Alfa bravo charlie

Memorise and practise using the useful alfa bravo charlie-style phonetic alphabet, used worldwide to make it easier to spell words over the radio.

Helicopter landing
Quick activity
Disasters and emergencies

“Sorry, did you say ess for sugar? Or eff for Freddy?”

That might clear up one confusion, but the best way to be sure your letters are not misheard is to use the standard radio spelling alphabet, also known as the NATO phonetic alphabet. Learners can practise this fun and useful lifetime skill with quick class activities.


Learning objectives

Learners will:

  • be introduced to the NATO phonetic alphabet
  • discuss when using this alphabet would be useful
  • practise using the alfa bravo charlie-style alphabet.


Activity overview

1. Learn the NATO phonetic alphabet

Learners try out different methods to memorise the names for letters, such as flashcards, spelling out their names or learning by drill.

2. Discussion

Learners discuss how this alphabet was developed and consider when and how it might be used.


This resource was written by P J White of Alt62.

The photo shows an ICRC helicopter (© Albert Gonzalez Farran/ICRC).