The NATO phonetic alphabet is a way of using words to replace letters. Although it is called a "phonetic alphabet" because it is used so no one gets confused when saying letters, it does not have the same reasons as the International Phonetic Alphabet or other phonetic alphabets. The first letter of the word is the letter the word stands for. This is done to help make speech easier to understand at times when it is important to be understood such as in the military and in air travel. There have been many different phonetic alphabets over time. On board ships, flags are known as these letters, and each have their own meanings. Different countries also have different phonetic alphabets.


Oscar, on board ship, means Man OverboardThis is the phonetic alphabet that is used most often today:

A Alpha F Foxtrot K Kilo P Papa U Uniform Z Zulu
B Bravo G Golf L Lima Q Quebec V Victor
C Charlie H Hotel M Mike R Romeo W Whiskey
D Delta I India N November S Sierra X X-ray
E Echo J Juliet O Oscar T Tango Y Yankee

Numbers are also in the phonetic alphabet. The English numbers 0 through 8 are written and spoken the same. The number 9 is written the same, but it is pronounced niner.