NATO Phonetic Alphabet


Phonetic Alphabet
Alpha Kilo Uniform 0   Zero
Bravo Lima Victor 1   Wun
Charlie Mike Whiskey 2   Too
Delta November Xray 3   Tree
Echo Oscar Yankee 4   Fower
Foxtrot Papa Zulu 5   Fife
Golf Quebec   6   Six
Hotel Romeo .   Decimal 7   Seven
India Sierra .   Stop 8   Ait
Juliet Tango   9   Niner

“Lima” should be pronounced “LEE-mah”, not with a long “i”.

The most commonly used phonetic alphabet today is that adopted by NATO in the mid 1950's, approved by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, the International Telecommunication Union, and codified as American National Standard ANS T1.523-2001, the successor to Federal Standard 1037C.

Folks who use this alphabet on a daily basis, for example airline pilots or special operations forces calling in air strikes, commit it to memory. The rest of us, who only occasionally need to assure a scratchy telephone or Speak Freely connection doesn't garble the account number to which we're wiring funds for covert operations or sending instructions encrypted as five-letter codegroups to field operatives, may benefit by bookmarking this Web phonetic alphabet reference.

Small variations in spelling occur among versions of this alphabet published by the various organisations which use it. You may see “Alpha” written as “Alfa”, “Juliet” as “Juliett”, and “Xray” as “X-ray”; the intended pronunciation is identical. The spelling used for the alphabet here and the phonetics for digits are as given in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language.

If you find errors or omissions in this document, please report them to Bravo Uniform Golf Sierra @ Foxtrot Oscar Uniform Romeo Mike India Lima Alpha Bravo Decimal Charlie Hotel. Thank you!

This site is neither affiliated with nor endorsed in any way by NATO or any of the other organisations mentioned in this document.

by John Walker
July, 2003