Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet

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The Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet is not a phonetic alphabet in the sense in which that term is used in phonetics, i.e., it is not a system for transcribing speech sounds. See the phonetic alphabet disambiguation page, and also phonetic notation.

The Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet was a radio alphabet developed in 1941 during World War II and was used by all branches of the United States Armed Forces until the promulgation of the ICAO spelling alphabet (Alfa, Bravo) in 1956, which replaced it. Before the Joint Army/Navy (JAN) phonetic alphabet, each branch of the armed forces used its own radio alphabet, leading to difficulties in interbranch communication.

The U.S. Army used this alphabet in modified form, along with the British Army and Canadian Army from 1943 on, with "Sugar" replacing "Sail".

The Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet was used as storm names for Atlantic basin hurricanes from 1947 to 1952 before being replaced with female names.

Vestiges of the system remain in use in the U.S. Navy, in the form of Material Conditions of Readiness, used in damage control. Dog, William, X-Ray, Yoke, and Zebra all reference designations of fittings, hatches, or doors.[1] The response "Roger" for "· – ·" or "R", to mean "received", also derives from this alphabet.

The names Able to Fox were also widely used in the early days of hexadecimal digital encoding of text in speaking of the hexadecimal digits equivalent to decimal 10 to 15, although the written form was simply the capital letters A to F. See hexadecimal.

Joint Army/Navy Phonetic Alphabet[2]
Letter Phonetic Letter Phonetic Letter Phonetic
A Able M Mike Y Yoke
B Baker N Nan Z Zebra
C Charlie O Oboe 0 Zero
D Dog P Peter 1 One
E Easy Q Queen 2 Two
F Fox R Roger 3 Three
G George S Sail/Sugar 4 Four
H How T Tare 5 Five
I Item U Uncle 6 Six
J Jig V Victor 7 Seven
K King W William 8 Eight
L Love X X-ray 9 Nine

U.S Navy phonetics[edit]

U.S. Navy Phonetic Alphabets 1913 to present[3]
Letter 1913 1927 1938 World War II 1957–present Signal Flag
A Able Affirmative Afirm Afirm (Able) Alpha
ICS Alpha.svg
B Boy Baker Baker Baker Bravo
ICS Bravo.svg
C Cast Cast Cast Charlie Charlie
ICS Charlie.svg
D Dog Dog Dog Dog Delta
ICS Delta.svg
E Easy Easy Easy Easy Echo
ICS Echo.svg
F Fox Fox Fox Fox Foxtrot
ICS Foxtrot.svg
G George George George George Golf
ICS Golf.svg
H Have Hypo Hypo How Hotel
ICS Hotel.svg
I Item Interrogatory Int Int (Item) India
ICS India.svg
J Jig Jig Jig Jig Juliet
ICS Juliet.svg
K King King King King Kilo
ICS Kilo.svg
L Love Love Love Love Lima
ICS Lima.svg
M Mike Mike Mike Mike Mike
ICS Mike.svg
N Nan Negative Negat Negat (Nan) November
ICS November.svg
O Oboe Option Option Option (Oboe) Oscar
ICS Oscar.svg
P Pup Preparatory Prep Prep (Peter) Papa
ICS Papa.svg
Q Quack Quack Queen Queen Quebec
ICS Quebec.svg
R Rush Roger Roger Roger Romeo
ICS Romeo.svg
S Sail Sail Sail Sugar Sierra
ICS Sierra.svg
T Tare Tare Tare Tare Tango
ICS Tango.svg
U Unit Unit Unit Uncle Uniform
ICS Uniform.svg
V Vice Vice Victor Victor Victor
ICS Victor.svg
W Watch William William William Whiskey
ICS Whiskey.svg
X X-ray X-ray X-ray X-ray X-ray
ICS X-ray.svg
Y Yoke Yoke Yoke Yoke Yankee
ICS Yankee.svg
Z Zed Zed Zed Zebra Zulu
ICS Zulu.svg


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-17. Retrieved 2016-07-10. 
  2. ^ Joint Army/Navy (JAN) phonetic alphabet from alt.usage.english (at the end)
  3. ^ Phonetic Alphabet and Signal Flags by Naval Historical Center (five phonetic alphabets: 1913, 1927, 1938, WWII, 1957–present)

External links[edit]