Each country and military-political bloc has its own system of designating its own and enemy equipment. Most often, the names for the cars are chosen by the designers themselves. At the same time, the methods for determining the index designations can be very different. In some cases, they seem completely confusing and incomprehensible. Today we will try to deal with domestic armored vehicles.
Any designation of military equipment consists of two parts, less often of three. The first part is the letter designation. Everything here is extremely simple and obvious. For ground vehicles, simply use the first letter of the word denoting it, or an abbreviation for the first letters of a phrase or a compound word meaning a combat vehicle. For example, "T" is a tank, "BMP" is an infantry fighting vehicle, "BTR" is an armored personnel carrier, MLRS is a multiple launch rocket system, and "SU" is a self-propelled artillery unit. Sometimes the letter designation can be combined from the names of several cars. For example, the Soviet ISU-152: its letter designation was made up of IS (tank Joseph Stalin) and SU - self-propelled artillery unit.
In some cases, the names of ground vehicles also have a third part, a kind of "corporate" name of a particular vehicle. It can be both official and unofficial "popular". Examples of such names can be considered "Katyusha", "Grad", "Acacia", "Peony", etc. After the letter designation and before the formal name, there is a second important designation element - the digital index of the car model. And this is where the fun begins.
When you look at the digital indexes of the designation of any domestic military equipment, several questions arise of approximately the same property: "How are the numbers deciphered?", "Is there any logic here?", "Is there a pattern in the choice of a digital index?" Answering the first two questions, we can say “yes” twice: all indexes are somehow decrypted and they always have logic. But there is no consistent pattern in the choice of indices. There are no GOSTs, no iron rules, and therefore the numbers can be selected for a variety of reasons. The easiest way to explain this is with specific examples.
Option one: numbers in order of indices. Each project of a combat vehicle has its own factory index, thanks to which the designers are guided in the numerous production documentation. In the early USSR, this method was used to designate many cars. For example, the T-19 tank of 1929, the T-26 tank of 1931, the T-30 tank of 1929, the T-34 tank of 1940.
Option two: figures for the caliber of the main gun. Everything here is simple and straightforward. As examples, we can recall the SU-85, SU-76, PT-76, as well as variants with the combined names T-34-76 and T-34-85, where 76 and 85 are the calibers of the guns, and 34 is the factory index of the tank.
Option three: the numbers in sequence within the machine series. There are not very many such machines and they are found mainly as exceptions. The simplest and most familiar example is the heavy Soviet tanks "Klim Voroshilov" and "Joseph Stalin": KV-1, KV-2, flamethrower modification MK-8, IS-1, IS-2, IS-3.
Option four: Figures by year of creation or year of production. There is hardly any need for clarification here. Here are some examples: T-44 from 1944, T-62 from 1962, T-72 "Ural" from 1972, T-90 from 1990, T-14 "Armata" from 2014.
Option five: numbers from an increase of "10". This method was used for some time in the Soviet Union to designate new generations of the same type of machines. For example, T-44 and T-54 are vehicles of the same project from 1944 and 1946; T-40 and T-60, and T-70 - one family from 1939, 1941, 1943.
Continuing the topic, read about tanks T-34: what was the difference between the combat vehicles produced at different enterprises.