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  • DCS Combat Brevity - Quick Guide & Dictionary


    This guide will cover basic combat brevity code-words and phrases used by FK and many other online DCS servers and communities. Some of the definitions may differ slightly from real-life usage.


    The basic premise of brevity is to make yourself understood quickly and clearly. This means that it is always better to say something in plain English than to say nothing, if you are unfamiliar with the code words in use. It also means that while specific orders and combinations of terms are specified in this guide, you can use them in any way that gets the point across. It doesn't matter if you call "SPIKE" with a bearing instead of clock position, or call the type, then "spike", then the direction. It just sounds cooler the "proper" way :) 

    And most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask if someone says something you don’t understand.


    How to make a call

    When talking on the radio, try to make it clear who you’re talking to, especially if you’re calling out of the blue. This is the standard format for radio communications:
    1. <who you’re talking to>,
    2. <who you are>,
    3. <what you want>.

    Example 1 - A pilot, callsign ENFIELD 1-1, asks the intercept controller, callsign MAGIC, where the bad guy is:
    “Magic, Enfield 1-1, Where’s the bandit?”

    Example 2 - A wingman (nr 3 in the flight) tells their flight lead that they forgot to retract their gear:
    “Lead, 3, You forgot your landing gear.”

    Another important note is what to call. If you're operating in close proximity to friendlies in other flights, it might be worth announcing missile launches on the common frequency that everyone can hear. On the other hand, if you're engaging a group far away, it might be worth only announcing your commitment to that group and it's destruction on the common frequency, in order to avoid clogging up comms.

    This applies to almost every piece of information you can transmit, including your identity and who you're trying to talk to. If I'm talking to you casually, I'm not going to say your name at the start of every sentence, and the same applies here. It's important to find a balance between making it clear who you are and who you're talking to, and keeping transmissions from becoming unnecessarily long-winded. Additionally, if something needs to be said fast, that might mean only including the most important info in the call.



    It is important to be able to effectively tell someone what direction something is in, especially in the sky where there can sometimes be very few points of reference. Here are the three primary ways in which direction can be conveyed:

    BEARING - generally used at longer ranges, or when it’s more important to be precise about a direction.

    CARDINAL DIRECTION - used as a quick and easy direction reference that is the same for everyone, where a bearing would be unnecessarily precise.

    CLOCK POSITION - used at close-medium range, typically inside a flight or when the aircraft’s direction is the most practical reference point, such as an intercept controller directing an aircraft in a dogfight.

    At the end of the day the most important thing is that the message gets across. Saying "He's over the big fuck-off mountain!" or "He's on our left, close!" can often be more effective that calling a bearing, cardinal direction or even clock position - which may require looking at a compass or thinking for a second first, robbing the recipient of vital seconds to react to a threat.



    A set of basic calls and terms that will let you communicate quickly and efficiently as a flight lead, wingman or intercept controller (also fallaciously known as an AWACS or GCI) in the majority of situations. Terminology that is usually used as a phrase will have an explanation in quotation marks from the perspective of the person making the call. Codewords will just have an explanation. Organised by subject.



    Communications regarding weapon employment. Follow one of these with information about your target if you haven't already specified it.

    FOX [number] - "I have launched a missile of the following type:" 

    1. Semi-active radar (AIM-7, Super-530, R-27R/ER)
    2. Passive IR (AIM-9, R-60, R-73, R-27T/ET)
    3. Active radar (AIM-120, AIM-54, SD-10, R-77)

    GUNS - “I’m firing my gun!”

    PICKLE - “I’m dropping a bomb!”
    (“PAVEWAY” can also be used for laser-guided bombs)

    RIFLE - “I’m firing a guided air-to-ground missile!” used for Mavericks, Vikhrs and more.

    MAGNUM - “I’m firing a anti-radiation missile!” used for HARM, Kh-58, Kh-25MPU, and more.

    SPLASH - “Air target destroyed.” Can be followed by target information, such as type and/or location so that others know exactly what has been destroyed.

    SHACK - “Ground target destroyed.” Just like SPLASH, can be followed by target information.


    Target Identification & Reporting
    Terms and phrases for communicating information or questions about contacts.

    BOGEY - Contact whose identity is unknown.

    BANDIT - Hostile contact.

    FRIENDLY - Friendly contact.

    HOT - Moving towards friendlies.

    COLD - Moving away.

    FLANKING - Moving perpendicular or slightly diagonally towards us. Usually given with cardinal direction of target movement.

    ANGELS - Altitude in thousands of feet, used primarily for friendly aircraft.

    BRAA - [Bearing] for [Range], at [Altitude], [Aspect]. Standard format for calling a targets position relative to a friendly, usually the friendly you’re telling about the target. Aspect can be HOT, COLD or FLANKING.

    • Example - someone is telling a group, in this case Enfield-2, that they have a bandit at 25000 feet coming towards them from bearing 250, at a distance of 45 miles:
    • "Enfield 2, bandit 250 for 45, at 25000 hot."

    BULLS [BRAA] - Like BRAA, but relative to the Bullseye - a predetermined reference point available on the map. Used when several friendly groups need to know about something’s position.

    • Example - Intercept controller, callsign "Darkstar", tells friendly group "Colt-2" about an unknown contact's location. Note the usage of a universal directional reference for the bogey's heading, as the aspect won't be the same for everyone who hears the call:
    • "Colt-2, Darkstar. Bogey bulls 030 for 2037000, heading east.

    POPUP [location] - “A radar contact that may become relevant to you has appeared at the following location.” where location is typically given in BRAA or BULLS.

    BOGEY DOPE - “Give me information about bogeys and bandits relevant to me.” Usually directed towards the intercept controller.

    • Example - friendly pilot "Uzi 1-3" asks for information on nearby targets from the intercept controller, "Darkstar":
    • "Darkstar, Uzi 1-3, bogey dope!"

    DECLARE [target information] - “AWACS, Inform me about this target.” When making this call to your AWACS, briefly provide as much target information as possible, especially in a busy airspace; altitude relative to you, direction, range, etc.

    • Example - "Colt 2-1" asks an intercept controller for information on a high, approaching object he's spotted to the left of his nose. If time is critical, as in for example a busy engagement, you can skip the intercept controller's callsign if you've already been talking to them:
    • "Colt 2-1, declare 11-o'clock high, hot!"

    MERGED - In a close-range engagement where other far-away radars may have trouble distinguishing between the combatants.

    COMMITTING - Moving to engage the group. Can be followed by BULLS call to indicate target group position, or on its own in reference to a group already being discussed.

    BUGGING OUT - Leaving an engagement with no intent to come back.

    FADED - Radar contact with target is lost, but the target is probably still there.

    VISUAL - “I see the/a friendly”

    BLIND - “I do not see the friendly”

    TALLY - “I see the bandit”

    NO JOY - “I do not see the bandit”



    Terminology used to refer to specific maneuvers.

    CRANKING - Turning as far away from the target as possible whilst still maintaining radar contact.

    BEAMING - Flying perpendicular to the target.

    NOTCHING - Beaming at a lower altitude than the target in order to hide from its radar.


    Sensor Information

    Terminology used to convey information about what your sensors - usually the Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) - are picking about other radars.

    RAYGUN [own aircraft type], [target information] - “I am locking a bogey, anyone getting a lock warning?” When making this call, be sure to provide as much information as you can on the target. This, and providing you own aircraft type, makes it easier for a friendly target to know who is locking them.

    • Example - a pilot in an F-15, callsign "Colt 3-2", wants to identify a target and uses the "RAYGUN" call with target location using the BULLS format. Note that the pilot's callsign is not included, as it isn't really necessary. You can include it if you want:
    • "Raygun 15, bulls 171 for 90 at 12000"
    • If someone calls “RAYGUN”, you can simply respond with “BUDDY” if you suddenly get locked by the aircraft you think called raygun.
    • If you are only trying to identify aircraft in your own group, you can simply call "Raygun" on its own over the intraflight frequency. If someone else does this and you aren't getting locked, you can respond with "Clean".

    SPIKE [clock position], [type] - “I am being locked by an airborne radar from this direction, of this type!”

    MUD SPIKE [clock position], [type] - “I am being locked by a SAM from this direction, of this type!"

    BUDDY SPIKE [type], [own location/altitude] - “I am being locked by a friendly radar of this type, at this location!” When making this call, it is useful to provide your own altitude and if possible, BULLS position. This makes it easier for the locking aircraft to realise they are locking a friendly.

    • Again, if someone calls “RAYGUN”, you can simply respond with “BUDDY” if you suddenly get locked by the person you think called raygun.

    NAILS [clock direction], [type] - “My RWR has detected a radar in search mode scanning me from this direction, of this type. It hasn't locked me."



    Terminology typically used between members of a flight or formation.

    FENCE IN/OUT - Procedure performed when entering/exiting the AO. When your flight lead calls this, turn off/on external lights, set master arm and radar as required, and check fuel state. Then make a call to your flight saying you're fenced in and what your fuel state is.

    CHECK LEFT/RIGHT - Call used by flight lead to indicate a left/right turn of the whole formation.

    NOSE HOT/COLD - “My radar is on/off”

    MUSIC ON/OFF - “My jammer is on/off” or “Turn jammers on/off”

    (GO) COMBAT SPREAD - Rough formation with lateral spread of 1-2 miles between wingmen. Typically entered just before an engagement.

    (GO) FINGER FOUR - “Classic” close fighter formation.

    (DROP/GO) TRAIL - Formation with lead in front, with wingmen following in a line with 1-2 mile spacing. Trail distance may be specified to something else if necessary. 


    Terminology used to coordinate self-controlled CAS operations without a JTAC/FAC.

    IN HOT - "I'm about to release ordinance on a target." Can be followed by target type and location.

    IN FROM THE [cardinal direction] - "I'm rolling in to begin an attack from this cardinal direction." Again, can be followed by target type and location.

    OUT [cardinal direction] - "I have completed my attack run and am exiting in this cardinal direction." Don't forget to call SHACK if you took out your target.


    Some more advanced terminology that isn’t really necessary to know, but can streamline the comm process if you’re already familiar with basic brevity.
    See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiservice_tactical_brevity_code & https://wiki.hoggitworld.com/view/Brevity_List



    MADDOG - “I have fired an ARH missile with no radar lock.”

    PITBULL - ARH missile has transitioned to onboard radar guidance.

    CHEAP SHOT - “I have launched an ARH missile at a locked target with no intention of maintaining lock until PITBULL range.”

    BRUISER - “I have launched a standoff anti-ship weapon”

    PIGS - “I have launched a standoff glide weapon”

    WINCHESTER - No offensive ordinance remaining.

    BIRD - Friendly Surface-to-Air missiles.



    SMASH ON/OFF - “Turn lights on/off”

    SADDLED - Joined the formation and am stable.

    BUSTER - Proceeding at full military (non-afterburner) power.

    GATE - Proceeding at maximum power.

    DE-LOUSE - Check for, identify, and if necessary, engage bogeys trailing friendly aircraft.

    LEAKER - A hostile aircraft has passed through the defensive layer and may threaten other friendly aircraft, such as CAS jets or helicopters.


    TRESPASS [type], [location] - Inside the effective range of a hostile SAM.


    FEET WET/DRY - Over water/land.

    Edited by ThePointForward

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