Operational Terms and Graphics
Multiservice Tactical Brevity Codes
This appendix standardizes air-to-air, surface-to-air, and air-to-surface brevity code words. The scope is limited to those brevity codes used in multiservice operations and does not include words unique to single service operations. While these codes are not authoritative in nature, all services agree to their meanings. Using the codes eases coordination and improves understanding during multiservice operations. The codes are intended for use by air and ground operations personnel at the tactical level.
|Directive/informative call to cease
Directive to initiate a briefed attack sequence or maneuver.
Indicates an emitter is radiating.
Directive call to add a specific (system) or (electronic order of battle (EOB) category) to search responsibility.
|ALARM||Directive/informative call indicating the termination of emission control(EMCON) procedures.|
|Link-11/ tactical digital information link (TADIL) A.
Request for/confirmation of bearing and range to described point.
1. Orbit about a specific point; refueling track flown by tanker.
2. Informative call to indicate a turning engagement about a specific location.
|Height of friendly aircraft in thousands of feet.
No antiradiation missile (ARM) ordnance remaining.
|AS FRAGGED||Unit or element will be performing exactly as stated by the air tasking order (ATO).|
|To request or provide a response for a coded
Any communications relay using automatic retransmissions.
Two or more groups separated in bearing.
|BANDIT||A positively identified enemy aircraft. The term is a function of identification anddoes not necessarily imply direction or authority to engage.|
|BANZAI||Informative call/directive to execute launch and defend tactics.|
|BASE (Number)||Reference number used to indicate such information as headings, altitude, and fuels.|
|Last transmission potentially disclosed unauthorized
Target maneuvering (Direction) stabilized within 70 to 110 degree aspect; generally given with cardinal directions: east, west, north, or south.
|System indicated is inoperative.
Prebriefed fuel state which is needed for recovery using prebriefed parameters.
|Friendly surface-to-air missile (SAM).
Surface to Air (S/A) informative call indicating unit is able and prepared to engage a specified target with SAMs (presumes target is within or will enter the SAM engagement envelope).
|Friendly SAM has been fired at designated target.
S/A informative call indicating unit is unable to engage a specified target with SAMS. Opposite of BIRDS(AFFIRM)
|BITTERSWEET||Notification of possible BLUE ON BLUE situation relative to a designated track or friendly aircraft.|
|BLANK||A suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) aircraft does not detect any emitters of interest.|
|BLIND||No visual contact with friendly aircraft/ground position; opposite of VISUAL.|
|BLOW THROUGH||Directive/informative call that indicates aircraft will continue straight ahead at the merge and not turn with target/targets.|
|A radar or visual contact whose identity is unknown.
Request for target information as briefed/available.
Groups/contacts/formations in a square or offset square.
|BRAA||Ttactical controlformat providing target bearing, range, altitude, and aspect relative to a friendly aircraft.|
|BRACKET||Indicates geometry where friendly aircraft will maneuver to a position on opposing sides, either laterally or vertically from the target.|
|BREAK (Direction)||Directive to perform an immediate maximum performance turn in the direction indicated; assumes a defensive situation.|
|BREAKAWAY||Tanker or receiver directive call indicating immediate vertical and nose/tail separation between tanker and receiver is required.|
|BREVITY||Radio frequency is becoming saturated, degraded, or jammed and briefer transmissions must follow.|
|Request/directive to switch to broadcast control.
Loss of radar/infrared (IR) lock-on (advisory).
|BRUISER||Friendly air-launched antiship missile (ASM)( for example, HARPOON, EXOCET, PENGUIN).|
|BUDDY LOCK||Locked to a known friendly aircraft; normally a response to a SPIKE or BUDDY SPIKE call and accompanied with position/heading/altitude.|
|BUDDY SPIKE||Friendly aircraft air-to-air indication on radar warning receiver (RWR); to be followed by position/heading/altitude.|
|Separation from that particular engagement/attack/operation; no intent to re-engage/return.|
|Friendly antiship cruise missile (ASCM).
An established point from which the position of an object can be referenced; made by cardinal/range or digital format.
|BUMP/BUMP-UP||A fly-up to acquire line of sight (LOS) to the target or laser designation.|
|BURN||GLINT used to provide illumination.|
|Directive call to fly at maximum
continuous speed (military power).
Electronic communications jamming.
|CANDYGRAM||Informative call to aircraft that EW targeting information is available on a briefed secure net.|
|1. Directive call to establish an orbit at a
2. An orbit at a specified location.
|CAPTURED||Aircrew has identified and is able to track a specified air-to-ground (A/G) target with an onboard sensor.|
|In air defense, break the engagement on the target specified and prepare to engage another target. Missiles in flight will continue to intercept.|
|CEASE FIRE||Do not open fire or discontinue firing; complete intercept if weapons are in flight; continue to track|
|An attack of three distinct groups with two in front
and one behind.
Begin using briefed radio procedures to counter communications jamming.
|CHEAPSHOT||1. (USAF) Active missile supported to high pulse
repetition frequency (HPRF), but not medium pulse
repetition frequency (MPRF).
2. (Naval) Active missile not supported to active range.
|Turn ( ) degrees left or right and maintain new heading.|
|Height of a friendly aircraft in hundreds of feet.
1. No radar contacts on BANDITS, BOGIES, or aircraft of interest.
2. No visible battle damage.
3. Aircraft not carrying external stores.
|CLEARED||Requested action is authorized (no engaged/support roles are assumed).|
|Ordnance release is authorized.
Directive/informative call to switch from normal external lighting to covert night vision device (NVD) only compatible lighting.
|Decreasing in range.
1. Attack geometry will result in a pass or rollout behind the target.
2. On a leg of the combat air patrol (CAP) pointed away from the anticipated threats.
3. Group(s) heading away from fighters.
|Request for information on a (system) at a stated location: usually a request for ambiguity resolution. May be used with improved data modem (IDM) data message--COLOR, DATA.|
(Left/Right / Low/Dry)
|Directive to maneuver as indicated to either regain mutual support or to deconflict flight paths for an exchange of engaged and supporting roles; implies both VISUAL and TALLY.|
|COMMIT(TED)||Fighter intent to engage/intercept; controller continues to provide information.|
|Chaff lane or corridor.
THREAT/BOGEY aircraft leaving contrails.
1. Sensor contact at the stated position.
2. Acknowledges sighting of a specified reference point.
|CONTINUE||Continue present maneuver; does not imply clearance to engage or expend ordnance.|
|Ordnance release not authorized.
1. Directive/informative call to take S/A action or establish an air-to-air (A/A) posture that will allow engagement of a specified target or threat.
|F-pole maneuver; implies illuminating target at radar gimbal limits.|
|Directive to intercept using cutoff
Any unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
|Aircraft position within a flight. Use
if specific call sign is unknown.
Standby for IDM data message concerning (object) at stated location.
|DEADEYE||Informative call by an airborne laser designator indicating the laser/IR system is inoperative.|
|Inquiry as to the identification of a
Aircraft is in a defensive position and maneuvering with reference to thestated condition.
|Directive to maneuver to briefed
Proceed to alternate mission/base.
1. (USAF) Target stabilized at 0 to 60 degrees aspect.
2. (Naval) Target stabilized at 120 to 180 degrees aspect.
|DROP(ING)||1. Directive/informative call to stop
monitoring a specified emitter/target and resume search
|DUCK*||Tactical air-launched decoy (TALD).|
|ECHELON||Groups/contacts/formation with wingman displaced approximately 45 degrees behind leader's 3/9 line.|
|ECHO||Positive SEESAW/electronic warfare weapons system (EWWS)/ System M/Mode X reply.|
|ENGAGED||Maneuvering with the intent to kill; this implies visual/radar acquisition of target.|
|ESTIMATE||Provides estimate of the size, range, height, or other parameter of a specified contact; implies degradation.|
|Short-term maneuver to gain energy, distance, or separation; normally with the intent of re-engaging.|
|EYEBALL( )||1. Fighter with primary visual
2. Electro-optical (EO)/IR/NVD acquisition of an aircraft. Normally followed by ( ) number of aircraft observed.
|Radar contact is lost. (Termination of
track plotting is not warranted).
Target speed is estimated to be 600 knots ground speed/Mach 1 or greater.
|Tactical air navigation system (TACAN)
Flying over water/land.
Set cockpit switches as appropriate prior to entering/exiting the combat area.
|FLANK(ING)||1. (USAF) Target with a stable aspect of
120 to 150 degrees.
2. (Naval) Target with stable aspect of 30 to 60 degrees.
|FLASH (System)||Temporarily turn on prebriefed identification, friend or foe (IFF) mode or system.|
|FLOAT||Directive/informative call to expand the formation laterally within visual limits to maintain a radar contact or prepare for a defensive response.|
|FOX (Number)||Simulated/actual launch of air-to-air
ONE - semiactive radar-guided missile.
TWO - infrared-guided missile.
THREE - active radar-guided missile.
|Very high frequency (VHF)/frequency
modulated (FM) radio.
A positively identified friendly contact.
A turning fight involving multiple aircraft.
Radar or emitter equipment.
|GATE||Directive/informative call to fly as quickly as possible, using after- burner/maximum power.|
|Radar target is approaching azimuth or elevation limits.|
|Go to briefed Have Quick net.
Use unencrypted voice communications.
Directive/informative call to put on/
Large force of indeterminate numbers and formation.
Use encrypted voice communications.
|GRANDSLAM||All HOSTILE aircraft of a designated track (or against which a mission was tasked) are shot down.|
|Direction determined to be clearest of
enemy air-to-air activity.
Friendly ground attack cruise missile (for. example, Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) and Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile (CALCM).
|GROUP||Radar targets within approximately 3 nautical miles (NMs) of each other.|
|An air-to-air or air-to-surface gunshot.
High-G, energy-sustaining turn.
1. (USAF) Target with an aspect of 160 to 180 degrees.
2. (Naval) Target with an aspect of 0 to 20 degrees.
|Alert of an activity of interest.
A group known to contain three or more entities.
Between 25,000 and 40,000 feet mean sea level (MSL).
1. Air-to-air (A/A) momentary radar returns search. (Indicates approximate altitude information from fighter.)
2. Air-to-ground (A/G) weapons impact within lethal distance.
|Directive to key transmitter for
direction-finding (DF) steer.
Aircraft in visual formation.
An emergency fire control order used to stop firing on a designated target, to include destruction of any missiles in flight.
|Home airfield or carrier.
Directive to perform an in-place 180-degree turn.
A contact positively identified as enemy upon which clearance to fire is authorized in accordance with theater rules of engagement.
|HOT||1. Attack geometry will result in
rollout in front of the target.
2. On a leg of the CAP pointing toward the anticipated threats.
3. Threat group heading towards fighters; opposite of COLD.
4. Ordnance employment intended or completed.
|HOTDOG||Informative/directive call that an aircraft is approaching or at a specified stand-off distance from the sovereign airspace of a nation (as defined by national boundaries or territorial sea and airspace). (COLOR may indicate additional standoff distance.) Follow briefed procedures.|
|High frequency (HF) radio.
(Naval) Air Intercept Missile (AIM)-120 supported to HPRF active range; same as USAF CHEAPSHOT.
|ID||1. Directive to identify the target.
2. Identification accomplished, followed by type.
|IN (Direction)||Informative call indicating a turn to a hot aspect relative to a THREAT/TARGET.|
Interrogate the designated contact of the IFF mode indicated.
Surveillance network participating group (NPG) of Link 16/TADIL J.
Fuel state above BINGO at which separation/bugout/event termination should begin.
|JUDY||Aircrew has radar/visual contact on the correct target, has taken control of the intercept, and only requires situation awareness information. Controller will minimize radio transmissions.|
|KILL||1. Clearance to fire.
2. In training, a fighter call to indicate kill criteria have been fulfilled.
|KNOCK IT OFF||Directive to cease air combat maneuvers/attacks/exercise activities.|
|Three or more groups/contacts in range.
Directive to start laser designation.
Tactical formation of two contacts within a group separated in range or following one another.
|LEAKER(S)||Airborne threat has passed through a defensive layer. Call should include amplifying information.|
|Two contacts within a group side by
Directive to turn on/off exterior lights.
Final radar lock-on; sort is not assumed.
|Radar contact lost (DROP track is
Loss of radar/IR lock-on (advisory).
Target altitude below 10,000 feet above ground level (AGL).
Launch of friendly antiradiation missile
Multifunction radar in an A/G mode.
Friendly aircraft leaving contrails.
Establish(ed) at a specific point.
Target altitude between 10,000 feet AGL and 25,000 feet MSL.
1. Information that friendlies and targets have arrived in the same visual arena.
2. Call indicating radar returns have come together.
|Have Quick Time-of-Day (TOD) signal.
Informative call advising that C2 functions are no longer available; opposite of SUNRISE.
|Maintain radar awareness on or assume
responsibility for specified group.
Indicates RWR ground threat displayed followed by clock position and type.
|MUSIC||Electronic radar jamming. (On air interdiction (AI) radar, electronic deceptive jamming.)|
|NAILS||Radar warning receiver indication of AI radar in search. Add clock position/azimuth, if known.|
|No RWR indications.
Used by controller or aircrew when tactical picture has changed. Supersedes all previous calls and re-establishes picture for all players.
|Not a threat.
Aircrew does not have visual contact with the TARGET/ BANDIT/ landmark; opposite of TALLY.
|All-aspect missile defensive maneuver to place threat radar/missile on the beam.|
|OFF (Direction)||Informative call indicating attack is terminated and maneuvering to the indicated direction.|
|Informative call indicating maneuver in a specified direction with reference to the target.|
|Informative call unit/aircraft has
reached assigned station.
Increasing in range.
Informative call indicating a turn to a cold aspect relative to the threat; opposite of IN.
|OUTLAW||Informative call that a bogey has met point of origin criteria.|
|Geographically isolated collection of
Informative call indicating aircrew cannot take eyes off an aircraft or a surface position without risk of losing TALLY/VISUAL.
|PAINT (S)||Interrogated group/radar contact that is responding with any of the specified IFF modes and correct codes establihed for the ID criteria.|
Provide tactical situation status pertinent to mission.
|Magnetic bearing and range to HOMEPLATE (or specified destination).|
|Threat maneuvering for a bracket attack.
1. Informative call AIM-120 is at MPRF active range.
2. AIM-54 at active range.
Amount of time aircraft can remain on station.
|POGO||Switch to communication channel number preceding POGO. If unable to establish communications, switch to channel number following POGO. If no channel number follows POGO, return to this channel.|
|Starting climb for air-to-surface
Flying in clouds or area of reduced visibility.
Informative call that a contact has suddenly appeared.
Request for position; response in terms of a geographic landmark, or off a common reference point.
|Directive transmission to indicate desired direction after completion of intercept/engagement.|
|Rapid descending spiral.
Directive to continue the attack; mutual support will be maintained. Supportive role will be assumed.
|Valid noncooperative target recognition
A briefed maneuver to low aspect to stop closure on the threat or geographical boundary with the intent to re-engage.
|Informative call indicating pure pursuit
is being used or directive to go pure pursuit.
Go to designated frequency. No acknowledgment required.
Departing designated point.
Informative call that said group(s) have turned cold and will continue to be monitored.
|Two or more groups separated primarily
in distance along the same bearing.
1. Indicates a radar lock-on to unknown aircraft; a request for a BUDDY SPIKE reply from friendly aircraft meeting these parameters (to prevent fratricide).
|Directive to assume stated heading.|
|Identification of an object or a contact by an intelligence system.|
|Proceed to a prebriefed position or area
Resume last formation/ station/mission ordered.
Directive to withdraw from present position or area of operation in response to a threat.
|RIDER||A BOGEY that is conforming with safe passage routing/airspeed/altitude procedures.|
|Air-to-ground missile (AGM)-65 Maverick
Two or more munitions released or fired in close succession.
Time-line adjustment in minutes from preplanned mission execution time.(Plus means later; minus means earlier).
|Illumination of an aircraft with an IR
Informative call from wingman/element indicating the return to briefed formation position.
|SAM (Direction)||Visual acquisition of a SAM or SAM launch; should include position.|
|SANDWICHED||A situation where an aircraft/element is positioned between opposing aircraft/elements.|
|Fly at best endurance.
Emergency directive to egress for defensive or survival reasons.
|Takeoff as quickly as possible.
Any threat theater/tactical ballistic missile (TBM).
Leave a specific engagement; may or may not reenter.
One WEAVE, a single crossing of flight paths; maneuver to adjust/regain formation parameters.
|Follow indicated target.
Directive to shift laser illumination.
Aircraft/unit designated to employ ordnance.
Prebriefed weapons state at which SEPARATION/BUGOUT should begin.
|Informative call/directive to execute
launch and leave tactics.
Veto of fighter COMMIT, usually followed with further directions.
Aircraft is out of or unable to employ active radar missiles.
A radar or visual maritime surface contact whose identity is unknown.
Directive for an aircraft to employ a range-unknown high-speed antiradiation missile (HARM) against a specified threat at the specified bearing.
|SLIDE||Directive call to high value airborne asset (HVAA) to continue present mission while extending range from target in response to perceived threat.|
|Target with a ground speed of 300 knots
Directive to turn on/off anticollision lights.
Smoke marker used to mark a position.
Directive to oscillate an IR pointer about a target.
An immediate vector to the group described.
Directive for an aircraft to employ a range-known HARM against a specified threat at the specified location.
|Directive/informative call indicating
initiation of EMCON procedures.
Directive to assign responsibility within a group; criteria can be met visually, electronically (radar), or both.
|Sort responsibility has been met.
1. Equipment indicated is operating inefficiently.
2. Invalid response to an administrative IFF check. (Opposite of SWEET.)
|SPADES||An integrated group/radar contact which lacks at the ATO (or equivalent) IFF modes and codeds required for the ID criteria.|
|SPARKLE||Target marking by IR pointer; target marking by gunship or forward air controller (airborne) (FAC-A) using incendiary rounds.|
|SPIKE||RWR indication of an AI threat in track, launch, or unknown mode; include bearing, clock position, and threat type, if known.|
|Directive/informative call to execute a
prebriefed timing/spacing maneuver.
An aircraft that has departed from the engagement or is departing the engaged fighters' targeting responsibility.
|SPLASH||1. (A/A) Target destroyed.
2. (A/G) Weapons impact.
|SPLIT||An informative call that a flight member is leaving formation to engage a threat; visual may not be maintained.|
SQUAWK ( )
|Informative call that voice deception is
Acquisition of laser designation.
Operate IFF as indicated or IFF is operating as indicated.
Two or more groups/contacts/formations with a high/low altitude separation in relation to each other.
STRANGLE ( )
|Request for tactical situation.
Directive to stop oscillation of IR pointer.
Set magnetic heading indicated.
Request for, or directive to, intercept using stern geometry.
Within a group, a formation of three or more aircraft with a single aircraft in trail.
Stop IR illumination of a target.
Unidentified traffic that is not associated with the action in progress.
Turn off equipment indicated.
Individual fighter/section is leaving the formation to pursue separate attacks.
|STRIPPED||Informative call from wingman/element indicating out of briefed formation/position.|
|Radar indications of noise jamming.
Directive or informative call indicating illumination of target is being conducted with artificial illumination.
|SUNRISE||Informative call that C2 functions are available (opposite of MIDNIGHT).|
|SWEET||1. Equipment indicated is operating
2. Valid response to an administrative IFF check.(Opposite of SOUR.)
|Indicates an attacker is changing from
one aircraft to another.
Request/directive to switch to tactical control.
|Known identification of a specific (system) at the stated location; may be used with IDM data message, (for example, TAG DATA).|
|TALLY||Sighting of a TARGET,BANDIT, BOGEY, or enemy position; opposite of NO JOY.|
|TARGET ( )
TARGETED ( )
|Directive to assign group responsibility
to aircraft in a flight.
Group responsibility has been met.
Directive to terminal controller to standby for LASER ON call in approximately 10 seconds.
|TERMINATE||1. Stop laser illumination of a target.
2. Cease local engagement without affecting the overall exercise.
|Untargeted HOSTILE/BANDIT/BOGEY within prebriefed range/aspect of a friendly.|
|Reduction in power to decrease IR
Positive radar contact with element/aircraft.
Enough fuel and ordnance to accept a COMMIT.
Air control NPG of Link 16/TADIL J.
1. Stabilized gun solution.
|The last aircraft in a group(s).
Informative call that missile has been defeated.
The addressed flight is entering a S/A threat ring of a specific system at the stated location.
|TUMBLEWEED||Indicates limited situational awareness; NO JOY, BLIND; a request for information.|
|Cannot comply as requested/directed.
Ultrahigh frequency (UHF) radio.
Hostile antiship missile (ASM).
Above 40,000 feet MSL.
Three groups, contacts, or formations with the single closest in range and two contacts, azimuth split, in trail.
|VHF/amplitude modulation (AM) radio.
Sighting of a friendly aircraft/ground position; opposite of BLIND.
Three or more groups or contactsprimarily split in azimuth.
Hostile attack is
|WEAPONS ( )||Fire only
|Indicates that fixed-wing aircraft are
operating below 2,000 feet AGL.
Request for results of missions or tasks.
Report amount of fuel and missiles remaining.
Ammunition and oxygen are reported only when specifically
requested or critical.
|No ordnance remaining.
Directive or interrogative regarding furhter information or directives pertinent to mission.
1. A SEAD aircraft is gathering (EOB) on a designated
emitter; generally followed by signal type,
(SAM/AAA/group) bearing, and range, if able.
|YARDSTICK||Directive to use A/A TACAN for ranging.|
|Updated 27 July 1997.|
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