Phonetic Alphabets

The most widely used phonetic alphabet is the NATO phonetic alphabet.
It is also known as the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet or the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Phonetic Alphabet.

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Letter   Word Pronounced
A Alfa AL‧fah
B Bravo BRAH‧voh
C Charlie CHAR‧lee
D Delta DEL‧tah
E Echo EKK‧oh
F Foxtrot FOKS‧trot
G Golf GOL‧f
H Hotel HO‧tell
I India IN‧deeah
J Juliett  JEW‧le‧ett
K Kilo KEY‧loh
L Lima LEE‧mah
M Mike MI‧ke
N November NOH‧vember
O Oscar OSS‧car
P Papa PAH‧pah
Q Quebec keh‧BECK
R Romeo ROW‧meoh
S Sierra see‧AIR‧ah
T Tango TANG‧go
U Uniform YOU‧neeform
V Victor VIK‧ter
W Whiskey WISS‧key
X X ray EKS‧ray
Y Yankee YANG‧ee
Z Zulu ZOO‧loo

N A T O

The essential purpose of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation – aka the North Atlantic Alliance is to safeguard the freedom and security of the 28 member states through political and military means.

  • Albania
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania

It was founded on 4 April 1949 and is headquarted in Brussels.


Letter   ICU  UK Military  US Military 
A Amsterdam Ack Able AY‧buhl
B Baltimore Beer Baker BAY‧ker
C Canada Charlie Charlie CHAR‧lee
D Denmark Don Dog Dawg
E Eddystone Edward Easy EE‧zee
F Francisco Freddie Fox Foks
G Gibraltar Gee George Jorje
H Hanover Harry How
I Italy Ink Item EYE‧tem
J Jerusalem Johnnie Jig
K Kimberley King King
L Liverpool London Love
M Madagasgar Emma Mike
N Neufchatel Nuts Nan
O Ontario Oranges Oboe OH‧boh
P Portugal Pip Peter PEE‧ter
Q Quebec Queen Queen Kween
R Rivoli Robert Roger RAH‧jer
S Santiago Esses Sugar Shugar
T Tokio Toc Tare Tair
U Uruguay Uncle Uncle UHN‧kuhl
V Victoria Vic Victor VIK‧ter
W Washington William William WILL‧yam
X Xantippe X ray X ray EKS‧ray
Y Yokohama Yorker Yoke
Z Zululand Zebra Zebra ZEE‧brah
Number   Code of Signals Pronounced Word ICAO Pronounced
a decimal point Decimal DAY-SEE-MAL Decimal DAY-SEE-MAL
a full stop Stop Stop STOP
z0 Nadazero NAH-DAH-ZAY-ROH Zero ZE-RO
z1 Unaone OO-NAH-WUN One WUN
z2 Bissotwo BEES-SOH-TOO Two TOO
z3 Terrathree TAY-RAH-TREE Three TREE
z4 Kartefour KAR-TAY-FOWER Four FOW-ER
z5 Pantafive PAN-TAH-FIVE Five FIFE
z6 Soxisix SOK-SEE-SIX Six SIX
z7 Setteseven SAY-TAY-SEVEN Seven SEV-EN
z8 Oktoeight OK-TOH-AIT Eight AIT
z9 Novenine NO-VAY-NINER Nine NIN-ER
zz100 Hundred HUN-dred
zz1000 Thousand TOUS-AND

British and American armed forces had their own alphabets before both adopted the RAF Radio Alphabet, which is similar to the one used by the Royal Navy in WWI.

At least one of the code words is still used by UK citzens:
F for Freddie.

In 1941 the US adopted JAN — the Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet, also known as Able Baker.

The UK adapted its RAF alphabet during 1943 to be almost identical to the JAN.

International Civil Aviation Organisation

Following study and modifications the final version was implemented by the ICAO — the International Civil Aviation Organisation in 1956 and subsequentially by the ITU in 1959.

Because the ITU governs all international radio communications it was adopted by all radio operators, whether military, civilian, or amateur.

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