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USN Ship Designations

Warships in the United States Navy were first designated and numbered in system originating in 1895. Under this system, ships were designated as "Battleship X", "Cruiser X", "Destroyer X", "Torpedo Boat X" and so forth where X was the series hull number as authorized by the US Congress. These designations were usually abbreviated as "B-1", "C-1", "D-1", "TB-1," etc. This system became cumbersome by 1920, as many new ship types had been developed during World War I that needed new categories assigned, especially in the Auxiliary ship area. On 17 July 1920, the designation system was revised so that all ships were now designated with a two letter code and a hull number, with the first letter being the ship type and the second letter being the sub-type. For example, the destroyer tender USS Melville, first commissioned as "Destroyer Tender No. 2" in 1915, was now re-designated as "AD-2" with the "A" standing for Auxiliary, the "D" for Destroyer (Tender) and the "2" meaning the second ship in that series. Ship types that did not have a subclassification simply repeated the first letter. So, Battleships became "BB-X" and Destroyers became "DD-X" with X being the same number as previously assigned. Ships that changed classifications were given new hull numbers within their new designation series.

The designation "USS" standing for "United States Ship" was adopted in 1907. Prior to that time, no designation was used in official documents.

It should be noted that in the United States Navy, unlike European Navies, the first ship in a class to be authorized by the US Congress is the designated class leader (class name ship), regardless of the order in which the ships of that class are laid down, launched or commissioned. For example, contrary to many European texts, for the last class of "Standard" battleships, the battleship USS Colorado BB-45 (commissioned 30 August 1923) is the class leader under USN designation standards, not USS Maryland BB-46 (commissioned 21 July 1921). These battleships are thus properly designated as being "USS Colorado BB-45 Class" and not as "USS Maryland BB-46 Class." This list includes current US Ship designations - US Navy, Coast Guard, and Army.

Designations in italics are no longer carried by active ships, but are commonly seen nonetheless.

USS = United States Ship (Naval vessel manned by military personnel)
USNS = United States Naval Ship (Vessel manned by civilian crew)
USCGC = United States Coast Guard Cutter
MTS = Moored Training Ship (ex SSBNs converted to training hulks)

Non self propelled craft are marked with an asterisk (*)


CVN Nuclear Powered Aircraft Carrier CV Aircraft Carrier CGN Nuclear Power Guided Missile Cruiser CG Guided Missile Cruiser DDG Guided Missile Destroyer DD Destroyer FFG Guided Missile Frigate FF Frigate SSBN Nuclear Powered Ballistic Missile Submarine SSN Nuclear Powered Submarine

Other Combatants, Patrol Boats and Landing Craft

LCC Command Ship [Joint Command Ship] AGF Flagship [Joint Command Ship] LHD Amphibious Assault Ship LHA Amphibious Assault Ship LPH Amphibious Assault Helicopter Carrier LKA Amphibious Cargo Ship LPD Amphibious Transport Dock LSD Dock Landing Ship LST Tank Landing Ship AOE Fast Combat Support Ship AOR Replenishment Oiler AE Ammunition Ship AFS Combat Stores Ship AO Fleet Oiler MCS Mine Countermeasures Support Ship MCM Mine Countermeasures Ship MHC Coastal Minehunter PC Coastal Patrol Craft LCAC Air Cushion Landing Craft LCM Mechanized Landing Craft LCPL Large Personnel Landing Craft LCU Utility Landing Craft LCVP Vehicle and Personnel Landing Craft SDV Swimmer Delivery Vehicle SLWT Side Loading Warping Tug


ACS Crane Ship AD Destroyer Tender AG Miscellaneous Auxiliary AGM Missile Range Instrumentation Ship AGOR Oceanographic Research Ship AGOS Ocean Surveillance Ship AGS Surveying Ship AGSS Experimental Submarine AK Cargo Ship AH Hospital Ship AKR Roll-on/Roll-off (Vehicle) Cargo Ship AOG Gasoline Tanker AOT Transport Oiler ARC Cablelayer ARS Salvage Ship AS Submarine Tender ASR Submarine Rescue Ship ATF Fleet Tug ATS Salvage Tug AVB Aviation Logistics Support Ship

Support Craft

AFDL Small Floating Drydock (*) AFDM Medium Floating Drydock (*) ARDM Medium Repair Dock (*) APL Floating Barracks (*) DSRV Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle DSV Deep Submergence Vehicle IX Unclassified Miscellaneous NR Nuclear Powered Research Submersible (unofficial designation) TWR Torpedo Retriever (unofficial designation) YC Lighter (*) YCF Car Float (*) YCV Aircraft Transportation Lighter (*) YD Floating Crane (*) YDT Diving Tender YF Covered Lighter YFB Ferry YFN Covered Lighter (*) YFNB Large Covered Lighter (*) YFND Dry Dock Companion Craft (*) YFNX Special Purpose Lighter (*) YFP Power Barge (*) YFRT Range Tender YFU Harbor Utility Craft YGN Garbage Barge (*) YLC Salvage Lift Craft (*) YM Dredge YNG Gate Craft (*) YO Oil Barge YOG Gasoline Barge YOGN Gasoline Barge (*) YON Oil Barge (*) YOS Oil Storage Barge (*) YP Seamanship Training Craft YPD Pile Driver (*) YR Repair Barge (*) YRB Repair and Berthing Barge (*) YRBM Repair, Berthing, and Messing Barge (*) YRDH Hull Repair Barge (*) YRDM Machinery Repair Barge (*) YRR Radiological Repair Barge (*) YRST Salvage Craft Tender (*) YSR Sludge Removal Barge (*) YTB Large Tug YTL Small Tug YTT Torpedo Trials Craft YWN Water Barge (*)

Coast Guard

WHEC High Endurance Cutter WMEC Medium Endurance Cutter WPB Patrol Boat WAGB Icebreaker WIX Training Ship WLB Seagoing Buoy Tender WLM Coastal Buoy Tender WLI Inland Buoy Tender WLIC Inland Construction Tender WLR River Buoy Tender WTGB Large Icebreaking Tug WYTL Small Harbor Tug


BC Cargo Barge (*) BCDX Enclosed Barge (*) BD Floating Crane (*) BG Liquid Cargo Barge (*) BK Cargo Barge (*) BPL Elevating Pier (*) BR Refrigerated Barge (*) FB Ferry FMS Marine Repair Shop (*) J Small Work Boat LARC Amphibious Cargo Lighter LCM Mechanized Landing Craft LCU Utility Landing Craft LCV Vehicle Landing Craft LT Large Tug Q Work Boat ST Small Tug T Inshore Transport

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