Military Acronymns List

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Military Acronymns List

Some Help with Military Alphabet Soup from Civilian Male Military Spouse Taurus M. James


Need help with the military acronymns alphabet soup?

The military loves acronyms. Sometimes, I think there is an acronymn requirement in the Air Force. "If a sentence doesn't have an acronym, make one." I wonder who the people are who conjure up new acronyms.

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When my wife starts talking about work, it's nothing for her to spit out multiple acronymns in a single sentence. Usually, I can handle decoding one acronym per sentence. But when she hits me with multiple acronyms, I start lagging so far behind in the conversation that I resort to the occasional head nod and "uh-huh" responses. Yeah, I stop my wife sometimes and ask her, "What does that mean?" But you can imagine what it would be like having to stop several times in each sentence.

Well, as a bit of a solution, here's a military acronym list. It is not a comprehensive or exhaustive list. Again, I'm sure hundreds more acronyms were created in the last hour, within the Air Force alone. Even so, this list might still be helpful.


AA - Air-to-Air
AA - Anti-Aircraft
AAA - Anti-Aircraft Artillery
AAC - Army Air Corps (UK)
AAM - Air-to-Air Missile
AAMG - Anti-Aircraft Machine Gun
AAAV - Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle
AAV - Amphibious Assault Vehicle
AAV - Assault Amphibian Vehicle
AAVC - Assault Amphibian Vehicle, Command
ABM - Anti-Ballistic Missile
ACC - Air Combat Command (USAF)
ACM - Air Combat Maneuvering
ACMI - Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation
ACMR - Air Combat Maneuvering Range
ACP - Armored Command Post
ADATS - Air Defense Anti-Tank System
ADF - Australian Defense Force
ADIZ - Air Defense Identification Zone
AEW - Airborne Early Warning
AEW&C - Airborne Early Warning and Control
AEV - Armored Engineer Vehicle
AF - Air Force
AFB - Air Force Base (US)
AFD - Automatic Feeding Device
AFMC - Air Force Material Command (USAF)
AFV - Armored Fighting Vehicle
AIFV - Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle
ALBM - Air Launched Ballistic Missile
ALCM - Air Launched Cruise Missile
AMC - Air Mobility Command (USAF)
AMRAAM - Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (Raytheon AIM-120)
AMX - Atelier De Construction d'Issy-les-Moulineaux (France)
ANG - Air National Guard (US)
ANZAC - Australia New and Zealand Army Corps
ANZUS - Australia New Zealand United States Security Treaty
AP - Armor Piercing
APAM - Anti-Personnel, Anti-Material
APC - Armored Personnel Carrier
APDS - Armor-Piercing Discarding Sabot
APDS-T - Armor-Piercing Discarding Sabot Tracer
APFSDS - Armor Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot
APHE - Armor Piercing High Explosive
APU - Auxiliary Power Unit
AP-T - Armor Piercing - Tracer
ARM - Anti-Radiation Missile
ARRV - Armored Repair and Recovery Vehicle
ARV - Armored Recovery Vehicle
ASCOD - Austrian-Spanish Co-Operative Development
ASLAV - AUstralian Light Armored Vehicle
ASM - Air-to-Surface Missile
ASPJ - Airborne Self-Protection Jammer
ASRAAM - Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile
AST - Air Staff Target
ASTOVL - Advanced Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing
ASV - Anti-Surface Vessel
ASW - Anti-Submarine Warfare
ASuW - Anti-Surface Warfare
AT - Anti-Tank
ATGW - Anti-Tank Guided Weapon
ATBM - Anti-Tactical Ballistic Missile
AUW - All Up Weight
AVLB - Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge
AVRE - Armored Vehicle Royal Engineers (UK)
AWACS - Airborne Warning and Control System (Boeing E-3 Sentry)
AWOL - Absent WithOut Leave



B - Bomber designation (as in B-52 Stratofortress)
BAe - British Aerospace, now BAe Systems
bhp - Brake Horsepower
BVR - Beyond Visual Range



C2 - Command and Control
C3 - Command, Control and Communications
C3I - Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence
CAF - Canadian Armed Forces, now Canadian Forces
CAP - Combat Air Patrol
CAS - Close-Air Support
CAWS - Close Assault Weapon System
CDU - Control Display Unit
CEA - Circular Error Average
CEP - Circular Error Probable
CEV - Combat Engineer/Engineering Vehicle
CF - Canadian Forces
CFE - Conventional Forces Europe
CFV - Cavalry Fighting Vehicle
CIWS Close-In Weapon System (US)
CO - Commanding Officer
COIN - Counter Insurgency
COL - Colonel
COTAC - Conduite de Tir Automatique pour Char (France)
CPL - Corporal
CPT - Captain
CRARRV - Challenger Armored Repair and Recovery Vehicle
CRT - Cathode Ray Tube
CSB - Close-Support Bridge
CV - Conventionally Powered aircraft carrier (USN)
CV - Combat Vehicle
CVN - Attack aircraft carrier, nuclear powered (US)
CVRT - Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance Tracked



DEW - Distant Early Warning (US)
DFC - Distinguished Flying Cross: air force decoration
DGPS - Differential GPS
DoD - Department of Defense
DP - Dual Purpose
DVI - Direct Voice Input
DZ - Drop Zone



E - Enlisted
EAAK - Enhanced Applique Armor Kit (France)
ECCM - Electronic Counter CounterMeasures
ECM - Electronic CounterMeasures
ECR - Electronic Combat Reconnaissance, SEAD Panavia Tornado variant
EFIS - Electronic Flight Instrument System
ELINT - ELectronic INTelligence
Endurance - Length of time an aircraft's fuel load will permit it to stay airborne.
EOD - Explosive Ordnance Disposal
EPG - Engin Principal du Genie (France)
ERA - Explosive Reactive Armor
eshp - Equivalent Shaft Horsepower
ESM - Electronic Support Measures
EW - Electronic Warfare
EW - Electronic Warning



F - Fighter designation (as in F-15 Eagle)
FA - Frontal Aviation
FAA - Fleet Air Arm (UK, Australia, Argentina)
FAB - Forca Aerea Brasileira , Brazilian Air Force
FAC - Forward Air Control / Forward Air Controller
FAE - Fuel Air Explosives
FAR - Force d'Action Rapide (France)
FAV - Fast Attack Vehicle
FBW - Fly-by-Wire
FCS - Fire Control System
FEBA - Foward Edge of Battle Area
FLIR - Forward Looking Infrared
FIFV - Future Infantry Fighting Vehicle
Fly-by-Wire - Flight control systems with electric signaling
FMC - Food Machinery Corporation
FMS - Foreign Military Sale (US)
FN - Fabrique National (Belgium)
FUBAR - 'Fouled' Up Beyond All Recognition
FV - Fighting Vehicle



g - Measure of the force of gravity
GAM - GPS-Aided Munition
GCI - Ground-Controlled Intercept
GCT - Grande Cadence de Tir (France)
GE - General Electric
GIAT - Groupement Industriel des Armements Terrestres (France)
GP - General Purpose
GPMG - General Purpose Machine Gun
GPS - Global Positioning System
gr - Grams (or Grain if talking about small arms ammunition)
GTK - Gepanzertes Transport-Kraftfahzeug (Germany)



HE - High Explosive
HEAP - High Explosive Anti-Personnel
HEAT - High Explosive Anti-Tank
HEAT -FS - High Explosive Anti-Tank - Fin Stabilized
HE-FRAG - High Explosive-Fragmentation
HEI - High Explosive Incendiary
HEMAT - Heavy Expanded Mobility Ammunition Trailer
HEP - High Explosive Plastic
HESH - High Explosive Squash Head
HE-T - High Explosive - Tracer
HF - Hi Frequency (Between 3 to 30 MHz)
HOTAS - Hands On Throttle and Stick
HOTCC - Hands on Throttle, Collective and Cyclic
HMS - Her Majesty's Service (UK/Australia)
HP - HorsePower
HQ - Headquarter(s)
HR - Hour(s)
HUD - Head Up Display
HUDWAC - Head Up Display Weapon Aiming Computer
HUDWASS - Head Up Display Weapon Aiming SubSystem
HVAP - High Velocity Armor Piercing
HVM - High Velocity Missile



IADS - Integrated Air Defense System
IAS - Indicated Airspeed Shown
ICBM - InterContinental Ballistic Missile
IFF - Identification Friend or Foe
IFV - Infantry Fighting Vehicle
IGE - In Ground Effect
ILS - Instrument Landing System
IMP - Imperial (UK)
INS - Inertial Navigation System
IOC - Initial Operational Capability
IR - InfraRed
IRAN - Inspect and Repair as Necessary
IRBM - Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile
IRCM - Infra-Red CounterMeasure
ISA - International Standard Atmosphere
IRS - Inertial Reference System
IRST - Infra-Red Search and Track



JASDF - Japan Air Self Defense Force
JAST - Joint Advanced Strike Technology
JDAM - Joint Direct Attack Munition
JGSDF - Japan Ground Self Defense Force
JMSDF - Japan Maritime Self Defense Force
Joint-STAR - Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Grumman E-8)
JSOW - Joint Stand-Off Weapon
JSF - Joint Strike Fighter
JTIDS - Joint Tactical Information Distribution System



KCAS - Calibrated AirSpeed (in Knots)
KG - Kilograms
KIAS - Knots Indicated Airspeed
KM - KiloMeter
KM/H - KiloMeters per Hour
kN - KiloNewton measure of force (1,000 Newtons : 1 Newton = 0.2248 lbs of force)
Knot - Aviation and maritime unit of velocity
KT - Kiloton (equivalent explosive force of 1,000 tons of TNT)
Kt/Kts - Knot(s)
KTAS - True AirSpeed in Knots
kW - KiloWatt



LABS - Low Altitude Bombing System
LAMPS - Light Airborne MultiPurpose System
LANTIRN - Low Altitude Targeting InfraRed for Night
LAPES - Low Altitude Parachute Extraction System
LARS - Light Artillery Rocket System
LAV - Light Assault Vehicle
LAV - Light Armored Vehicle
lb - Pound(s)
LCD - Liquid Crystal Display
LF - Low Frequency (30 to 300 kHz)
LGB - Laser-Guided Bomb
LLLTV - Low Light Level Television
LO - Low Observables
LPT - Low Profile Turret
LRMP - Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft
LT - Lieutenant
LT - Light Tank
LVTP - Landing Vehicle Tracked Personnel
LZ - Landing Zone



MACH - Measure of Airspeed (Mach 1 = 1,223 kph/760 mph at sea level)
MAC - Military Airlift Command; Now AMC (USAF)
MAD - Magnetic Anomaly Detector
MAJ - Major
MAP - Military Assistance Program
MAW - Marine Air Wing (USMC)
MBT - Main Battle Tank
MCM - Mine Countermeasures
MFD - Multi-Function Display
MG - Machine Gun
MILAN - Missile d'Infanterie Leger Anti-Char
min - Minute(s)
MLU - Mid-Life Update
MLRS - Multiple Launch Rocket System
mm - Millimeter
MoD - Ministry of Defense
MPA - Maritime Patrol Aircraft
MPC - Multi-Purpose Carrier
MR - Maritime Reconnaissance
MRAV - Multi-Role Armored Vehicle
MRBM - Medium Range Ballistic Missile
MSIP - Multi-Stage Improvement Program
MTOW - Maximum Take-Off Weight



NAS - Naval Air Station
NASA - National Aeronautics & Space Administration
NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Nautical Mile - Measurement of distance
NBC - Nuclear, Biological and Chemical
nm - Nautical Mile
NOE - Nap of the Earth



O - Officer
OCU - Operational Conversion Unit
OGE - Out of Ground Effect
OTH-B - Over-The-Horizon Backscatter radar
OTHR - Over-The-Horizon Radar
OTHT - Over-The-Horizon Targeting



PACAF - Pacific Air Force (USAF)
PFC - Private First Class
PGM - Precision-Guided Munition
PID - Passive IDentification
PNGDF - Papua New Guinea Defense Force
PTG - Poseur de Travures du Genie (France)
PVT - Private



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R&D - Research & Development
RAF - Royal Air Force (UK)
RAAF - Royal Australian Air Force
RAAWS - Radar Altimeter and Altitude Warning System
RAM - Radar Absorbing Material
RAN - Royal Australian Navy
RAST - Recovery Assist, Secure and Traverse system
RATO - Rocket-Assisted Take-Off
RCS - Radar Cross-Section
Recce - Reconnaissance
RISE - Reliability Improved Selected Equipment
RMAF - Royal Malaysian Air Force
RMG - Ranging Machine Gun
RN - Royal Navy (UK)
RNAS - Royal Navy Air Service
RNeAF - Royal Netherlands Air Force
RNZAF - Royal New Zealand Air Force
ROE - Rules of Engagement
RoKAF - Republic of Korea Air Force (South Korea)
RP - Rocket Propelled
RPG - Rocket Propelled Grenade
RPM - Revolutions Per Minute (or Rounds Per Minute if dealing with small arms)
RPV - Remotely-Piloted Vehicle
RR - Rolls Royce
RSAF - Republic of Singapore Air Force
RSAF - Royal Saudi Air Force
RTC - Royal Tank Corps
RWR - Radar Warning Receiver



SA - Surface-to-Air
SAAF - South African Air Force
SAC - Strategic Air Command (USAF - merged into ACC)
SAM - Surface-to-Air Missile
SAR - Search And Rescue
SAS - Special Air Service
SEAD - Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses
SENSO - SENSor Operator
SEP - Systems Enhancement Package
SEALs - SEA, Air and Land (USN)
SGT - Sergeant
shp - Shaft HorsePower (usually in reference to a helicopter's engine output power)
Sigint - SIGnals INTelligence
SLAP - Saboted Light Armor Penetrator
SLAR - Side-Looking Airborne Radar
SLEP - Service Life Extension Program
SOCOM - Special Operations COMmand
SOLRS - Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron (USAF)
SMG - Sub Machine Gun
SNAFU - Situation Normal, All 'Fouled' Up
SP - Specialist (when referred in a soldiers rank)
SP - Self-Propelled
SPG - Self-Propelled Gun
SPAAG - Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun
SSM - Surface-to-Surface Missile
SRAM - Short Range Attack Missile
STO - Short Take-Off
STOL - Short Take-Off and Landing
STOVL - Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing



TAC - Tactical Air Command (USAF, now merged into ACC)
TACAMO - TAke Charge And Move Out
TACAN - TACtical Aid to Navigation
TACCO - TACtical COordinator
TANS - Tactical Air Navigation System
TBO - Time Between Overhauls
TBT - Tank Bridge Transporter
TFR - Terrain Following Radar
TIALD - Target Identification Airborne Laser Designation
TNI-AU - Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Udara, Indonesian Air Force
TOW - Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-Guided
TSSAM - Tri-Service Stand-off Attack Missile
TRV - Tank Recovery Vehicle



UAV - Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
UHF - Ultra-High Fequency (300MHz to 3 GHz)
UN - United Nations
USAF - United States Air Force
USAFE - United States Air Force in Europe
USMC - United States Marine Corps
USN - United States Navy



VDU - Visual Display Unit
VHF - Very High Frequency (3 to 300MHz)
V/STOL - Vertical or Short Take-Off and Landing
VSEL - Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering LTD
VTAS - Voice, Throttle and Stick
VTOL - Vertical Take-Off and Landing



WO - Warrant Officer
WSO - Weapon System Operator (or Weapon System Officer)



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