Phonetic Alphabet

Introduction

The Phonetic Alphabet is used to spell letters in place of just saying the letter itself. By using a word for each letter there is less chance that the person listening will confuse letters. For instance, some letters than can easily be confused are “b” and “e”. The phonetic alphabet is used in radio communications around the world by maritime units, aircraft, amateur radio operators and the military.

Phonetic Alphabet

Letter Pronunciation Letter Pronunciation
A Alpha (AL fah) N November (no VEM ber)
B Bravo (BRAH VOH) O Oscar (OSS cah)
C Charlie (CHAR lee) P Papa (pah PAH)
D Delta (DELL tah) Q Quebec (keh BECK)
E Echo (ECK oh) R Romeo (ROW me oh)
F Foxtrot (FOKS trot) S Sierra (see AIR rah)
G Golf (GOLF) T Tango (TANG go)
H Hotel (hoh TELL) U Uniform (YOU nee form)
I India (IN dee ah) V Victor (VIK tah)
J Juliett (JEW lee ETT) W Whiskey (WISS key)
K Kilo (KEY loh) X X Ray (ECKS RAY)
L Lima (LEE mah) Y Yankee (YANG key)
M Mike (MIKE) Z Zulu (ZOO loo)

Note: The syllables printed in capital letters are to be stressed.

How it is used?

Aviation
The letters on aircraft tail numbers are spelled phonetically. For instance, when calling the tower, aircraft with tail number “2304J” would be pronounced “2304 Juliett”. Also the Airport Terminal Information Service (ATIS) assigns sequential letters to the broadcasts since these are frequently updated such as “Information Kilo”.
Amateur Radio
Call signs are routinely spelled using phonetics for instance the call sign AK8Y would be “Alpha Kilo 8 Yankee”
Military
When sending information that contains letter or names that need to be spelled, the phonetic alphabet is used.