LORE (Story, Background, Character, etc.)
F(1)A through F6A - unknown
F7A - Hornet (2700's?, pre-dates the **** F7C by 'almost 2 centuries')
F8A - Lightning, 2947?
Did Anvil really develop six separate fighter designs in their first 70-odd years of existence which were accepted into UEEN use, only to then come up with the Hornet and have that still in service 200 years later?
That's not usually how it works. Assuming the numbering does indeed follow current US military practices, when the US military wants a new fighter, it sends out a bid request with a set of specs it wants the fighter to have. Bids are then put in by several manufacturers with design briefs, drawings, estimated time frames for building the prototype and for building 100 or so with a fully tooled factory and trained workforce (since they're two completely different things where time estimates are concerned), cost estimates, and a bunch of other stuff. The whole process from bid to win is not really important, but what is, is the end result. Once a design is chosen and the military signs off on it and says "This is our next fighter." Then it gets an F # designation. The F1 may not be made by the same company as the F2, or the F3 for that matter... And it's not uncommon for different branches of the military to all want new fighters at the same time, in which case you may have the F4, F5, and F6 all show up within a few months of each other and then nothing for 20 years. And sometimes jets are incorrectly numbered on purpose, as is the case for the F117 stealth fighter which is actually a light bomber, but as the military brass in charge of staffing the first jets discovered, they needed fighter pilots to fly them because of the hard turns necessary to avoid flying straight through radar sites at high speed and high G's sustained because of that, bomber pilots aren't trained for those maneuvers and couldn't fly them without a significant investment in retraining, and as the story goes, no self respecting fighter pilot would ever fly a bomber... So despite the fact it should have been given a B# designation being a light bomber and all, they gave it the F117 designation so fighter pilots would fly the damned things as soon as they were built.
When a company significantly revises a design, such as completely upgrading avionics, weapons load out capabilities, adding or removing a second seat, bigger fuel tanks, stronger engines, whatever, then you get the b, c, d following the number with the original model retroactively being assigned an a.
My 2 cents on the names/numbers:
In the case of the hornet, there have only been 2 versions that we know of. The F7 that's been in use forever by the military which has the official F7 designation, and the new civilian model that got the unofficial F7c designation by Anvil, not by the UEE (likely because civilian starts with c, not because there's a b model out there... Though there could be since the UEEN calls it the F7a and they wouldn't unless there's a reason to make a distinction between two or more models. Maybe the Marines fly the F7b Hornet.)
Also, just because the T3 Gladiator and the T8 Gladiator have the same name, doesn't mean they're the same craft. For example, Lockheed made the P-38 Lightning in WW2 (a heavy fighter), they're now making the F-35 Lightning a little more then 70 years later. P-38, F-35, not the same craft, but both fighters are made by Lockheed, and both are called Lightning. It's probably just a typo, 3 and 8 look a lot alike, but if it isn't, I wouldn't get hung up on the name, they get reused sometimes.
And lastly, remember, the UEE has 3 services, not just the Navy, and they all have their own ships. We know a fair amount about the Navy, a little bit about the Marines, and even less about the Army. Your missing ships may come from those branches, we just haven't been given the info on them yet since those branches haven't really been discussed much.
*pokes writers* need more info on other military branches.
That's great info to know. This numbering process is equally fascinating, daunting and bizarre to me, so it's all helpful stuff.
And yes, we're going to start working out some more of the nuts and bolts about the other military branches soon.
Source - Quote #7616848