The military alphabet and NATO phonetic alphabet are same. Military Alphabet comes with unusual names but has a pretty simple concept. Moreover, when talking over the radio or phone, the military phonetic alphabet is a set of 26 words that are used to spell out letters.
Each letter of the alphabet is represented by 26 code words in the military phonetic alphabet. Furthermore, the Military Phonetic Alphabet’s capability serves as a communication tool for both military and civilian personnel. Moreover, it is frequently used to describe error-free phone spelling. Other military applications include communication codes, slang, and shortcodes.
It is also called NATO Phonetic Alphabet. Meanwhile, before the Cold War, the term “NATO Phonetic Alphabet” was established as an alternate name for the ICAO phonetic alphabet after being used in a publication for all NATO countries’ ships. Equivalent symbols represent the Morse code in this alphabet, which is a unique feature.
Many individuals are uninformed of how it is utilized, how it was created, or why. This article will help you learn more about the military phonetic alphabet, its history, components, purpose, and why certain characters were selected as the alphabet.

History of Military Alphabet

In 1927, the Military Alphabet was first established. The ITU (International Telecommunication Union) created the first internationally recognized phonetic alphabet in 1927. Furthermore, the International Commission for Air Navigation (which subsequently became ICAO – The International Civil Aviation Organization) followed suit.
On the other hand, the Military Phonetic Alphabet was not used until World War II. The United States adopted the Joint Army/Navy radiotelephony alphabet in 1941 to unify communication across all military branches. However, numerous nations employed their versions, and the Royal Air Force adopted a comparable alphabet to the United States.

The Able Baker alphabet was devised by the United States Army and Navy in 1941, just in time for World War II, and was used by British forces. Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog, Easy, Fox, and other common words and names are used.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) changed this alphabet ten years later to make it less English-centric. Alfa (not “Alpha”), Bravo, Coca, Delta, and other words were employed. Still, they were deemed more global since they incorporated sounds familiar to English, French, and Spanish: Alfa (not “Alpha”), Bravo, Coca, Delta, etc.

After the letters “A” and “B,” the system developed by the United States was dubbed Able Baker. The Able Baker alphabet was developed by the US, UK, and Australian armed services in 1943 to improve communication amongst allies.
The ICAO then finished its Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet in 1956, after research and testing that included 31 different countries. It was adopted as the official spelling alphabet of NATO and all allied nations. To sum up, this is a little history of the Military Phonetic Alphabet. NATO allies agreed in 1956 to use a single phonetic alphabet for all members, with only a few letters changed from the previous form. It is the alphabet that is still in use today.

​​What is a phonetic alphabet and how does it work?

Substitute the letter you wish to say with a word that starts with the same letter to make a phonetic alphabet, a notion known as acrophony. Consider the following scenario:

‘Champ’ can be substituted for ‘C.’
‘Gun’ can be replaced for ‘G.’
‘Oranfe’ can be used for ‘O’.
Some phonetic alphabets utilize codewords related to a particular theme; for example, numerous older alphabets used city and country names as codewords. Other phonetic alphabets use codewords based on various variables, including intelligibility, which refers to how easy the codewords are to comprehend in challenging communication situations.

Advantages of The NATO phonetic alphabet

The NATO phonetic alphabet is a widely used, standardized phonetic alphabet in which each letter of the English alphabet is substituted with a unique codeword.

Moreover, The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) collaborated to create the NATO phonetic alphabet formally created in 1956. (ICAO).

It was designed to become the universal phonetic alphabet to resolve challenges from different countries and organizations utilizing different alphabets.

Here are the advantages of Military Alphabets.

  1. Useful in professional setup: The NATO alphabet is the most widely used phonetic alphabet globally, with many countries, organizations, and individuals using it. As a result, many people are likely to be familiar with it, particularly those who meet it in a professional situation. As a result, this is the phonetic alphabet that most people will understand if you use it to communicate with them, and it’s also the phonetic alphabet that most people will use to share with you.
  2. Common goals: After thorough testing, the NATO phonetic alphabet’s unique codewords were chosen. Moreover, they have a higher understanding amongst individuals of various language backgrounds by being simple to say and identify.
  3. Military Missions and the Phonetic Alphabet: The Military Alphabet ensures that communication is clear during military operations. On a larger scale, excellent communication during military operations can differ between losing a friend and bringing everyone home.

Each letter of the alphabet is represented by 26 code words in the military phonetic alphabet. The Military Phonetic Alphabet’s utility is a communication tool for both military and civilians, and it’s most commonly used to provide error-free spelling over the phone. Other military applications include communication codes, slang, and shortcodes.

The Military Phonetic Alphabet is essential for helping military members convey mission status, locations, codes, and other necessary information because many letters in the English language sound similar—for example, “M” and “N.”

  1. Useful in the retail industry: The alpha bravo delta chart is frequently used in the retail sector except for military applications. Client or site specifics are spoken over the phone. They are generally used to authorize a credit agreement or confirm stock codes by IT professionals to communicate long principles and airlines to communicate passenger name records internally.
  2. Boost confidence: Children learn the shapes and sounds of alphabet letters in phonics lessons to recognize them on the page when reading. This ability aids children in decoding (or breaking down) new words into shorter sounds that can be combined to make words.



Military Alphabet's Drawbacks

The following are some of the disadvantages of the NATO alphabet: 

  1. Difficult to understand: These alphabets are unfamiliar to the typical individual. Despite its benefits, there are disadvantages, such as that some individuals find it challenging to comprehend. 

It is the sole disadvantage of the alphabet. The only drawback I believe of it is that many individuals find difficulty understanding the NATO alphabets.

How to learn the NATO phonetic alphabet?

Because the military alphabet has a limited number of items and is designed to be straightforward, it should be relatively easy to learn with some repetition.

If you wish to learn the NATO phonetic alphabet, you can do so in various ways, including writing the codewords down on handmade flashcards or using memory software. Moreover, you might also learn the codewords in alphabetical order using a list of NATO phonetic alphabet codewords. Meanwhile, It’s possible to recite these phrases in a rhythm or music to help you recall the codewords, but it’s unnecessary.

With a few exceptions, punctuation symbols in the NATO alphabet are called by their names: a hyphen (-) is called a dash, a period (.) is called a stop, and a decimal point is called a point or a decimal.

The ICAO radiotelephony alphabet, the ICAO phonetic alphabet, the international radiotelephony spelling alphabet, the military phonetic alphabet, the military alphabet, or simply the phonetic alphabet are all words used to refer to the NATO phonetic alphabet.

If you’re having trouble remembering specific codewords, consider associating them with the symbol they represent. For example, if you have trouble remembering that the codeword for the letter “A” is “Alpha,” consider placing a relevant image linked with it, such as a bottle of whiskey and the codeword itself.

Once you have a rough idea of all the codewords, begin honing your alphabet skills by spelling out different words. Those words can be anything you want them to be, from random stuff you notice to street addresses.

Finally, suppose you miss a keyword when utilizing the NATO alphabet in real-time. In that case, you can improvise by using an alternate codeword that begins with the same letter as the codeword you’re trying to transmit.

Types of Military Alphabet Chart

For proper understanding, here are specific charts that assist in understanding the nato alphabet.

A military alphabet can be used in a variety of ways.

  • Military alphabet (printable): A printable chart is a well-known tool for learning about military clocks. The inclusion of a visual helps readers understand the military alphabet. We hope that printing this alpha bravo charlie delta chart will make learning the chart easier. The downloadable military time chart can be found by clicking the following link:
  • Alpha Bravo Charlie Delta Chart Printable PDF: The Nato Alphabet is also available in pdf format, which may be printed. If you’re having trouble getting used to the chart, this version is easier to download and understand.
  • Colorful Military alphabet: This colorful format helps people to understand the chart. Moreover, this also leads users to read it properly.

Useful hints for the NATO phonetic alphabet

Very few people know and understand the military alphabet. Additionally, there are a few points to bear in mind when utilizing the NATO alphabet to guarantee that you’re getting the most out of it:

  • Before spelling out words using the NATO phonetic alphabet, make sure the person you’re speaking with is aware.
  • Suppose the person you’re speaking with is unfamiliar with the phonetic alphabet. In that case, you can spell out words using the following pattern of speech: “An as in Alfa, D as in Delta,” which most people will grasp instinctively.
  • In certain circumstances, speaking the whole term, you’re referring to before starting to spell it out using the phonetic alphabet will help. This is useful in cases where the other person may be able to figure out what you’re attempting to spell midway through the semester.

Tips for improvising a phonetic alphabet

Whether you’re making up an entire phonetic alphabet or a few specific secret codes because you can’t recall which ones are used in the NATO phonetic alphabet, the following guidelines can assist you in choosing appropriate words:

  • Choose a word that most people will recognize.
  • Choose a word that is roughly two syllables long (e.g., ‘November’ is pronounced ‘NO VEMBER’).
  • Avoid easily confused terms with other words, especially if the first letter sounds similar (e.g., ‘Gum/’Gun’).
  • Words with a difficult-to-isolate beginning letter should be avoided.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Alpha Bravo Charlie? Military and citizens alike frequently utilize the phonetic alphabet to send error-free spelling or communications over the phone. For example, Alpha denotes “A,” Bravo denotes “B,” and Charlie denotes “C.” IRDS can also be used to transmit military code, slang, or shortcode.
  2. What is the purpose of the NATO phonetic alphabet? It was developed to be standardized for aircrews worldwide to identify and be understood. Furthermore, all flights and planes are given names that include letters that determine them.
  3. What criteria were used to choose the military alphabet? A series of international agencies assigned twenty-six alphabet letters acrophonically to twenty-six codewords to form codes. So that the names for letters and numbers would be as unique as possible, individuals who exchanged voice communications over the radio or telephone could understand them.
  4. What does Alpha Bravo Charlie stand for? In alphabetical order, the 26 codewords of the ICAO phonetic alphabet have been assigned to the 26 letters of the English alphabet: Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliett, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, Yankee, Zulu.
  5. What was the motivation for the development of the military phonetic alphabet? The Combined Communications Board changed the US military’s Combined Army/Navy alphabet to be used by all three nations during joint operations involving the US, UK, and Australia. The US military began studying spelling alphabets around this time. Hence, this resulted from the invention of such an alphabet.
  6. In the military, what does Bravo mean? Bravo is a military term that indicates ‘Well Done.’ Bravo is also a letter in the NATO alphabet.


The military alphabet can help people understand things more clearly and avoid becoming confused. The unique codewords for the NATO phonetic alphabet were chosen after extensive testing. Furthermore, because they are easy to say and recognize, they have a better understanding among people of varied linguistic backgrounds.
Furthermore, many developed countries rely on these alphabets to communicate effectively.
The alpha bravo delta chart is commonly employed in the retail industry when client or site specifics are mentioned over the phone, except for military applications. IT experts widely use them to transmit long codes and airlines to convey passenger name records internally to authorize a credit agreement or confirm stock codes.
These diagrams also enable you to appreciate the NATO alphabet completely. As a result, the printable format makes it simple to grasp the essential concept. Furthermore, if you encounter any difficulties, please contact us.