It seems that FAA requirements for any particular aircraft revolve heavily around the aircraft's type certificate. Civil aircraft are broken up into several categories based on weight or passenger count, etc. But I did not see a section on military operations.

Do military aircraft undergo type certification?

  • $\begingroup$ Military aircraft are mentioned here. $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Apr 2, 2015 at 3:00
  • $\begingroup$ good information, but i only see military surplus aircraft in that list. does that mean non-surplus military aircraft don't get type-certificated? $\endgroup$
    – Erich
    Apr 2, 2015 at 3:10
  • $\begingroup$ through a DME or AIRMAN. AFRCS $\endgroup$
    – user8190
    Apr 19, 2015 at 17:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Let me get this straight. Necktie wearing bureaucrats are going to demand many nitpicky things from airplanes and helicopters that carry big cannon, bombs and missiles $\endgroup$
    – Mike Brass
    Feb 7, 2018 at 6:13

2 Answers 2


In the US, the military is not required to obtain FAA type certificates for their aircraft; the FAA is not the authority certifying a military-registered plane's airworthiness. They have the option of accepting an FAA type certificate (which they tend to do on aircraft based on civilian ones), but they run their own certification agencies for airworthiness, which are all that matters if the plane is in the military registration system. Here's an Air Force policy on the matter, here's a Lockheed powerpoint on the option to use FAA certification on commercial derivatives.

  • $\begingroup$ > "In the US, the military is not required to obtain FAA type certificates for their aircraft" That's not entirely true, per AFPD 62-6 Section 2.2.7, USAF must obtain and maintain FAA certification for civil aircraft acquired or modified by the Air Force if the primary mission for the aircraft is the transport of passengers. For all other civil aircraft acquired or modified, USAF shall obtain and maintain FAA certification to the maximum extent practical. $\endgroup$
    – fergbrain
    Dec 5, 2019 at 5:00
  • $\begingroup$ @fergbrain Thanks. I’ll track down the other DoD standards tonight to see of there are other service policies requiring FAA approval in various cases and update the answer. $\endgroup$
    – cpast
    Dec 5, 2019 at 13:57
  • $\begingroup$ Start with FAA Order 8110.101, which is for Military Commercial Derivative Aircraft. It's essentially the cross-domain authority (between civil and military airworthiness authorities) and defines the "seam" between them. Also check out MIL-HDBK-516. $\endgroup$
    – fergbrain
    Dec 6, 2019 at 21:19

The military has their own set of certification standards for aircraft. They draw their authority from their task to provide national defense.

  • $\begingroup$ MIL-HDBK-516 is a good place to start. $\endgroup$
    – fergbrain
    Dec 5, 2019 at 5:01

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