One versus one. aka ACM, dogfighting.


A public address system used by an aircraft carrier Air Boss to communicate with personnel working on the flight deck and in various spaces on the interior of the ship.


Almost G-induced Loss of Consciousness. Nearly passing out due to lack of blood in the brain as a result of pulling G’s.


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


Air-to-Surface. A general term for the missions and/or equipment involved in the aerial attack of surface (land or sea) targets.


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


Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile. A follow-on improvement to the HARM.


Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. A secret investigatory effort funded by the US Government to study unidentified flying objects.


A term bestowed on aircrew who have downed five or more enemy aircraft in A/A combat.


Aviation Combat Element. A MAGTF component that contributes the force. Includes all aircraft (fixed- and rotary-wing), their pilots and maintenance personnel, and those units necessary for aviation command and control.


Air Combat Maneuvering. aka Dogfighting. Close-quarters A/A combat where each pilot tries to shoot down the other, preferably first.


Air Defense Identification Zone. Airspace over land or water in which the identification, location, and control of civil aircraft is performed in the interest of national security. This airspace may extend beyond a country’s territory to afford more time to respond to possibly hostile aircraft.


Air Defense Variant. A variant of the Panavia Tornado intended to perform A/A missions.


Active Electronically Scanned Array. A type of phased array radar where the beam is steered electronically, vice mechanically.


Automatic Flight Control System. The computer-directed system that accepts a pilot’s flight control inputs, then factors in current pitot static and aircraft information before deflecting flight control surfaces.


Artificial Feel System. A spring attachment used by the US Navy Blue Angels to add tension to the control stick, thus increasing the ability to make small, precise control inputs.


Aeronautical Ground Equipment. A category of various ground systems used to support military aircraft. Could include cargo loaders, aircraft tow tractors, and power carts that provide aircraft hydraulic or electrical power or air conditioning for ground operations.


Active Guard Reserve. A full-time air national guard reservist. Similar to FTS.


Anti-G Straining Maneuver. A technique that employs muscle-tightening and quick breathing in an effort to maintain blood in the cranium when pulling Gs.


Air Intercept Controller. A ground-, sea-, or air-based radar operator who controls the A/A intercepts of combat aircraft.


Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile. An active radar-guided missile capable of being provided target updates in flight and consummating intercept with its own radar seeker, allowing the firing aircraft to shoot more than one target simultaneously and turn and run from the fight once the missile takes over. When fired, “Fox-3” is called.

AIM-7 Sparrow

A short-medium range semi-active radar-homing A/A missile. When fired, “Fox-1” is called.

AIM-9 Sidewinder

An infrared-seeking short-range A/A missile. When fired, “Fox-2” is called.

Air Boss

1) The officer in charge of all aircraft carrier operations involving aircraft on the flight deck and airborne in the immediate vicinity of the carrier.

2) Nickname for the Vice Admiral serving as Commander, Naval Air Forces who is responsible for the manning, training, and equipping of all aircraft, personnel, and the US Navy’s fleet of aircraft carriers.


Generic term for any aircraft crew member, whether at the flight controls or not.


Air-launched anti-radiation missile. A British version of the US-made HARM.

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.


(See AOA)

Alpha Strike

A coordinated aerial attack performed by a preponderance of an aircraft carrier’s aircraft.


Air Land Sea Application. A multi-service organization established to develop tactical-level solutions of multi-service interoperability issues, such as communications brevity.


Altitude Reservation. A block of controlled airspace set aside for particular operations, such as aerial refueling.


The height of an aircraft in thousands of feet.


Astral-inertial System. An SR-71 Blackbird navigation system that incorporates celestial data to derive positional information.


Angle of Attack (aka alpha, ).The difference, measured in degrees, between the flight path of an aircraft and that aircraft’s longitudinal axis (i.e. where the nose is pointing).


Area of Responsibility. A geographic region of the world where related military activities occur.


Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System. Laser-guided 2.75-inch forward-firing aerial rockets.


Auxiliary Power Unit. A small jet engine used to provide aircraft systems power (hydraulic, electrical, etc.).


Air Reserve Components. A structure of the U.S. military that provides operational capabilities and strategic depth to meet US defense requirements across the range of military operations. Consists of the Air Force Reserve (AFR) and Air National Guard of the United States (ANGUS).

Area Defense

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


Astronaut Candidate. Someone who is new to the astronaut corps and undergoing training.


ASW Module. A combat center on a naval warship where ASW operations are coordinated and controlled.


Anti-submarine Warfare. The process of detecting, tracking, and in some cases–destroying, enemy submarines.


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.


Automated Terminal Information System. Recurring aerodrome information, such as weather conditions and duty runway(s), that is repeatedly broadcast on a particular frequency.


Air Tasking Order. A document that disseminates schedules, targets, and tasking for air forces with a joint operational environment.


A term used in aircraft carrier maintenance cycles denoting a period of time where the carrier avails itself to being maintained instead of operational.


(See Meatball)


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


Barrier CAP. A defensive A/A mission designed to protect an asset, such as an aircraft carrier, from enemy aircraft.


Bullets at Target Range. A HUD cue depicting where previously-fired bullets are in space when they reach the range of the radar-locked target. Used to assess guns employment effectiveness in training.


Basic Fighter Maneuvers. Aerial maneuvers employed during ACM.


Boundary Layer Control. A high-lift system that diverts bleed air from the engine and injects it into the airflow over the wings at slow speeds to prevent or postpone boundary layer separation from the wing, and thus loss of lift.


A baggage container, often converted from a fuel tank, that attaches to aircraft weapons stations.


Bomb Live Unit. A series of warheads that contain improved explosive fill compared to the Mk 80 series. Variants include the 500-pound BLU-111; low-collateral damage 500-pound BLU-126/B; 1,000-pound BLU-110 (1,000); and hard target-penetrating, 2,000-pound BLU-109.


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


Bachelor Officer Quarters. On-base lodging for officer service members who do not have, or when away from, family members.


The front or forward-most portion of a vessel. Opposite of Stern.


A formation of four aircraft where two aircraft abeam each other are followed by two other aircraft abeam each other. When viewed from above or below the four aircraft appear to be in the corners of a quadrilateral.


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


The room on a ship from which it is steered and controlled.

Bring Back

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


Bomb Rack Unit. An adapter housed in an aircraft weapons pylon that supports the loading and wiring of various A/S racks, rails, launchers, and munitions.


The increased and, subsequently, decreased lift an aircraft experiences as it approaches an aircraft carrier for landing as a result of the relative wind as it flows around and off the ship.


Beyond Visual Range. A/A engagements that take place farther than the human eye can see.


Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence. The exercise of authority and direction by a designated commander over assigned forces in the accomplishment of a mission.


Cartridge Actuated Device. An explosive cartridge, similar in size and shape to a shotgun shell, installed in a BRU used to forcibly release or jettison whatever store may be attached to the BRU.


An obsolete but more-easily spoken term for CVW. Also, informal title for the CVW Commander, typically a US Navy Captain (O-6).


A nickname aircrew use to address one another on the ground and in-flight, in lieu of using real names and ranks.


Combat Air Patrol. A general name for A/A missions.


Close Air Support. Aerial attack that occurs in close proximity to, and with the detailed coordination of, friendly ground forces.


Casualty Evacuation. The act of quickly removing injured personnel from the battlefield to where medical treatment can be administered.


Captive Air Training Missile. An A/A missile used for training that lacks many, or all, of the components found on live missiles.


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.


(See Close Escort.)


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


Circular Error Probability. A concept used to describe the accuracy of a particular aircraft / munition combination.


Combined (alternatively, Coalition) Forces Air Component Commander. A military commander tasked to plan, direct, and control joint air operations within a specific theater of operations. See also, JFACC.


Center of Gravity. The balancing point of an object.


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


CHange of OPerational Control. The act of military units transferring assignments from one commander to another.


Combat Information Center Officer. One of the five crew members aboard an E-2 Hawkeye and the senior of the three NFOs manning the radar and communications equipment.


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


CIWS is a close-in weapon system for defense against airborne threats such as anti-ship missiles and helicopters.

Close Escort

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


Chief of Naval Air Training. A one star-admiral-led command responsible for training US Navy and Marine Corps student aircrew. Also overseas the Navy’s flight demonstration squadron (aka Blue Angels).


Chief of Naval Operations. The highest-ranking officer in the US Navy who reports directly to the Secretary of the Navy for the command, utilization of resources, and operating efficiency of the operating forces of the Navy.


Communication, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management. An avionics system upgrade on the C-2A Greyhound.


Commanding Officer. aka “Skipper”. The senior-ranking officer and individual in charge of a particular unit, such as a squadron.

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.


Crew Resource Management. A management system which makes optimum use of all available human factor and other resources to promote safety and enhance the efficiency of flight operations.


Combat search and rescue.


Aircraft Carrier Intelligence Center. A facility within an aircraft carrier where intelligence is gathered, collated, and used to mission plan, brief, and debrief aerial missions. The space is manned by intelligence personnel and frequented by aviators.


Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.


Aircraft Carrier Operating Area. Air and sea space designated for the launch, recovery, and training flights of aircraft carrier-borne aircraft.


Carrier Air Wing. A US Navy aviation organization composed of approximately eight independent squadrons that join as one team when deployed aboard an aircraft carrier.


Dissimilar Air Combat Training. A/A training between differing aircraft, such as F-15s and F/A-18s.


Defensive Counter Air. An A/A mission where fighters reactively engage an adversary, typically over neutral or friendly territory, in the defense of some protected asset(s).


1) Decompression Sickness. A condition arising from dissolved gases coming out of solution into bubbles inside the body due to depressurization.

2) Digital Combat Simulator. A digital battlefield game offering authentic and realistic simulation of military aircraft, tanks, ground vehicles and ships.


Destroyer Squadron. A naval organization that overseas the operational control of naval surface warships in a carrier strike group.


Distinguished Flying Cross. The fourth highest service medal by precedence awarded to service members who distinguishes themselves in support of operations by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight.


aka Four-ship. A coordinated flight of four aircraft operating in close proximity to one another.


Drop On Request. The act of voluntarily terminating a training evolution or program.


Distinguished Visitor. Synonymous with VIP.

E-M Diagram

Energy-Maneuverability Diagram. An aircraft performance comparison method developed by USAF Colonel John Boyd that incorporates energy, thrust, weight, aerodynamic drag, wing area, flight characteristics and more.


Electrical and environmental. A term for the equipment and personnel dealing with the wiring, electrical components, cabin pressurization, and other related components on a military aircraft.


A formation of two or more aircraft all lined out to one side and slightly behind the preceding aircraft.


Electronic Countermeasures Officer. An NFO who crews the backseat of an EA-18G Growler.


Electric Combat / Reconnaissance. A West German variant of the Panavia Tornado.


Electronic Identification. The use of onboard systems to determine the identity of another aircraft.

Ejection Seat

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


Electronic Intelligence. Covert intelligence-gathering by electronic means.


Electromotive Force. The electrical intensity or pressure developed by a source of electrical energy such as a battery or generator.


Emergency Procedure. A scripted procedure to follow, oftentimes from memory, in the event of an aircraft malfunction or emergency.


Extravehicular Activity. A space walk.


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


Forward Air Controller. A pilot serving alongside ground forces, acting as a liaison with combat support aircraft.


Forward Air Controller (Airborne). Aircrew who perform FAC duties while aloft in an aircraft, typically while also at the aircraft controls.


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


First Assignment Instructor Pilot (aka SERGRAD). An instructor pilot who has not yet served in an operational squadron.

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