bullet
C Sqn - Chappy; Classic; Club; Colt; Condor; Cutlass
Standards Sqn - Staple; Stellar; Stiletto; Sunshine

Cranwell
RAFC JP - Apollo; Baptist; Brickbat; Cocktail; Musket; Poacher; Template; Whisky

Finningley
6 FTS
JP - Adler; Agate; Bandbox; Bass; Crow; Darley; Sparrow; Teal; Trent
Jetstream/Dominie - Alcove

Honington
TWCU Tornado - Abbot; Beta; Brandy; Cedar; Crystal; Flint; Macaw; Magnum; Mango; Minx; Mitre; Pewter

Leeming
11 Sqn Tornado - Eagle; Gamma; Nitro; Rooster; Totem
23 Sqn Tornado - Clayman; Fresco; Jacket; Razor
25 Sqn Tornado - Bebop; Chariot; Falcon; Javelin; Merlin; Tarot
Wing c/s Everest

Leuchars
43 Sqn Phantom - Blacksmith; Gamecock; Tartan
111 Sqn Phanton - Adept; Export; Scimitar

Linton
1 FTS JP - Blade; Caster; Galleon; Sabik; Toddy; Vega; Venus

Lossiemouth
8 Sqn Shackleton - Gambia; Rockfist
12 Sqn Buccaneer/Hunter - Fox; Jackal; Pirate; Vixen; Wolf
208 Sqn Buccaneer/Hunter - Chuckle; Classic; Fozzy; Gibbon; Skull
226 OCU Jaguar - Cougar; Granite; Rapier; Tiger; Wildcat
237 OCU Buccaneer/Hunter - Baton; Crook; Dagger; Spike; Wombat

Lyneham
LTW C-130s - Albatross; Brassneck; Dogfish; Dragon; Mallard; Spectre; Startrek; Turban

Marham
27 Sqn Tornado - Clyde; Jumbo; Tempest; Tribal; Trent
617 Sqn Tornado - Bengal; Blackdog; Midas; Saxon; Spartan; Trojan; Vandal

Odiham
7 Sqn Chinook - Kermit; Lifter; Starling
33 Sqn Puma - Castle; Stag; Weasel
240 OCU Chinook/Puma - Sardine
Wing (SHF) - Argus; Juggler

Scampton
CFS
Bulldog - Libra; Nomad; Rustic
JP - Blackjack; Magnet
Hawk - Hurricane; Jigsaw; Puffin; Rivet

Shawbury
2FTS Gazelle/Wessex - Dalek; Hamlet; Tolstoy

St Mawgan
42 Sqn Nimrod - Petrel

Topcliffe
1 FTS det. Bulldog - Clasic; Cordite; Fury; Lampoon

Valley
4 FTS Hawk - Bronze; Cobra; Dolphin; Drifter; Jester; Mustang; Phoenix; Puffin; Python; Snapper; Taboo; Tankard; Topper

Wattisham
56 Sqn Phantom - Adnams; Cockbird; Firebird; Warlord
74 Sqn Phantom - Doorstep; Gorgon; Thunder; Tiger; Stampede; Stingray

Wittering
1 Sqn Harrier - Bottle; Edit; Giant; Magnet; Malton; Neon; Packet; Stratum
233 OCU Harrier - Banjo; Blazer; Forage; Fondue; Format; Native; Pagan; Striker; Talent

Wyton
100 Sqn Canberra - Archer; Boneyard; Darwin; Sarang; Woodstock
231 OCU Canberra - Cheetah
360 Sqn Canberra - Bromide; Mothball; Tasman; Tinsel; Trident; Warthog
EWAU (a/c drawn from 51 Sqn & 360 Sqn as required) - Pluto

Best wishes
Last edited by DickFlute on Wed Apr 14, 2021 7:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

Focal_Plane
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Re: UK Callsigns of the mid-1980s

Post by Focal_Plane » Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:18 pm

KarlADrage wrote:
Fri Apr 02, 2021 11:15 am
Have dug out the following 48th TFW callsigns from the '80s from various sources so far (including some above - again, thank you! :-) ) :

AUSTIN, CUPPY, BADGER, STAG, GYPSY, JAZZ, SPEED, DUSTY, RAIDER, CHEVY, HAMMER, RAMROD, STAG, BARBER, BOLAR. Anybody able to put squadrons to them? Also, ZUNI & BOSOX were definitely early Liberty Wing F-15E callsigns. Did they only come in with the switch to the Strike Eagle?

A few others from elsewhere:

81st TFW additions to Shuck's list above: SALTY, DRAGO

And some continental-based USAFE jets that were regular visitors....

26th TRW: UTAH, WHACK
32nd TFS: PISTOL, WOLF
50th TFW: RICO, COUGAR, TALON
52nd TFW: BOMBER, STING, WEASEL, PANTHER, BRAMAR (?), RHINO, SOCK
57th FIS: BANDY, ARNO
86th TFW: CASH, HACK
401st TFW: REBEL

Any additions/corrections/comments greatly appreciated! :-)
A lot of the 48thTFW callsigns you have listed are still in use by the same squadrons, (see Lakenheath section), I would suggest RAMROD is a misidentification for the SOF, or whatever they call it now, as this is his callsign. BOSOX definitely pre-dates the F-15E and ZUNI used to be used by the 48thFW Stike Eagles but funnily enough was the 401stTFW`s primary c/s. Never heard CUPPY, but COPPER used to be a 495th c/s then went to the 492ndFS, I think, with the arrival of the F-15E. Years ago I saw some paperwork that showed HAMMER as being spelt HAMAR and was used for check rides whilst DEMO use to be assigned for post maintenance flights and demonstrations. This is from memory though and we`re talking 30+ years ago.

17thTRW used HI-FI
26thTRW also used to use KODAK
32ndTFS also used to use RUMBLE
50thTFW used LUCKY (313thTFS), SABRE (10thTFS) and BULL (496thTFS)
52ndTFW also used DUSTER

Binbrook Lightnings also used SCHUBERT and JIGSAW, the latter primarily for formation flights per John Wayne`s "Flying Leathernecks" (go to minute 1:10)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tA7PqYMTyhU

Don`t make`um like that any more.
Focal Plane Photography - The one, the original......

KarlADrage
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Re: UK Callsigns of the mid-1980s

Post by KarlADrage » Tue Apr 13, 2021 3:36 pm

Wow, Dick! That's awesome! Thank you so much! Apologies for the delayed response - have been busy with something else.

Thanks also, FP!

Greatly appreciated, guys!

KarlADrage
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Re: UK Callsigns of the mid-1980s

Post by KarlADrage » Thu Apr 15, 2021 4:08 pm

Gents, once again looking to bring some of this stuff together. Thank you for everything you've shared so far, but I still have more than a few gaps in my knowledge!

Trigraphs were mentioned earlier. Were they used instead of or in addition to three letter singleton prefixes, like "CTM" (later "COT"), "FYY", "VYT" etc? If instead of, when was their use dropped? What would the "FYY" equivalent have been for Binbrook, Coningsby (CGY?) and Wattisham?

Does anybody have any FRADU callsigns (Hunter/Canberra era), please?

Anything for 55 / 57 Sqns on Victors?

MTIA!

PS Focal Plane - CUPPY came to light as a 48th TFW F-111 callsign in an article about the crash of 72-1447, which was apparently CUPPY32 on the fateful flight :thumb:

PPS Anybody got any ideas about C-9A callsigns with the 55th AAS, 435th TAW in the '80s? Would they have been AIREVACs?

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