Air-to-air. An aerial fight between two or more aircraft.


Anti-aircraft artillery. Large-caliber guns and cannon used to shoot down aircraft. Often armed with exploding rounds.


The height of an aircraft in thousands of feet.

Area Defense

A DCA mission where fighters defend a large area, such as a geographic area or carrier strike group.


(See Meatball)


A positively identified enemy aircraft. Does not imply authority to engage.


Basic Fighter Maneuvers. Aerial maneuvers employed during ACM.


An air contact whose identity (friendly, enemy, or neutral) is unknown.


Bearing Range Altitude (Aspect). The format of an air intercept communication call when referenced to the fighter position.

Bring Back

The ability of an airplane to land on an aircraft carrier with a given amount of fuel and/or ordnance.


A radar countermeasure consisting of numerous small, thin dipoles of aluminum-coated fiberglass.

Close Escort

Command Element. The headquarters element of a MAGTF that directs the other elements.

Close Escort

An OCA mission where fighters operate as part of a strike package in close proximity to the A/S strike aircraft.

Combat Spread

An aerial formation where two aircraft fly 1 to 1.5 miles abeam each other, headed in the same direction, and from level up to several thousand feet off each other’s altitude.


Engagement of enemy forces.


See AAA.


A countermeasure deployed by aircraft to decoy infrared-seeking weapons systems and missiles.


A communications brevity term used when launching semi-active radar / infrared seeking / and active radar missiles, respectively.


A Bandit for which engagement is authorized.


Slang term for the optical landing system employed to provide glideslope information to pilots landing on an aircraft carrier.


The point in time and space where opposing aircraft meet in an A/A engagement, generally heading in opposite directions.

Merge Plot

A communication term indicating that a fighter aircraft has entered the visual arena with a target of interest.

Point Defense

A DCA mission where fighters defend a very small asset, such as a downed aircrew.


Return to Base. The act of returning to the place of origin or other friendly place of refuge, following a mission.


An OCA mission where fighters operate in conjunction with a strike package some coordinated time / distance behind.

Self-Escort Strike

A combination OCA/strike mission where aircraft fight their way into a target, strike it with A/S ordnance, then fight their way out again.


A comm brevity term used when a fighter has employed all of its active missiles.


An OCA mission where fighters act autonomously without being tied to any other fighter elements or strike package.


Visual Identification. A tactic employed to determine the identity of another aircraft by passing by closely and observing visually.


A no radio communications event or activity, such as landing on an aircraft carrier during daytime, favorable weather conditions.