The term “NATO Alphabet” was adopted prior to the Cold War as an alternative name for the ICAO phonetic alphabet, after it was used in a publication for the navies of all NATO members. A unique feature of this alphabet is that it includes corresponding symbols for the Morse code. Although the official version of this spelling alphabet was initially marked as classified information, later public documents included a full version of the NATO alphabet.

The first spelling alphabet was developed for use within the U.S. military as early as World War One. A decade later, in 1927, the International Telegraph Union (ITU) produced its own version of the spelling alphabet to facilitate global communication via telegrams. Over time the ITU’s spelling alphabet saw several changes, and its use expanded to areas of communication.

During the second world war, in 1941, the U.S. adopted a new spelling alphabet, the Joint Army / Navy Phonetic Alphabet. Then, in 1956, after a period of research and testing that included 31 different countries, the ICAO finalized its Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, which would be adopted as the official spelling alphabet of NATO and all allied countries.

 
LetterIRSA (1957-Present)Joint Army (WW2)ITU (1927-WW2)RAF (1913)Morse code
AAlphaAfirmAmsterdam Able. _
BBravoBakerBaltimoreBoy_ . . .
CCharlieCharlieCasablancaCast_ . _ .
DDeltaDogDenmarkDog_ . .
EEchoEasyEdisonEasy.
FFoxtrotFoxFloridaFox. . _ .
GGolfGeorgeGallipoliGeorge_ _ .
HHotelHowHavanaHave. . . .
IIndiaInt (Item)ItaliaItem. .
JJulietJigJerusalemJig. _ _ _
KKiloKingKilogrammeKing_ . _
LLimaLoveLiverpoolLove. _ . .
MMikeMikeMadagascarMike_ _
NNovemberNegat New YorkNan_ .
OOscarOption OsloOboe_ _ _
PPapaPrep ParisPup. _ _ .
QQuebecQueenQuebecQuack_ _ . _
RRomeoRogerRomaRush. _ .
SSierraSugarSantiagoSail. . .
TTangoTareTripoliTare_
UUniformUncleUpsalaUnit. . _
VVictorVictorValenciaVice. . . _
WWhiskeyWilliamWashingtonWatch. _ _
XX-RayX-RayXanthippeX-Ray_ . . _
YYankeeYokeYokohamaYoke_ . _ _
ZZuluZebraYokohamaZed_ _ . .