Last Updated on October 24, 2020
The international phonetic alphabet (spelling alphabet), used in police, military, emergency services, aviation and general communications. It is also very helpful when trying to spell your name or address over the phone. Using this system eliminates the potential errors that can occur from the listener not hearing/understanding what was said.
For example, if I was to say that my address was 221B Baker Street over the phone (or radio) did I say B or D or possibly E. All of which rhyme and without visual clues are sometimes indistinguishable to a remote listener.
The last thing you would want when calling for backup is for the listener to misunderstand the address or the type of assistance required. This can be used in conjunction with 10-codes.
It was originally developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization and subsequently adopted by NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) among other significant global and national bodies covering telecommunications, maritime, and aviation.
The NATO phonetic alphabet is a Spelling Alphabet, a set of words used instead of letters in oral communication (i.e. over the phone or military radio). Each word (“code word”) stands for its initial letter (alphabetical “symbol”). The 26 code words in the NATO phonetic alphabet are assigned to the 26 letters of the English alphabet in alphabetical order as follows:
|I||India||IN DEE AH|
|J||Juliett||JEW LEE ETT|
|N||November||NO VEM BER|
|R||Romeo||ROW ME OH|
|S||Sierra||SEE AIR RAH|
|U||Uniform||YOU NEE FORM|
Note: Contrary to what its name suggests, the NATO Phonetic Alphabet is not a phonetic alphabet. Phonetic alphabets are used to indicate, through symbols or codes, what a speech sound or letter sounds like. The NATO Phonetic Alphabet is instead a spelling alphabet (also known as telephone alphabet, radio alphabet, word-spelling alphabet, or voice procedure alphabet).