Glossary

ROTC

Reserve Officer Training Corps. An officer commissioning program that allows students to attend non-service academies (i.e. public and private universities and colleges) where students pursue a bachelor’s degree while preparing for service as a commissioned officer in the military.

RSO

Reconnaissance Systems Officer – An SR-71 Blackbird backseater.

RTB

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

RTU

Replacement Training Unit. (Air Force term.) A squadron that prepares pilots for operational service in fleet-specific aircraft.

RWR

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

SA

Situational Awareness. The perception of environmental elements and events with respect to time and space.

SADL

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

SAM

Surface-to-air Missile. Homing or guided missiles designed to shootdow aircraft.

SAMBUSH

SAM Ambush. A tactic where aircraft attempt to draw opposing aircraft into a particular geographic area so that they can be engaged by SAMs.

SAR

Search and Rescue. The process of locating and recovering distressed personnel.

Screen

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

SCS

Software Configuration Set. A set of OFPs used to operate a modern military aircraft.

SDB

Small Diameter Bomb. A 250-lb precision-guided glide bomb intended to provide aircraft with the ability to carry a higher number of more accurate bombs.

SDO

Squadron Duty Officer. A squadron aviator who assists the ODO during execution of the flight schedule. Manned by a student at a training squadron.

SEAD

Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses

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.

Section

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

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.

SERE

Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape. A military program designed to prepare military and other personnel to cope when in enemy territory.

SERGRAD

Selectively Retained Graduate. A flight student who completes training and immediately remains at the squadron as an instructor despite having no fleet experience.

Service Academy

A federal university that provides students an undergraduate degree and the preparation needed to serve as a commissioned officer in the US armed forces after graduation.

SES

(See Self-Escort Strike.)

SFARP

Strike Fighter Advanced Readiness Program. A unit-level training evolution designed to hone aerial combat skills as an initial step in preparation for follow-on workups for deployment. Administered by a Type Wing Weapons School.

SFTI

Strike-Fighter Tactics Instructor. A TOPGUN graduate.

SIGINT

Signals Intelligence. The collection of electronic emissions in the interest of gaining information.

Skosh

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

SLAM ER

Stand-off Land Attack Missile Expanded Response. A GPS-guided, cruise missile-like weapon that beams television imagery back to the launching or supporting aircraft in order for real time ‘pilot-in-the-loop’ aim point updates and success determination.

SLEP

Service Life Extension Program. A maintenance process that extends an aircraft’s usefulness.

SLJO

$h!tty Little Jobs Officer. A derogatory term for a young officer who is assigned menial tasks in a squadron.

SME

Subject Matter Expert.

SMS

Stores Management System. A computerized aircraft system that acts as the conduit between the aircrew and any stores (i.e. racks, rails, launchers, fuel tanks, ordnance) that may be loaded on the aircraft.

Squadron

An aviation organization composed of aircrew, support personnel, aircraft, and equipment.

SSC

Surface Surveillance Control. A patrol mission flown to build a consolidated picture of surface vessel contacts in a particular area.

Standoff Weapon

An A/S weapon that can be launched or released from a greater distance than ballistic weapons, where the aircraft is less exposed to threats defending the intended target.

Starboard

The right side of an aircraft or vessel when facing the front of the aircraft or vessel. Opposite of Port.

Stern

The back or aft-most portion of a vessel. Opposite of Bow.

STOVL

Short Takeoff / Vertical Land. A description of the capability of certain aircraft, such as the AV-8B Harrier or F-35B Lightning II.

Sundown

The deliberate act of retiring an aircraft from active service.

Sweep

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

SWOS

Surface Warfare Officer School. The academic institution where naval officers learn how to control and employ warships.

TACP

Tactical Air Control Party. A ground unit whose mission is to control aircraft in support of ground forces.

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

TAR

Training and Administration of the Reserve. A predecessor program to FTS.

Targeteer

A military intelligence officer who specializes in generating precise targets for ground targets and assists with weapon-to-target match determination.

TARPS

Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance Pod System. A camera pod fitted to the F-14 Tomcat which afforded an aerial reconnaissance capability.

TCC

Tactical Crew Coordination. A standardized system to maximize the effectiveness of multi-crew tactical aircraft.

TCS

Television Camera Set. An optical system installed in the F-14 Tomcat that permitted crews to visually identify and track aircraft beyond visual range.

TIC

Troops in Contact. A term implying an emergent need for support due to ground forces currently being engaged by the enemy.

TILD

Thermal Imaging Laser Designation. An externally-mounted infrared used on the Panavia Tornado.

TMS

Type / Model / Series. An aircraft nomenclature convention used from 1924 to 1948.

Top Gun 

A 1986 American romantic military action drama motion picture.

TOPGUN

aka Navy Fighter Weapons School. A US Navy institution that develops and provides graduate-level strike-fighter tactics.

TSD

Tactical Situational Display. A display installed in the F-14 Tomcat to increase the crew’s situational awareness tactically.

TTFACOR

Threat Activity, Target, Friendly situation, Artillery, Clearance authority, Ordnance requested, Restrictions. A standardized way for JTACs to pass battlefield information to supporting combat aircraft.

TTLR

Turning Tanker Last Recovery. An aerial refueling-equipped aircraft manned and ready on an aircraft carrier to launch in the event more fuel is needed airborne to recover aircraft.

UCAV

Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle. An unmanned aerial vehicle that carries ordnance used for offensive strikes.

UNREP

Underway Replenishment. The act of transfering supplies, fuel, and/or ammunition between two or more ships while underway at sea by means of direct connection between ships.

UTTR

Utah Test and Training Range. A military testing and training area located approximately 80 miles west of Salt Lake City, Utah.

V/STOL

Vertical / Short Takeoff and Landing. A characteristic of aircraft that can takeoff and land either vertically or in distances much shorter than tradtional fixed-wing aircraft.

VBID

Vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device. A cowardly way to attack your enemy with a vehicle laden with explosives.

VEN

Variable Exhaust Nozzle(s). An adjustable nozzle on the aft-most portion of a jet engine designed to optimize performance.

VERTREP

Vertical Replenishment. The act of transfering supplies or ammunition between ships at sea by use of vertical-flight-capable aircraft, such as helicopters.

Vestibular System

aka inner ear. An anatomical apparatus involved in maintaining balance and spatial orientation.

VID

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

VR

Virtual Reality. An interactive computer-generated experience that takes place within a simulated environment.

Wall

A formation of four aircraft abeam each other in a relatively-straight line, albeit possibly at different altitudes.

WSO

Weapons System Officer. An NFO who crews the backseat of an F/A-18D Hornet or F/A-18F Super Hornet.

WVR

Within Visual Range. A/A engagements that take place within a distance that the human eye can see.

Ziplip

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