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Many people have exciting call signs that give them character. Sometimes, these call signs are inspired by nicknames that a person has or their favorite video game. Other times, people get the idea to give themselves an excellent sounding call sign that reflects who they are and how they want others to see them.
But there is one type of military call sign which makes it into the news more than any other- air force fighter jets from the United States and other allied countries will often use catchy names for their planes such as ‘Raptor,’ ‘Cobra,’ and even ‘Darth Vader’s Death Star.’ These names aren’t just used to inspire the pilots and their colleagues but are also an integral part of the machine. There is no secret behind these names, and there’s no particular meaning behind them- they are assigned to each aircraft based on their role in the US Air Forces.
However, there are two types of fighter jets whose names do have a meaning— the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II. Both these planes have received scientific names, yet both continue to be called by their respective call signs by their pilots. The reason behind this is not known as it is very intriguing. Often, if a person is given a name that has a meaning, they are given a call sign to set the mood of the relationship between them.
No evidence proves that this is true in the case of fighter jets- there are no accounts of scientists or military experts having shown any appreciation for names that have special meanings behind them. On the other hand, it is also true to say that many terms are used by pilots who have sense behind them, and thus, it seems as if this phenomenon of assigning names with meaning has developed over time to give these pilots an identity.
The Cool Military Call Signs List
- Gray Ghost
- The Nephilim
- The Grim Reaper
- The Blue Devils
- The Badlanders
- The Black Widows
- The Legion
- The Iron Fist
- The Bone
- The Chaparral
- The Wolfpack
- The Wolves
- The Mambas
- The Red Eagles
- The Warthogs
- The Bulldogs
- The Mammoths
- The Eagles
- The Jokers
- The Thunderbolts
- The Dragonslayers
- The Black Knights
- The Sunliners
- The Black Falcons
- The Warhawks
- The Sea Griffins
- The Golden Dragons
- The Demon
- The Silver Eagles
- The Pride of the Sky
Banshee is an attack aircraft used by the United States Air Force. One of its roles is to help F-16 fighters destroy tanks, buildings, and other ground targets that threaten the US military. Their role is clear from their name, which means ‘a fairy or female spirit in Irish folklore who cries before someone’s death.
The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit Bomber is a heavy bomber used by the US Air Force. It has been given the nickname ‘Gray Ghost’ because it can be tough to find at night as it has a special anti-radar coating and 12 special shaped stealth antennas that hide its radar signature. It can carry nuclear and conventional weapons and has been used in the war on terror. It is also the most expensive bomber in the world.
The F-22 Raptor is a stealth fighter that can fly at supersonic speeds and be first introduced into service in 2005. The name comes from ‘the offspring of the Biblical giants,’ which were evil creatures called upon to fight for God by Moses. The story of the Nephilim is told twice in the Bible, and the term refers to a race of supernatural beings that were often described as giants. Its call sign comes from its role in fighting other allied forces and enemy targets in the air and on land.
The Grim Reaper
The Boeing EA-18 Growler is an attack aircraft created to respond to modern fighters. It can detect threats long before they come near its base and disrupt radio communication with its enemies. They are also equipped with technology that allows them to see radar signatures to protect friendly units by locating enemy units trying to avoid detection via stealth measures.
The Blue Devils
The Russian Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker Fighter is an attack aircraft that can detect approaching enemy forces 400 miles away. It has a display system that works in three dimensions to give the pilot a 24/7 all-weather capability. This makes it hard for enemy forces to surprise them since ‘blue devils’ have capabilities of detection that help them get the upper hand over their enemies.
The US military used the Bell AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter before retiring. The name comes from the story of a group of American soldiers who were sent to South Africa to battle the Bolsheviks in World War 2. They were known as ‘badlands,’ They fought against strong enemies like German tanks and other armored fighting vehicles. It also signifies how they can fight enormously even while outnumbered, as they are trained to fight when surrounded by enemies.
The Black Widows
The Russian Sukhoi Su-30 Flanker is a highly maneuverable fighter jet that the Russian Air Force has used for more than 15 years. It flies at higher speeds than usual aircraft due to its advanced aerodynamics. ‘Black Widows’ represent black widow spiders as they are known for their venom and lethal poison, making them a serious threat to any enemy who comes near them.
The F-22 Raptor is an F-15 variant fighter jet first introduced in 2005 as the F-22A. It was later upgraded to the F-22B in 2007, and finally, it received its final upgrade in 2011 when it was called the F-22 Raptor, which means ‘The Legion.’ The word ‘legion’ comes from its role in fighting enemy forces’ groups and helping save allies’ lives.
The Iron Fist
The F-16 Viper is an aircraft used for Air-to-Air combat that can be armed with various weapons, including air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, air-to-surface missiles, and rockets. It was first introduced in 1976 and was first known as the F-16A/B or called ‘Viper.’ The name ‘Iron Fist’ is believed to come from the feeling of being safe when they are in the pilot’s hands and that they can be used to strike against any enemy forces with accuracy.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is an all-purpose jet fighter introduced into service between 2006 and 2010. Despite not being fully operational, it has already participated in war after flying attacks over Syria in 2014-15. Its name comes from the bone inside human vertebrae known as the ‘vertebral body.’
The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit is a heavy bomber. Its primary function is to carry out attacks against ground targets by dropping bombs and missiles on them. It can also be used as the strike carrier of other fighter jets. The aircraft is nicknamed ‘Chaparral’ which means ‘sharp and quick’ in Spanish, referring to its speed and agility despite having a large wingspan.
The Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon is an all-purpose fighter jet first produced in 1970 as the F-16A/B but later upgraded to become more powerful with better performance. ‘Wolfpack’ is said to be a name used in the US Air Force by young officers similar in their status and capabilities.
The American MQ-1 Predator drone is equipped with state-of-the-art technology to support soldiers on the ground in the war against ISIS. Its name comes from its role as a ‘wolf’ so that it can hunt down any enemy targets and then disable them before they can get away.
The Russian Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker is an all-purpose fighter jet used by the Russian Air Force for more than 30 years. It is known as the ‘Mamba’ because it can hunt down enemy forces and attack them without hesitation like the snake.
The Red Eagles
The Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker is an all-purpose fighter jet used by the Russian Air Force for more than 15 years. It was first deployed in service in 1995, and since then, it has been used by the Russian military to protect its airspace from enemy forces and combat them if necessary.
The A-10 Thunderbolt II is a ground support aircraft first introduced into service in 1981 and continues to be used despite being an old plane due for a replacement. The word ‘Warthog’ refers to a person growing a beard or someone who has a rough appearance. This was first given as an insult, but then it turned into a term of endearment which signifies how the forces of the US Air Force were attached to their old plane that could make quick turns and saves the lives of their allies. Many people have taken it upon themselves to be like their favorite aircraft by getting tattoos on their bodies with images inspired by them.
The F-35 Lightning II is an all-purpose aircraft that is still in development. The name ‘Bulldog’ was given to the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom because it can perform well with its small size and be devastating when attacking enemy forces.
The Sikorsky MH-60 Black Hawk is a multi-purpose helicopter used by military personnel and commercial companies like Bell Helicopter to carry out rescues, troop transports, and resupply missions. It was first used in Vietnam, making it one of the most valuable military helicopters used by the US Air Force. It is called ‘Mammoth’ since it carries people and heavy loads and high lift capacity.
The F/A-18E Super Hornet is a multi-role aircraft used by the US Navy and Marine Corps to carry out airstrikes. In addition, it can be used as an anti-ship fighter jet and shoot down enemy aircraft before they could get close enough to attack its allies. The name ‘Eagle’ comes from the symbol of the US Air Force, which has a bald eagle perched on top and looking towards the sky with one foot on top of an American flag.
The F-22 Raptor is an all-purpose strategic fighter jet used by the US Air Force to defend its airspace from enemy attacks and attack ground targets located far away from the conflict zone. It is called ‘Joker’ since it can make quick turns and be agile despite having a large wingspan.
The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is an all-purpose fighter jet introduced into service in 2005 as the F-22A but later upgraded to become more powerful with better performance and efficiency. Its name ‘Thunderbolt’ comes from the World War II era when US Air Force pilots used P-47 fighter jets to attack German soldiers and their tanks in the conflict.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is an all-purpose plant still in development. It has a highly advanced computer operating system that allows it to carry out its mission easily by working with other machines such as aircraft, helicopters, ships, and submarines. It was named the ‘Dragon Slayer’ since it can easily track down enemy forces before destroying them without giving them any chance of retaliation.
The Black Knights
The Boeing F-15 Eagle is an all-purpose fighter jet that was first introduced into service in 1975 and continues to be used despite being an old plane that is due for a replacement. Black Knight’s name stems from the American comic book character ‘Black Knight.’ The Black Knight was one of the most powerful knights who wore a suit of armor made from a unique material that could deflect and absorb any attack. He also wields a massive sword and can fly.
The Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon is an all-purpose fighter jet used by the US Air Force for over 30 years. It was first introduced in service in 1984 and continues to be a vital part of its operations due to its ability to respond quickly and accurately to threats. It is called ‘Sunliner’ because it can travel great distances along the horizon.
The Black Falcons
The Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrum is a multi-purpose fighter jet first produced in the late 1970s and used by many countries worldwide, including Russia, India, Sri Lanka, and others. It is called ‘Black Falcon’ since it is equipped with state-of-the-art technology to carry out covert missions and protect its airspace from enemy attacks.
The Boeing AH-64 Apache is a multi-purpose helicopter that has been in service since the 1980s. It was first introduced into service in 1984 and is used for military and civilian purposes like rescue missions, medical evacuations, and search and rescue missions. Its name ‘Warhawk’ comes from the symbol of the US Army, which is an American bald eagle with one foot on top of an American flag while it holds a bundle of olive branches in its mouth with one paw.
The Sea Griffins
The Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk is a multi-purpose helicopter first used in 2005 to replace older helicopters in use by the US Navy. It is called ‘Sea Griffin’ because it can be used at sea on ships, submarines, and other naval vessels.
The Golden Dragons
The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is an all-purpose strategic fighter jet introduced in 2005 after the F-117 Nighthawk was retired from service. It has a lot of similarities to the F-117 but also has new advancements which allow it to perform its functions better than ever before. Its name ‘Golden Dragon’ comes from the symbol of the US Air Force, which has a golden dragon with four legs and wings perched on top of a globe in flight.
The Rockwell B-1 Lancer is a long-range bomber introduced into service in the 1980s and continues to be used today. The name ‘Demon’ comes from the symbol of the US Air Force, which has a red demon with large wings and a tail perched on top of an American flag and holding a lightning bolt in one hand.
The Silver Eagles
The Beechcraft AT-38B Talon is a twin-engine training plane introduced into service by the US Air Force in 1993 and other countries such as Malaysia and Morocco. Its name came from the symbol of the US Air Force, which has an eagle and a talon with feathers in flight while resting on top of an American flag.
The Pride of the Sky
The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range bomber introduced into service in 1955 and continues to be used for military purposes today. Its name ‘Pride of the Sky’ comes from the symbol of the US Air Force, which has a red and white American flag with several wings and black tail feathers on top.
The Final Call
Many of the planes on my list are still in use in the 21st century. Still, for some other aircraft no longer used by military forces worldwide, their names will continue to be used by different industries and be given meaning. These names can also be used as learning tools for young students or students interested in aircraft to educate themselves on all types of planes. Or perhaps you are simply looking for a great nickname for your next video game session. Regardless, hopefully you found what you need and thank you for reading.