phonetic ABCs for many languages
February 14, 2003 8:44 AM   Subscribe

Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliet, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, Xray, Yankee and Zulu. Now I know my NATO phonetic ABCs, next time won't you sing with me?
posted by iconomy (30 comments total)
foxtrot uniform charlie kilo bravo uniform sierra hotel.
posted by quonsar at 8:46 AM on February 14, 2003

There you go.
posted by iconomy at 8:47 AM on February 14, 2003

posted by machaus at 8:49 AM on February 14, 2003

Bravo Foxtrot Delta.
Sierra Foxtrot Whiskey.
posted by Ayn Marx at 8:53 AM on February 14, 2003

I need some clerance, Clarence. Roger, Roger. What's your vector, Victor? Over.

posted by bondcliff at 8:54 AM on February 14, 2003

You are, of course, aware of the burgeoning controversy as to whether the phonetic alphabet actually starts off with "able, baker, charlie ..."

To keep both versions (and many more) straight, here's a nice summary in table form.
posted by yhbc at 8:55 AM on February 14, 2003

it's hot in the poor places tonight.

this post made possible by jeff tweedy.
posted by pxe2000 at 8:57 AM on February 14, 2003

so why is "tango uniform" a synonym for dying?
posted by konolia at 8:58 AM on February 14, 2003

T.U. = "Tits up"
posted by yhbc at 8:59 AM on February 14, 2003

No, I don't know why I know these things.
posted by yhbc at 9:00 AM on February 14, 2003

It's all just FoxtrotUniformBravoAlphaRomeo where I'm at all day long.
posted by Shane at 9:08 AM on February 14, 2003

I always wondered why, periodically, my boss would start saying men's names when giving me bizarre alpha numeric codes. I always assumed it was repressed homosexuality and a tic.

Andrea, Betsy, Caroline, Debra...
posted by goneill at 9:13 AM on February 14, 2003

code word at our office - Charlie Foxtrot =Cluster Fuck.

I'm also reminded of what I think was a cheech and chong bit that involved some radio chatter that began "Able Baker Charlie to Charlie Fucks Dogs. Do you read me?"
posted by pejamo at 9:25 AM on February 14, 2003

I can still hear Chong saying "Yeah, man, the whole platoon's wiped out." Not dead, of course, just stoned immaculate.
posted by alumshubby at 9:41 AM on February 14, 2003

I've always loved this alphabetic shorthand more than is surely natural, and in the spirit of the whole thing, for MeFi and MeTa, I'd like to suggest future use of the exclamatory comment:


- Tango Alpha Zulu
posted by taz at 9:43 AM on February 14, 2003

Equally as useless stuff:

Arizona.....Aircraft is out of anti-radiation missiles.
Bandits.....Enemy aircraft spotted, give also position.
Break.....Sudden high-G maneuver in a specified direction.
Buddy Spike.....Radar lock on friendly target.
Buster.....To fly maximum speed.
Check Six.....Look behind you.
Clean and Naked.....No enemy in radar, no spikes on the RWR.
Clear to Target.....Proceed to the target and attack.
Commit.....Order to intercept enemy aircraft.
Continue Briefed.....You are to continue your mission as briefed.
Cover.....A cover role and protect your leader.
Dakota.....Aircraft out of AG ordinance.
Dry Feet.....Entering friendly territory.
Ebony.....Bombs Released On Target.
Escape.....Order to disengage, give also a direction to proceed.
Extend.....Order to set a turn to a specific bearing using Max Power.
Fox - One SARH missile launch.
Fox - Three AMRAAM missile launch.
Fox - Two IR missile launch.
Foxtrot Whiskey.....Something wrong, I will exit and be back again if I can.
Fuel Check.....Say your Fuel on board.
Guns.....Using Cannon against enemy aircraft.
Heading.....Current heading of the aircraft
In.....Approaching the target.
Joker.....Fuel on board is just what needed to go back and then divert to alternate.
Juliet Sierra.....All pilots missed their targets.
Kansas.....Aircraft out of AA ordinance.
Leveling.....Approaching Level off altitude.
Lucky.....Target Hit.
Midnight.....Send by AWACS when it can’t provide functions.
Music.....ECM is active.
Nevada.....Aircraft out of Maverick missiles.
Out.....Just exited the target area.
Print.....Radar contact is identified.
Push.....Change radio channel, say also the radio channel number.
Rejoin.....Order to aircraft of the formation to go back in position.
Rifle.....Maverick has been fired.
Run.....Order to set a turn to a specific bearing using Military Power
Rush.....Multiple groups of enemy aircraft closing from different bearings.
Say Again.....Repeat your last call.
Second.....Proceed for the alternate target.
Shooter/Cover.....Light lead will attack designated target, while wingman covers.
Shooter/Shooter.....Both lead and wing attack to designated target.
Skosh.....Out of active radar missiles.
Slapshot..... HARM fired to ground target.
Smart.....Paveway has been released.
Smoke OFF.....Toggle the smoke off
Smoke ON.....Toggle the smoke on
Sniper.....Fire HARM to ground target at emitting radar.
Sofa.....Abort Mission and proceed Home.
Spaghetti.....Pilot calling is engaged in a furball.
Spike.....Unknown, friendly or Enemy radar lock. Give also direction and type.
Splash One.....Pilot has shot down an aircraft.
Status Check.....Check your system and report malfunctions.
Sunrise.....AWACS has begun providing functions.
Tally.....Bogey or target has been spotted.
Tango Uniform.....Something is broken or not functioning.
Trespass.....Friendly flight have entered enemy SAM threat ring.
Tumble Weed.....Pilot has no situational awareness.
Weapons Check.....Check aircraft weapons and report quantities.
Wet Feet.....Entering enemy territory.
Wilco.....I Will Comply with your order.
Winchester.....Aircraft is out of weapons.
Zombie.....Unidentified aircraft spotted, give also position.
posted by sharksandwich at 10:22 AM on February 14, 2003

Spaghetti.....Pilot calling is engaged in a furball.

I'm certain I'm not thinking of the right thing.
posted by dazed_n_confused at 10:41 AM on February 14, 2003

I've always loved the Navajo coded alphabet, Tkin Moasi A-Kha, and the story behind it.
posted by vacapinta at 11:00 AM on February 14, 2003

During Vietnam the 2nd Ranger Battalion had an interesting acronym for the qualities they wanted in a solier

Excellence ....and
Sense of Humor
posted by jonmc at 11:20 AM on February 14, 2003

One of the ways I eked tiny bits of fun out of the phone tech support job I had years ago was to make up phonetic ABCs on the fly when saying serial numbers. You know, pick a theme, like presidents or animals. Reagan Bush Kennedy Jefferson zero six two five.

Man was I ever desperate.
posted by furiousthought at 11:23 AM on February 14, 2003

That is not the NATO phonetic alphabet, it is the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) phonetic alphabet, as any student pilot knows.

One thing that NATO and the ICAO have in common is that as organizations created by international treaty, they get to use my favorite (and probably the least well-known) TLD, .int.
posted by anser at 12:21 PM on February 14, 2003

er, uh, International Civial Aviation Organization :)
posted by anser at 12:22 PM on February 14, 2003

I think the USN still uses Yoke and Zebra vice Yankee and Zulu when designating material conditions for watertight integrity on its ships. The hatches have big Xs, Ys and Zs on their labels so you know which ones to open or "secure and dog down" (shut).
posted by alumshubby at 1:13 PM on February 14, 2003

pxe2000—You beat me to it ;).
posted by Utilitaritron at 1:37 PM on February 14, 2003

I always wondered where "Wilco" came from, thanks SharkSandwitch.
posted by ssmith at 2:00 PM on February 14, 2003

Of course, if you really wanted to make use of the phonetic alphabet, there’s an applescript available (one I originally downloaded thinking it would be something based on that other IPA).
posted by sherman at 3:31 PM on February 14, 2003

Arthur Betty Charlie David Edward Frederick George Harry
Isaac Jane Kate Lucy Mary Nellie Olive Peter Queen Robert
Simon Thomas Union Violet William X-Ray York Zero

South African contribution (circa 1965.)

Utterly arbitrary contribution. Apologies in advance
posted by Hypnerotomachia at 5:15 PM on February 14, 2003

Uhhhh, roger that, bravo foxtrot. To sow additional confusion, there's always this.

Now I'm off to see Charlie Victor Romeo.
posted by adamgreenfield at 12:11 AM on February 15, 2003

When I was a kid I found a 45 RPM record my Dad had from the ICAO (I guess) that was meant to teach the phonetic alphabet to spanish speakers (he used to work in radio aeronautics). Form me it was the coolest thing. Ever since I've know it by heart.
We also had a 45 with recordings from the Apollo 11 mission, that's the kind of household we were

posted by golo at 5:41 AM on February 15, 2003

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