Hull Classification Symbols, NATO



NATO has adopted a hull classification system that is used primarily for communications and comparison purposes since most NATO navies (with the exception of the US and Canada) use a pennant system for individual ship identification. NATO and US hull classification symbols are broadly similar, in both cases consisting of a 2-4 letter designator which identifies the ship type and its main role or armament. The main difference is found in the symbols for ship types that are not used by the US Navy such as corvettes (FS), offshore patrol vessels (OPV), and light frigates (FFL). The complete list of hull classification symbols is contained in STANAG 1166 which is currently in its 8th edition (2013). Unfortunately, this document is not made available to the public and therefore the only way to reference it is through other available sources. As a result, this list is incomplete and only includes symbols known by the author to exist.

Aircraft Carriers
CV Aircraft Carrier, General
CVE Aircraft Carrier, Escort
CVG Aircraft Carrier, Guided Missile
CVH Aircraft Carrier, VSTOL/Helicopter
CVN Aircraft Carrier, Nuclear
CVS ASW Aircraft Carrier
Surface Ships
BB Battleship
CA Cruiser, Gun
CC Cruiser, General
CG Cruiser, Guided Missile
CGH Cruiser, Guided Missile, Helicopter
CGN Cruiser, Guided Missile, Nuclear
DD Destroyer, General
DDE Destroyer, Escort
DDG Destroyer, Guided Missile
DDH Destroyer, Helicopter
FF Frigate, General
FFG Frigate, Guided Missile
FFH Frigate, Helicopter
FFL Frigate, Light
FFT Frigate, Training
FS Corvette
FSG Corvette, Guided Missile
OPV Offshore Patrol Vessel
PC(F) Patrol Craft, General (Fast)
PG Patrol Ship, General
PG(F) Patrol or Gunship (Fast)
PG(G) Patrol or Gunship (Guided Missile)
PHM Patrol Hydrofoil, Guided Missile
PT(H) Patrol/Torpedo Boat, Hydrofoil
SS Submarine, General
SSA Submarine, Missile
SSBN Submarine, Ballistic Missile, Nuclear
SSC Submarine, Coastal
SSG Submarine, Surface Missile
SSGN Submarine, Surface Missile, Nuclear
SSI Submarine, Inshore
SSK Submarine, Patrol
SSN Submarine, Attack, Nuclear
Amphibious Warfare
LCAC Landing Craft, Air-Cushion (Hovercraft)
LCC Amphibious Command Ship
LCP Landing Craft, Personnel
LCM Landing Craft, Mechanized
LCT Landing Craft, Tank
LCU Landing Craft, Utility
LCVP Landing Craft, Vehicle/Personnel
LHA Amphibious Assault Ship, General
LHD Amphibious Assault Ship
LL Amphibious, General
LPA Amphibious Transport, Personnel
LPD Amphibious Transport, Dock
LPH Amphibious Assault Ship, Helicopter
LSD Landing Ship, Dock
LSM Landing Ship, Medium
LSR Landing Ship, Rocket
LST Landing Ship, Tank
Mine Warfare
MCM Mine Countermeasures
MLC Minelayer, Coastal
MHC Minehunter, Coastal
MHI Minehunter, Inshore
MHO Minehunter, Ocean
MHS Minehunter and Sweeper, General
MM Mine Warfare, General
MSC Minesweeper, Coastal
MSI Minesweeper, Inshore
MSO Minesweeper, Ocean
AA Auxiliary, General
AE Ammunition Ship
AD Destroyer Tender
AH Hospital Ship
AK Cargo Ship
AO Oiler
AOE Fast Combat Support Ship
AOR Replenishment Oiler
AP Personnel Transport
AR Repair/Maintenance Ship
AS Submarine Tender
ATS Aviation Training Ship
AVG Auxiliary Aircraft Ferry


Last modified: 20 January 2023