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Names of Fighting Equipment

You would expect fighting vehicles and missiles to be given names related to war, with connotations of violence, retribution and vengeance - and by and large this is true. There are a few strange exceptions, however.


From the British Army equipment page we see:

Armoured fighting vehicles

Challenger warrior Bulldog
Stormer Scimitar Spartan
Snatch Viking Vector
Jackal Mastiff Panther

Engineering equipment

Titan Shielder Terrier
Trojan Python  


Apache Lynx Gazelle
Watchkeeper Desert hawk  
  • Find the meanings of any words you are unclear about.
  • Define some categories of words in which to group these names.
  • Explain the significance of the names of each group.
  • Repeat the exercise with a selection from the list of missiles below.


Matador Hornet Maverick
Minuteman Chapparal Poseidon
Falcon Viper Dragon
Bulldog Harpoon Polaris
Hound dog Perseus Firefly
Stinger Trident Sidewinder
Thor Titan Shelduck
Roadrunner Petrel Mauler
Skybolt Spartan Firebolt
Dagger Thunderbolt Tomahawk
Firebrand Hunter Outlaw
Ripper Hellfire  

"shelduck" and maybe "chapparal" seem odd ones out from the list above. Why?
Look into the classical references as well as the connotations given to animals.

A similar list of UK missile names include
Bloodhound, blowpipe, firestreak, storm shadow, thunderbird, firecat etc
These are very much in the same vein as the violent connotations of the US missiles. However the UK list also includes
"Fairey Stooge", "Green Cheese", "Sea Slug"

There are in fact perfectly rational reasons for these names. Do a little research to find the origins of thses names.


 See also