NATO phonetic alphabet

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NATO phonetic alphabet

A pronunciation alphabet used to relay precise word spelling over radio transmissions and telecommunication lines.

The first iteration of a spelling alphabet was created by the International Civil Aviation Organization in the mid-1920s to facilitate safe and efficient air traffic communication, evolved until the mid-1950s and has been the spelling standard for virtually all national and international organisations since the 1960s.

NATO phonetic alphabet
A—Alpha
B—Bravo
C—Charlie
D—Delta
E—Echo
F—Foxtrot
G—Golf
H—Hotel
I—India
J—Juliet
K—Kilo
L—Lima
M—Mike
N—November
O—Oscar
P—Papa
Q—Quebec
R—Romeo
S—Sierra
T—Tango
U—Uniform
V—Victor
W—Whiskey
X—X-ray
Y—Yankee
Z—Zulu

Exceptions to the NATO phonetic alphabet
Delta becomes Data, Dixie or David at airports with high Delta Air Lines traffic, to avoid confusion with the airline’s callsign.

Lima becomes London in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, where “lima” means five.

Whiskey becomes White or Washington in Muslim countries where alcohol consumption is banned.

India becomes Indigo or Italy in Pakistan due to ongoing conflicts with India.