Glossary

ALE-39 / ALE-47

Airborne countermeasures dispenser systems found on many US fighters, such as F/A-18 and F-16. The ALE-47 is an updated, more modern version.

ATARS

Advanced Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance System. An image acquisition, data storage, and data link system mounted under the nose of US Marine Corps F/A-18D Hornets.

CDP

Cross Deck Penant. aka arresting gear wire. An approximately 1.5-inch steel cable strung across the landing area of an aircraft carrier that is engaged by a landing aircraft’s tailhook.

Chaff

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

CIT

Combined Interrogator / Transponder. An aircraft avionics system that combines an IFF and an IFF interrogator. Used to help solve positive identification of other aircraft.

Ejection Seat

A device designed to propel an aircrew occupant safely out of and away from a distressed aircraft.

Expendables

A generic term for inflight-deployable countermeasures such as chaff, flares, and jammer decoys. Also known as “items.”

FADEC

Full Authority Digital Engine Control. A system consisting of a digital computer and related accessories that control all aspects of aircraft engine performance.

Faraday Cage

An enclosure designed to block electromagnetic fields.

Flare

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

GPS

Global Positioning System. A constellation of satellites that afford precision location information and coordinate generation on earth.

HOTAS

Hands On Throttle-And-Stick.

INS

Inertial Navigation System. A navigation aid that uses a computer, and motion, rotation, and occasionally magnetic sensors to continuously calculate by dead reckoning the position, orientation, and velocity of a moving object without the need for external references.

JBD

Jet Blast Deflector. A large shield that raises out of the flight deck of an aircraft carrier that protects other aircraft and equipment by deflecting the exhaust of an aircraft at high power settings just prior to launch.

LEX

Leading Edge Extension(s). The structural portion of an F/A-18 where the fuselage and wings meet which improves airflow at high AOA and low airspeeds, to improve handling and delay stall.

MAGIC CARPET

Maritime Augmented Guidance with Integrated Controls for Carrier Approach and Recovery Precision Enabling Technologies (*phew!*). A computer-software PLM integration system that works with an aircraft’s digital flight control system to reduce pilot workload and improve safety during aircraft carrier landings.

Meatball

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

Mech

A backup flight control mode of the F/A-18 where the pilot controls the aircraft through direct connection to horizontal stabilator hydraulic actuators. Usually considered an emergency situation.

MIDS

Multifunctional Information Distribution System. An advanced C4I system incorporating high-capacity, jam-resistant, digital communication links for exchange of near real-time tactical information, including both data and voice, among air, ground, and sea elements.

PLAT

Pilot Landing Aid Television. A system of low-light TV cameras and displays positioned as a tool for, and to record, aircraft carrier landings and flight deck operations.

PLM

Precision Landing Modes. (See MAGIC CARPET)

POTS

Plain Old Telephone System. A ship-based communication system that facilitates telephone-type calls via satellite from ship to shore. Notorious for the delay between spoken and heard transmissions, leading to awkward conversations.

RWR

Radar Warning Receiver. Passive sensors used to detect the presence of off board radar emitters.

SADL

Situation Awareness Data Link. An air communication and data sharing system.

SEAWARS

Seawater-activated Release System. A device intended to release a parachuting aircrew from the parachute upon landing in the ocean to minimize entanglement and possible drowning.

TALD

Tactical Air-Launched Decoy. An unmanned air-launched radar decoy used to stimulate enemy air defense systems by presenting a realistic threat signature of actual manned aircraft, in radar cross section and flight characteristics