Exceptions to the NATO phonetic alphabet

In the 1920s, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) produced the first phonetic alphabet to be recognized internationally. It featured names of cities across the globe.

Amsterdam, Baltimore, Casablanca, Denmark, Edison, Florida, Gallipoli, Havana, Italia, Jerusalem, Kilogramme, Liverpool, Madagascar, New York, Oslo, Paris, Quebec, Roma, Santiago, Tripoli, Uppsala, Valencia, Washington, Xanthippe, Yokohama, Zurich.

Two years later, the British Royal Air Force decided to use the Able Baker alphabet as well.

Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog, Easy, Fox, George, How, Item, Jig, King, Love, Mike, Nan, Oboe, Peter, Queen, Roger, Sugar, Tare, Uncle, Victor, William, X-ray, Yoke, Zebra

The new Phonetic Alphabet is to be made effective in NATO 1 March 1956” . The ITU formally adopted it a few years later making it the established universal phonetic alphabet governing all military, civilian and amateur radio communications. As it was NATO Allies who had spearheaded the final revision, it became known from that point on as the NATO Alphabet.

NATO phonetic alphabet
A—Alpha B—Bravo C—Charlie D—Delta E—Echo F—Foxtrot G—Golf H—Hotel I—India J—Juliet K—Kilo L—Lima M—Mike N—November O—Osca P—Papa Q—Quebec R—Romeo S—Sierra T—Tango U—Uniform V—Victor W—Whiskey X—X-ray Y—Yankee Z—Zulu

Exceptions to the NATO phonetic alphabet

👳🏻‍♂️ 👉Delta becomes Data, Dixie or David at airports with  high Delta Air Lines traffic, to avoid confusion with the airline’s callsign.

👳🏻‍♂️👉Lima becomes London in Brunei, Indonesia,  Malaysia  and Singapore, where “lima” means five.

👳🏻‍♂️👉Whiskey becomes White or Washington in Muslim  countries where alcohol consumption is banned.

👳🏻‍♂️👉India becomes Indigo or Italy in Pakistan due  to  ongoing conflicts with India.

Author: TECH SINGH Urs


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