Military Monitoring Glossary

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Welcome to the Military Monitoring Glossary. Every service has its own slang; as listeners in the public safety sector, we hear it all the time - 10 codes, abbreviations and more. The military service is no different; but as you begin to listen to this realm more closely, you realize that their slang is a lot more involved and complex.

This page doesn't attempt to define all the things you might hear - it would easily take a whole book to define that. But some of the more common phrases are defined here, along with a basic description. Some terms will link to external sites, others to other Wiki pages.

The format used here is very simple - on purpose. This page should be as easy to search as it is to read. To that end, if you add another term, please stick to the format as much as possible. Keep it in alphabetical order, and it will remain easy to search.


  • 380 Mhz LMR Band: The frequencies in the range between 380.0000 and 399.9000 mhz are slowly being converted over to a mix of APCO P25 trunking systems, Aeronautical operations and other modes. This is happening at all military and federal installations nationwide. Currently only the Uniden BCD396T handheld, and the BCD996T desktop scanners are capable of tracking these systems. Other digital trunktrackers may listen to these frequencies in a conventional mode, but will not track them. The Pro-96 and Pro-2096 may listen on these frequencies conventionally, and use the PRO96Com utility to read their control channel when the system is utilizing a 9600 baud control channel.
  • A/A: Air to Air
  • A/G: Air to Ground
  • AAF: Army AirField
  • AGE: Aircraft Ground Equipment
  • ANG: Air National Guard
  • Alpha: Pilots use this term when describing general maintenance status of an aircraft. Problems are referred to as to as Writeups. Fighter Aircraft use the term Code for the same purpose. The term is followed by a number to describe the severity of the writeup
    • 1 = No problems
    • 2 = Minor problems that do not affect the air-worthiness of the aircraft.
    • 3 = Problems severe enough that the aircraft should not be flown again until defects are fixed.
  • Angels: Altitude
  • ARNG: Army National Guard
  • ARTCC: Air Route Traffic Control Center (20 of these Centers cover the U.S.) These centers control all flights within their area that are flying IFR (Instrument Flight Rules)
  • ARW: Aerial Refueling Wing
  • As Fragged: As Assigned/As Planned
  • ATCC: Air Traffic Control Center....sometimes just ATC or Air Traffic Control
  • ATIS: Automatic Terminal Information Service - a rotating broadcast with weather and landing information; each time it's updated, another letter in the alphabet is used. A pilot will say, I have ATIS information Xray.
  • AWI: All Weather Intercept
  • BayWatch: Patuxent River operational area controller callsign. Covers much of the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Bingo: Getting low on fuel; time to RTB
  • Boards: Air Brakes
  • BRA: Bearing, Range, Altitude (given by pilot or ground station to pinpoint location of target
  • BRAA: Bearing, Range, Altitude, Aspect (the addition to BRA of the direction the target is moving)
  • Bullseye: An established reference point from which the position of an aircraft can be determined.
  • CAS: Close Air Support
  • CCX: Cross Country (flight)
  • CGAS: Coast Guard Air Station
  • CNATRA: Chief of Naval Air Training
  • Cold: In context; attack geometry will result in a pass or roll out behind the target; or, on a leg of the CAP pointed away from the anticipated threats. Air-to-surface, dry or no-ordnance attack.
  • Crab Ops: (C-130J aircraft), Raven Ops for 104th Fighter Squadron A-10 aircraft at Martin State
  • Crank (Direction): F-Pole maneuver; implies illuminating target at radar gimbal limits.
  • CRTC: Combat Readiness Training Center
  • Drag/Dragging (Direction): Bogey/Bandit maneuvering to 60 degress or less aspect.
  • F-Pole: The distance from the launching aircraft to the target at missile impact.
  • FAC: Forward Air Controller
  • FSS: Flight Service Station
  • Giantkiller: Also written as Giant Killer; Callsign for the ground controller of the airspace within the FACSFAC
  • Guard Freq: Emergency/Distress frequencies - 121.5000/243.0000
  • Head Butt: Command for an intercepting fighter to push an intruding aircraft toward a specific direction, e.g., head butt west/east etc.
  • Hot: In context; attack geometry will result in rollout in front of the target; or on a leg of the CAP pointing toward the anticipated threats (A/A). Ordnance employment authorized, expected, or completed (A/G).
  • Huntress: Static Callsign for the NORAD North East Air Defense Sector, Headquartered in Rome, NY. Their official Website is here.
  • JOSA: Joint Operations Support Airlift. Coordinated and scheduled by JOSAC at HQ USTRANSCOM (United States Transportation Command) at Scott AFB, Illinois. Their official website is here
  • Joker (fuel): Prebriefed fuel state above Bingo at which separation/bugout/event termination should begin.
  • JRB: Joint Reserve Base
  • KIO: Knock It Off - Terminate all in progress engagements.
  • LIMA CHARLIE: Loud and Clear
  • Metro: The place pilots call in for weather and landing information. Mostly a military term, as a civilian pilot might call a Flight Service Station for similar information. Meteo is a similar term.
  • MARSA: Military Assumes Responsibility for Separation of Aircraft - usually a tower or Unicom freq will keep 2 or more aircraft from getting too close to one another. When this announcement is given, a military unit assumes command of these aircraft and performs the same function.
  • MIL Power: Military Power - The maximum power setting of a military jet aircraft without afterburner
  • MOA: Military Operations Area
  • MOC: Maintenance Operations Command
  • Mussel Ops: Callsign used by the helicopters of the 1st Helo Squadron at Andrews
  • POL: Petroleum, Oils and Luibricants. These are the guys the fuel the aircraft and maintain the vehicle fleet fuel supply IE Gasoline
  • RDR: Radar
  • RTB: Return to Base (The abbreviation is used as a verb...I'm RTBing, He RTBed)
  • Sparkle: Target marking by incendiary rounds or infrared pointer.
  • Shackle: One weave; a single crossing of flight paths; maneuver to adjust/ regain formation parameters.
  • SUA: Special Use Airpsace
  • Tac: Tactical freqs mentioned in this manner could have any number of uses.... mostly as assigned freqs to a particular squadron. For instance, the DC-ANG at Andrews has its own list of squadron tac freqs it uses on a regular basis and are preset in their VHF radios. Used for chat between aircraft while operating on another freq or used for operations when not being controlled by another facility.
  • TANGO: Thanks! / Thank you
  • TOI: Target of Interest. An aircraft that has strayed into a restricted space, or more commonly, during an exercise, an aircraft selected by a controller to use as a practice for tracking
  • U (or Uniform) freq: Usually refers to a UHF frequency (225-399.975 Mhz) in a radio of a fighter; see also V Freq. A pilot may say, Push U-12 meaning: Switch to UHF radio button 12 preset in your radio.
  • V (or Victor) freq: Usually refers to a VHF frequency (118-150 Mhz) in a radio of a fighter; see also U Freq
  • Washington Center: The name of the ARTCC center local to the Delmarva region. Each center has it's own name, which reflects the region it serves. See the Washington ARTCC page
  • Winchester: Out of ammunition
  • ZDC: Common Abbreviation for Washington Center frequencies; also written with the sector name it serves; i.e. ZDC Kenton, ZDC Snow Hill, ZDC Salisbury, ZDC Swann, etc.
  • ZNY: Common Abbreviation for NY Center frequencies; also written with the sector name it serves. See the NY Center page

Terminology and Callsign Links

The following links, while not all-inclusive will help get you started learning MilAir terminology:

Other ARTCC Sites

All 20 sectors can be viewed as links from the ARTCC article