ATI has several courses on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) including

The following acronyms and definitions are useful for understanding Unmanned Aircraft Systems including UAS Definitions, Concepts & General UAS Principles.

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone, is an aircraft without a human pilot on board. Its flight is controlled either autonomously by computers in the vehicle, or under the remote control of a pilot on the ground or in another vehicle. There are a wide variety of drone shapes, sizes, configurations, and characteristics. Historically, UAVs were simple remotely piloted aircraft, but autonomous control is increasingly being employed.

They are deployed predominantly for military applications, but also used in a small but growing number of civil applications, such as policing, firefighting, and nonmilitary security work, such as surveillance of pipelines. UAVs are often preferred for missions that are too “dull, dirty, or dangerous” for manned aircraft. the United States, the United States Navy and shortly after the Federal Aviation Administration have adopted the name unmanned aircraft (UA) to describe aircraft systems without a flight crew on board. More common names include UAV, drone,remotely piloted vehicle (RPV), remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), remotely operated aircraft (ROA). These “limited-size” (as defined by the FAI) unmanned aircraft flown in the USA’s National Airspace System, flown solely for recreation and sport purposes such as models, are generally flown under the voluntary safety standards of the Academy of Model Aeronautics, the United States’ national aeromodeling organization. To operate a UA for non-recreational purposes in the United States, users must obtain a Certificate of Authorization (COA) to operate in national airspace.[20] At the moment, COAs require a public entity as a sponsor. For example, when BP needed to observe oil spills, they operated the Aeryon Scout UAVs under a COA granted to the University of Alaska Fairbanks.[21] COAs have been granted for both land and shipborne operations.

The term unmanned aircraft system (UAS) emphasizes the importance of other elements beyond an aircraft itself. A typical UAS consists of the:

  • unmanned aircraft (UA)
  • control system, such as Ground Control Station (GCS)
  • control link, a specialized datalink
  • other related support equipment.

For example, the RQ-7 Shadow UAS consists of four UAs, two GCSs, one portable GCS, one Launcher, two Ground Data Terminals (GDTs), one portable GDT, and one Remote Video Terminal. Certain military units are also fielded with a maintenance support vehicle.

Because of this systemic approach, unmanned aircraft systems have not been included in the United States Munitions List Category VIII – Aircraft and Associated Equipment. Vice versa, the “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems” are clearly mentioned at paragraph 121-16 Missile Technology Control Regime Annex of the United States Munitions List. More precisely, the Missile Technology Control Regime Annex levels rocket and unmanned aerial vehicle systems together.

The term UAS was since adopted by the United States Department of Defense (DOD) and the British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The term used previously for unmanned aircraft system was unmanned-aircraft vehicle system (UAVS).


1 Acronyms and Abbreviations. The following acronyms are used for the purpose of this agreement.


ACCS Army Command and Control System (US)/Air Command and Control System (NATO)
Accel Acceleration
ACK Acknowledge
ACM Airspace Control Means
ACO Airspace Control Order
ADatP-3 Allied Data Publication – 3
ADS Automatic Dependent Surveillance
ADT Air Data Terminal
ADU Air Defence Unit
AGL Above Ground Level
AMPS Aviation Mission Planning System
AMPN Amplification
ANSI American National Standards Institute
AOA Angle Of Attack
AOI Area Of Interest
AP Allied Publication/Alliance Publication
API Application Program(ming) Interface
ASCII American Standard Code for Information Interchange
ASM Air Space Management
ASW Anti-Submarine Warfare
ATC Air Traffic Control
ATP Allied Tactical Publication
ATR Automatic Target Recognition
ATS Air Traffic Services
AV Air Vehicle
AVC Air Vehicle Control

BDA Battle Damage Assessment
BER Bit Error Rate
BIT Built-in-Test
BITE Built-in-Test Equipment
BLOS Beyond Line of Sight
BOM Bit-Oriented Message

C2 Command and Control
C4I Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence
CBIT Continuous Built-in-Test
CBRN Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear
CCI Command & Control Interface
CCISM Command and Control Interface Specific Module
CDL Common Data Link
CEN European Standardisation Organisation
CEP Circular Error Probability
CFOV Centre Field of View
CG Centre of Gravity
CGS Common Ground Segment/Common Ground Station/Common Ground System
CIRC Circular
CJTF Combined Joint Task Force
CL Connectionless
Cm Centimetres
CO Connection Oriented
COE Common Operating Environment
CONOPS Concept of Operations
COP Common Operational Picture
CORBA Common Object Request Broker Architecture
COTS Commercial-Off-The-Shelf
CR Communications Relay
CRD Common Route Definition
CRT Cathode Ray Tube
CUCS Core UAV Control System

DC Direct Current
DCE Distributed Computing Environment
DCM Data Link Control Module
DIGEST Digital Geographic Information Exchange Standard
DII Defence Information Infrastructure
DII/COE Defence Information Infrastructure/Common Operating Environment
DIN Deutsche Institut fur Normung
DL Data Link
DLI Data Link Interface
DoD Department of Defence
DTED Digital Terrain Elevation Data


ECM Electronic Counter Measures
EIA Electronic Industries Association
EIA/IS EIA Interim Standard
ELINT Electronic Intelligence
EMCON Emission Control
EO Electro-Optical
EO/IR Electro Optical/Infrared
EP External pilot
ERF Ego-Referenced Frame
ERS Emergency Recovery System
ESM Electronic Support Measures
ETA Estimated Time of Arrival
ETSI European Telecommunications Standards Institute
EW Electronic Warfare

FLIR Forward Looking Infrared
FOB Forward Operations Base
FOV Field of View
FT Flight Termination
FTP File Transfer Protocol

GDT Ground Data Terminal
GMT Greenwich Mean Time
GMTI Ground Moving Target Indicator
GOTS Government Off-The-Shelf
GPS Global Positioning System
GUI Graphical User Interface

HALE High Altitude, Long Endurance
HCI Human Computer Interface
HF High Frequency
HSI Hyperspectral Imagery
HL Hand Launched
HTML Hyper Text Mark-up Language
HTTP Hypertext Transfer Protocol
Hz Hertz, cycles per second

I/O Input/Output
IA International Agreement
ICAO International Civil Aviation Organisation
ID Identification
IDD Interface Design Description/Interface Definition Document
IEA Information Exchange Agreements
IEC International Enterprise Committee/International Electro technical Commission
IEEE Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
IER Information Exchange Requirements
IES Imagery Exploitation System
IETF Internet Engineering Task Force
IFF Identification Friend or Foe
IL Image Library
INS Inertial Navigation System
IP Internet Protocol/Internal Pilot
IPS Image Print Services
IPX NetWare Transport Protocol
IR Infrared
IRS Interface Requirements Specifications
ISAR Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar
ISDN Integrated Services Digital Network
ISG Industry Support Group
ISO International Organisation for Standardisation
ISO/CD Committee Draft of ISO
ISO/DIS Draft International Standard of ISO
ISR Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance
ISTAR Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance
ITDP International Technology Demonstration Program
ITU International Telecommunication Union
ITU-T(SB) International Telecommunications Union – Telecommunications (Standardisation Bureau)

JFACC Joint Force Air Component Commander
JFC Joint Force Commander
JPEG Joint Photographic Experts Group
JSH JASA Standards Handbook
JSWG JASA Standards Working Group
JTA Joint Technical Architecture
JTF Joint Task Force
JTFC Joint Task Force Commander

Kilo 1,000
Km Kilometres


L&R Launch and Recovery
L-16 Link-16 (TADIL-J message standard)
LIDAR Light Detection And Ranging
LAN Local Area Network
LAS Local Access Subsystem
LB Land-Based
LCD Liquid Crystal Display
LOI Level of Interoperability
LOS Line of Sight
LRF Laser Range Finder

MAV Micro Air Vehicle
Mb Megabit
MB Megabyte
Mb/s Megabits per second
MB/s Megabytes per second
Met Meteorological
MGRS Military Grid Reference System
MIJI Meaconing, Intrusion, Jamming, and Interference
MIL Military
MIL-STD Military Standard
MIME Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension
MIN Minimum
MMP Modular Mission Payload
MMS Manufacturing Messaging Specification
MOA Memorandum of Agreement
MOTS Military Off-The-Shelf
MOU Memorandum of Understanding
MP Mission Planning/Mission Planner
MPEG Motion Pictures Experts Group
MPO Mission Planning Operator/Mission /Payload Operator
MPS Metres per second
MSE Mobile Subscriber Equipment
Msg Message
MSI Multi-Spectral Imagery
MSK Minimum Shift Keying
MSL Mean Sea Level
MTF Message Text Formats
MTI Moving Target Indicator

N/A Not Applicable
NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
NBC Nuclear, Biological and Chemical
NC3TA NATO C3 Technical Architecture
NCIS NATO Common Interoperability Standards
NCOE NATO Common Operating Environment
NCSP NC3 Common Standards Profile
Near RT Near Real Time
NED NATO Effective Date
NIIA NATO ISR Interoperability Architecture
NIMP NATO Interoperability Management Plan
NIIRS National Imagery Interpretation Rating Scale
NIPD NATO Interoperability Planning Document
NITF National Imagery Transmission Format
NITFS National Imagery Transmission Format Standard
Nm Nanometre
NNAG NATO Naval Armaments Group
NOSIP NATO Open System Interconnection Profile
NOTS NATO Off-The-Shelf
NRT Non-Real Time
NSA NATO Standardisation Agency
NSE Non Standard Equipment
NSIF NATO Secondary Imagery Format
NSIL NATO Standard Image Library
NSILI NATO Standard Image Library Interface
NSR NATO Staff Requirements
NTF Network File Server
NTIS NATO Technical Interoperability Standards
NTSC National Transmission Standards Committee

OPFOR Opposing Force
OPS Operations
OSE Open System Environment
OSI Open System Interconnection (model)
OTH Over The Horizon
OTH-T Over The Horizon – Targeting

PDF Portable Document Format
PDU Power Distribution Unit
PG/35 Project Group 35
PO Payload Operator
Pyld Payload


QoS Quality of Service

Rad Radians
RAID Redundant Array of Inexpensive/Independent Disks
RECCEXRE Reconnaissance Exploitation Report
RF Radio Frequency
RFC Request for Comment
ROS Relief on Station/Rules of Safety
RP Route Plan
Rpt Report
RT Real Time
RTP Real Time Protocol/ Real Time Processor
Rx Receive

SA Situational Awareness
SALUTE Size, Activity, Location, Unit, Time, Equipment
SAR Synthetic Aperture Radar/Search And Rescue
SATCOM Satellite Communications
SB Sea-based
SEC Seconds
SED Signal External Descriptor
SIGINT Signals Intelligence
SINCGARS Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System
SMPTE Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers
SMTP Simple Mail Transfer Protocol
SNR Signal to Noise Ratio
ST Specialist Team
STANAG (NATO) Standardization Agreement

TBD To Be Defined
TCDL Tactical Common Data Link
TCP/IP Transfer Control Protocol/Internet Protocol
Tgt Target
TV Television
TX Transmit

UAV Unmanned Aerial Vehicle/Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle
UB Unified Build
UCAV Unmanned/ Uninhabited Combat Aerial Vehicle
UDP User Datagram Protocol
UES UAV Exploitation System
UHF Ultra High Frequency
UI User Interface
UJTL Universal Joint Task List
UPS Uninterruptible Power Supply
URL Uniform Resource Locator
USIS United States Imagery Standards
USMTF United States Message Text Formatting
UTC Universal Time Coordinated
UTM Universal Transverse Mercator

VCR Video Cassette Recorder
VDL VHF Data Link
VDU Visual Display Unit
VHF Very High Frequency
VISP Video Imagery Standards Profile
VMAP Vector Map
VMF Variable Message Format
VSM Vehicle Specific Module

WAN Wide Area Network
WAS Wide Area Subsystem
WGS-84 World Geodetic System – 84
WIMP Windows, Icons, Mouse and Pull-down/pop-up (menus)
WP Waypoint
WRF World-Referenced Frame

XML Extended Mark-up Language



2. Terms and Definitions. The following terms and definitions are used for the purpose of this agreement.


An alert that requires crew awareness but not immediate awareness nor immediate attention.

Air Data Terminal(ADT)

The data link element consists of the air data terminal in the air vehicle and the ground data terminal (GDT) on the ground. Connectivity between the GDT and ADT is prerequisite for Level 2, 3, 4, and 5 interoperability.

Air Reconnaissance

The collection of information of intelligence interest either by visual observation from the air or through the use of airborne sensors.

Air Traffic Control (ATC)

A service provided for the purposes of: a) preventing collisions between aircraft and in the maneuvering area between aircraft and obstructions; and b) expediting and maintaining an orderly flow of air traffic.

Air Vehicle (AV)

The core platform consisting of all flight relevant subsystems but without payload and data link.

Aircraft Handover

The process of transferring control of aircraft from one controlling authority to another.


A signal or combination of signals that informs the aircrew of the existence of a warning, caution, or advisory condition, and may inform the aircrew of the nature of the warning, caution, or advisory condition.

Allied Data Publication – 3 (ADatP-3)

The NATO Message Text Formatting System (FORMETS) provides the rules, constructions and vocabulary for standardized CHARACTER-oriented MESSAGE TEXT FORMATS (MTF) that can be used in both manual and computer assisted operational environments. FORMETS is specified in Allied Data Publication Number 3 (ADatP-3).


The vertical distance of a level, a point or an object considered as a point, measured from mean sea level. The terms most relevant to UAV operations are: Absolute Altitude: The height of an aircraft directly above the surface or terrain over which it is flying. Critical Altitude: The altitude beyond which an aircraft or airbreathing guided missile ceases to perform satisfactory. T True Altitude: The height of an aircraft as measured from mean sea level.


In intelligence usage, a step in the processing phase of the intelligence cycle in which information is subjected to review in order to identify significant facts for subsequent interpretation.

Automated Take-off and Landing

The ability of the AV to be launched with a single command once planning and pre-flight has been conducted and permission to launch has been granted. Includes releasing the AV from a securing device and flight of the AV to the first waypoint and the ability to land and secure the AV with a single command once the air vehicle has been stationed at a gate position no closer than 100 meters to the landing spot.

Battle Damage Assessment (BDA)

The determination of the affect of all air attacks on targets (e.g., bombs, rockets, strafing, etc.).


Eight bits.


In photography, a reloadable container for either unexposed or exposed sensitized materials which may be removed from the camera or darkroom equipment under lighted conditions.


]An alert indicating a potentially dangerous condition requiring immediate crew awareness but not immediate action.

Chemical Monitoring

The continued or periodic process of determining whether or not a chemical agent is present.


The ability to determine unique characteristics about a contact, which allow the differentiation of military and commercial contacts and determination of contact class and type.

Command and Control

The exercise of authority and direction by a properly designated commander over assigned forces in the accomplishment of a mission.

Command and Control Interface (CCI)

The interface between the UCS Core and the external C4I systems. It specifies the data requirements that should be adopted for communication between the UCS Core and all C4I end users through a common, standard interface.

Command and Control Interface Specific Module (CCISM)

Conversion software and/or hardware between the CCI and incompatible C4I systems. May form part of a particular UCS implementation to establish a connection between the UCS and specific “customers” of the UAV system (i.e. one or more C4I systems). Can range in complexity from a simple format or protocol translator to a user-specific application to adapt the type of information to C4I requirements.

Command and Control Information System

An integrated system comprised of doctrine, procedures, organizational structure, personnel, equipment, facilities and communications which provides authorities at all levels with timely and adequate data to plan, direct and control their activities.


An item of an interchangeable nature which is in common use by two or more nations or services of a nation.

Communications Plan

The overarching plan which covers all communication aspects. Includes the Data Link Plan.


The suitability of products, processes or services for use together under specific conditions to fulfil relevant requirements without causing unacceptable interactions.


In logistics, a part or combination of parts having a specific function, which can be installed or replaced only as an entity.


The ability to transmit the same amount of data in fewer bits. There are a variety of data compression techniques, but only a few have been standardized. The CCITT has defined a standard data compression technique for transmitting faxes (Group 3 standard) and a compression standard for data communications through modems (CCITT V.42bis). In addition, there are file compression formats, such as ARC and ZIP. Data compression is also widely used in backup utilities, spreadsheet applications, and database management systems. Certain types of data, such as bit-mapped graphics, can be compressed to a small fraction of their normal size.

Concept of Operations

A clear and concise statement of the line of action chosen by a commander in order to accomplish his mission.

Continuous Strip Imagery

Imagery of a strip of terrain in which the image remains unbroken throughout its length, along the line of flight.

Controlled Airspace

An airspace of defined dimensions within which air traffic control service is provided to controlled flights (e.g., flights within controlled airspace require approval by/coordination with the controlling authority, and certain maneuvers may be prohibited or restricted, or require supervision).


Provides the UAV operator with the functionality to conduct all phases of a UAV mission. It shall support the requirements of the DLI, CCI, and HCI. Also provides a high resolution, computer generated, graphical user capability that enables a qualified UAV operator the ability to control different types of UAVs and payloads.


That form of military science that, by the employment of devices and/or techniques, has as its objective the impairment of the operational effectiveness of enemy activity.

Damage Assessment

The determination of the effect of attacks on targets.

Data Communication

The transfer of information between functional units by means of data transmission according to a protocol.

Data Link

The means of connecting one location to another for the purpose of transmitting and receiving data.

Data Link Interface (DLI)

The interface between the Vehicle Specific Module (VSM) and the UCS core element. It provides for standard messages and formats to enable communication between a variety of air vehicles and NATO standardized control stations.

Data Link Plan

The details of the available link including the band and frequencies to be used. It is associated with waypoints within the route and the details of required actions made available for cueing the operator.

Dispensing Payloads

Objects that are released from the UAV as part of the UAV mission objectives. This can include the release of weapons or deployment of Remote Sensing, etc.

Electromagnetic Spectrum

The range of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation from zero to infinity.

Electronic Warfare (EW)

Military action to exploit the electromagnetic spectrum encompassing: the search for, interception and identification of electromagnetic emissions, the employment of electromagnetic energy, including directed energy, to reduce or prevent hostile use of the electromagnetic spectrum, and actions to ensure its effective use by friendly forces.

Emergency Recovery Plan

In case of failures such as data link loss, UAVs need to automatically carry out recovery actions referred to as Rules of Safety (ROS). The ROS are selected at the mission planning stage. The ROS differ according to the priority given to emergency action relative to that given to mission execution. Using the mission planning application the UCS operator selects the appropriate safety scenario (e.g., to define a preprogrammed recovery route).


Converting information or data from a system, format or signal to another.


A military maneuver or simulated wartime operation involving planning, preparation, and execution. It is carried out for the purpose of training and evaluation. It may be a combined, joint, or single Service exercise, depending on participating organizations.

Field of View

In photography, the angle between two rays passing through the perspective Centre (rear nodal point)) of a camera lens to the two opposite sides of the format. Not to be confused with angle of view.

Formatted Message Text

Words composed of several sets ordered in a specified sequence, each set characterized by an identifier and containing information of a specified type, coded and arranged in an ordered sequence of character fields in accordance with the NATO message text formatting rules. It is designed to permit both manual and automated handling and processing.


In photography, any single exposure contained within a continuous sequence of photographs.

Free Form Message Text

Words without prescribed format arrangements. It is intended for fast drafting as well as manual handling and processing.

Functional Architecture

Establishes the following functional elements and interfaces: ï‚· Core UCS (CUCS) ï‚· Data Link Interface (DLI) ï‚· Command and Control Interface (CCI) ï‚· Vehicle Specific Module (VSM) ï‚· Command and Control Interface Specific Module (CCISM)


The blending of intelligence and/or information from multiple sources or agencies into a coherent picture. The origin of the initial individual items should then no longer be apparent.

Ground Data Terminal

The data link element consists of the air data terminal in the air vehicle and the ground data terminal (GDT) that can be located either on the ground or in the air (e.g., Command and Control aircraft). Connectivity between the GDT and ADT is prerequisite for Level 2, 3, 4, and 5 interoperability.


The act of passing control of a UAV and/or a payload from one UCS to another UCS and/or transferring of data link control.

Human Computer Interface (HCI)

Definitions of the requirements of the functions and interactions that the UCS should allow the operator to perform. Will support any HCI requirements that are imposed on the CUCS by the Command and Control Interface (CCI) and Data Link Interface (DLI). Will also support any specific or unique CCI Specific Module (CCISM) or Vehicle Specific Module (VSM) display requirements.

Hyperspectral Imagery (HSI)

The image of an object obtained simultaneously using hundreds or thousands of discrete spectral bands.


A two-dimensional rectangular array of pixels indexed by row and column.


Collectively, the representations of objects reproduced electronically or by optical means on film, electronic display devices, or other media.

Imagery Exploitation

The cycle of processing and displaying, assembly into imagery packs, identification, interpretation, mensuration, information extraction, the preparation of reports (including annotated images) and the dissemination of information .


Refers to combining segments – not systems – and ensuring that the segments work correctly within the environment; do not adversely impact one another; and conform to standards. Integration does not imply interoperability. It only provides a level of assurance that the system will work as designed.


The product resulting from the processing of information concerning foreign nations, hostile or potentially hostile forces or elements, or areas of actual or potential operations. The term is also applied to the activity which results in the product and to the organizations engaged in such activity.


A one or two-way exchange of data among two or more systems/sub-systems.

Interface (1)

A concept involving the definition of the interconnection between two equipment items or systems. The definition includes the type, quantity, and function of the interconnecting circuits and the type, form, and content of signals to be interchanged via those circuits. Mechanical details of plugs, sockets, and pin numbers, etc., may be included within the context of the definition. (2) A shared boundary, (e.g., the boundary between two subsystems or two devices). (3) A boundary or point common to two or more similar or dissimilar command and control systems, subsystems, or other entities against which or at which necessary information flow takes place. (4) A boundary or point common to two or more systems or other entities across which useful information flow takes place. (It is implied that useful information flow requires the definition of the interconnection of the systems which enables them to interoperate.) (5) The process of interrelating two or more dissimilar circuits or systems. (6) The point of interconnection between user terminal equipment and commercial communication-service facilities.


The ability of Alliance forces and, when appropriate, forces of Partner and other nations to train, exercise and operate effectively together in the execution of assigned missions and tasks.


Adjective used to describe activities, operations and organizations in which elements of at least two services participate.

Laser Designator

A device that emits a beam of laser energy which is used to mark a specific place or object.

Laser Range-Finder

A device which uses laser energy for determining the distance from the device to a place or object.


An acronym of Light Detection And Ranging, describing systems that use a light beam in place of conventional microwave beams for atmospheric monitoring, tracking and detection functions.


A system of receiving radio beacon signals and rebroadcasting them on the same frequency to confuse navigation. The meaconing stations cause inaccurate bearings to be obtained by aircraft or ground stations.


Data about data. The term is normally understood to mean structured data about resources that can be used to help support resource description and discovery, the management of information resources (e.g., to record information about their location and acquisition), long-term preservation management of digital resources, and for help to preserve the context and authenticity of resources. Might be technical in nature, documenting how resources relate to particular software and hardware environments or for recording digitization parameters. In short, any kind of standardized descriptive information about resources, including non-digital ones.

Mission Plan

The route planning, payload planning, data link planning (including frequency planning), and UAV emergency recovery planning (rules of safety) for a UAV flight.


Use of sub-systems or components from one system to function properly as part of another system. The interface at the subsystem level is sufficiently defined.

Motion Imagery

A sequence of images, with metadata, which are managed as a discrete object in standard motion imagery format and displayed as a time sequence of images.

Moving Map Display

A display in which a symbol, representing the vehicle, remains stationary while the map or chart image moves beneath the symbol so that the display simulates the horizontal movement of the vehicle in which it is installed.

Moving Target Indicator (MTI)

A radar presentation which shows only targets which are in motion. Signals from stationary targets are subtracted out of the return signal by the output of a suitable memory circuit.   v Multispectral Imagery (MSI)

The image of an object obtained simultaneously in a number of discrete spectral bands.

National Transmission Standards Committee (NTSC)

The first color TV broadcast system was implemented in the United States in 1953. This was based on the NTSC standard. NTSC is used by many countries on the North American continent and in Asia including Japan. This U.S. video standard uses EIA RS-170 and SMPTE 170 M – 1994 formats. The standard applies to imagery with metadata in either closed caption overlays or encoded via closed caption. NTSC runs on 525 lines/frame and 30 frames/second with 2:1 interlace. Native System All components which compose a unique UAV system.

NATO ISR Interoperability Architecture (NIIA)

The architecture that defines the STANAGs used for ISR sensor system interoperability. This architecture is defined in AEDP-2.

NATO OSI Profile Strategy (NOSIP) Interoperability strategy now merged into the NC3TA.

NATO Standardization Agreement (NATO STANAG) The record of an agreement among several or all the member nations to adopt like or similar military equipment, ammunition, supplies, and stores; and operational, logistic, and administrative procedures. National acceptance of a NATO Allied publication issued by the NATO Standardization Agency (NSA) may be recorded as a Standardization Agreement.

NC3 Common Standards Profile (NCSP)

The minimum set of communication and information technology standards to be mandated for the acquisition of all NATO C3 systems.

NC3 Technical Architecture (NC3TA)

The technical, standards-related view of an overarching NC3 Architectural Framework.

Near Real Time

Pertaining to the timeliness of data or information which has been delayed by the time required for electronic communication and automatic data processing. This implies that there are no significant delays.


(1) An interconnection of three or more communicating entities and (usually) one or more nodes. (2) A combination of passive or active electronic components that serves a given purpose.

Open Systems Interconnect Model

This model is defined in ISO/IEC 7498-1.

Order of Battle

The identification, strength, command structure, and disposition of the personnel, units, and equipment of any military force.


In surveillance, an adjective applied to actions or equipment which emits no energy capable of being detected.


UAV sensor(s), weapons, chaff, pamphlets, onboard systems, etc. carried onboard which are used to accomplish a specified mission.

Payload Plan

Details of the sensor to be used, or which sensors are to be loaded if multiple payloads are within the UAV capability. At specific points along a route there may be pre-planned sensor operations and the details of these have to be incorporated into the payload plan and associated with waypoints in the route. Available as hard copy for UAV payload loading and for display with or alongside the route plan, action cueing has to be incorporated either for the operator or the UAV depending on system sophistication. Includes payload configuration (e.g., payload type and lens size), payload imagery extraction (e.g., desired resolution), and operator commands for controlling both EO/IR and SAR payloads (e.g., zoom settings, depression angle, and focus).

Primary Data

Data directly received from the sensor.

Primary Imagery

Unexploited, original imagery data that has been derived directly from a sensor. Elementary processing may have been applied at the sensor, and the data stream may include auxiliary data.

Processed Imagery

Imagery that has been formatted into image pixel format, enhanced to remove detected anomalies and converted to a format appropriate for subsequent disposition.


(1) In general, A set of semantic and syntactic rules that determine the behavior of functional units in achieving communication. For example, a data link protocol is the specification of methods whereby data communication over a data link is performed in terms of the particular transmission mode, control procedures, and recovery procedures. (2) In layered communication System Architecture, a formal set of procedures that are adopted to facilitate functional interoperation within the layered hierarchy. Note: Protocols may govern portions of a network, types of service, or administrative procedures.

Real Time

Pertaining to the timeliness of data or information that has been delayed only by the time required for electronic communication. This implies that there are no noticeable delays.


A mission undertaken to obtain, by visual observation or other detection methods, information about the activities and resources of an enemy or potential enemy; or to secure data concerning the meteorological, hydrographic characteristics of a particular area.


A mission which involves the return of an aircraft to base and includes the approach to the landing platform, & landing. If the Air Vehicle is to be stowed after flight, securing on deck and handling of the Air Vehicle (AV) is also included.


A measurement of the smallest detail which can be distinguished by a sensor system under specific conditions.

Route Plan

A set of waypoints for the UAV to follow, as well as general air vehicle commands for auxiliary systems (e.g., lights, IFF, deicing, etc.) and emergency operation commands. Taxi or flight patterns may be incorporated into the route either as a series of sequenced waypoints or as ‘seed’ waypoints with range and bearing information, which, will depend on the sophistication of the UCS and UAV systems.


The characteristic that enables system size and capability to be tailored dependent on the user needs.

Search and Rescue The use of aircraft, surface craft, submarines, specialized rescue teams and equipment to locate and recover personnel in distress on land or at sea.

Secondary Imagery

Imagery and/or imagery products derived from primary imagery or from the further processing of secondary imagery.


Equipment which detects, and may indicate, and/or record objects and activities by means of energy or particles emitted, reflected, or modified by objects.


Mandatory compliance.


Recommended compliance.

Signals Intelligence

The generic term used to describe communications intelligence and electronic intelligence when there is no requirement to differentiate between these two types of intelligence, or to represent fusion of the two.


A set of computer programs, procedures and associated documentation concerned with the operation of a data processing system, (e.g., compilers, library routines, manuals, and circuit diagrams).


The NATO term derived from standardization agreement. See NATO Standardization Agreement.


The development and implementation of concepts, doctrines, procedures and designs to achieve and maintain the required levels of compatibility, interchangeability or commonality in the operational, procedural, material, technical and administrative fields to attain interoperability.


a) The retention of data in any form, usually for the purpose of orderly retrieval and documentation. b) A device consisting of electronic, electrostatic or electrical hardware or other elements into which data may be entered, and from which data may be obtained.


The systematic observation of aerospace, surface or subsurface areas, places, persons, or things, by visual, aural, electronic, photographic, or other means.

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)

A system that uses the frequency shifts associated with the motion of the sensor (Doppler shift) to produce an image with higher resolution then would be available with only the radar system’s beam width and pulse length. It requires complex data processing after collection of the radar data. Complements photographic and other optical imaging capabilities because of the minimum constraints on time-of-day and atmospheric conditions and because of the unique responses of terrain and cultural targets to radar frequencies.

System Architecture

Defines the physical connection, location and identification of the key nodes, circuits, networks, war fighting platforms, etc., associated with information exchange and specifies systems performance parameters. Constructed to satisfy operational architecture requirements per the standards defined in the technical architecture.


a) A geographical area, complex, or installation planned for capture or destruction by military forces. b) In intelligence usage, a country, area, installation, agency, or person against which intelligence operations are directed.

Target Acquisition

The detection, identification, and location of a target in sufficient detail to permit the effective employment of weapons. Increasingly applied to reconnaissance as the object(s) of search and location activity, whether to provide intelligence data or to cue weapon systems directly.


The ability to report the position (may include speed and direction) of a target detected with an AV payload. Target position is reported in terms of latitude and longitude (may include altitude) or in terms relative to a point. Target position information is sufficiently accurate to support weapon system fire control requirements.

Technical Architecture

A minimal set of rules governing the arrangement, interaction, and interdependence of the parts or elements whose purpose is to ensure that a conformant system satisfies a specific set of requirements. It identifies system services, interfaces, standards, and their relationships. It provides the framework, upon which engineering specifications can be derived, guiding the implementation of systems. Simply put, it is the “building codes and zoning laws” defining interface and interoperability standards, information technology, security, etc.


Accurate location and updating of target positions (in terms of geographic co-ordinates) by radar, optical or other means.

Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle /Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

A powered, aerial vehicle that does not carry a human operator, uses aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift, can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely, can be expendable or recoverable, and can carry a lethal or nonlethal payload.

UAV system

Includes the air vehicles, modular mission payloads, data links, launch and recovery equipment, mission planning and control stations, data exploitation stations and logistic support.

UAV Control System (UCS)

The functional set charged with control of the AV and interfacing with C4I, the UAV payload and UAV System operator(s). Includes all the UAV control systems and encompasses launch and recovery system.

United States Message Text Format (USMTF)

Fixed format, character-oriented messages which are manreadable and machine processable.

Variable Message Format (VMF)

Used between systems requiring variable bit-oriented messages.

Vehicle Specific Information

Information sent to or from the air vehicle that is not contained in the core, generic DLI message set.

Vehicle Specific Module (VSM)

A function that resides between the DLI and the air vehicle subsystem. Facilitates compliance with this STANAG by acting as a bridge between standard DLI data formats, and protocols, and a specific air vehicle.

Video Imagery

A sequence of images, with metadata, which is collected as a timed sequence of images in standard motion imagery format, managed as a discrete object in standard motion imagery format, and displayed as a sequence of images. Video imagery is a subset of the class of motion imagery.


An alert indicating a hazardous condition requiring immediate action to prevent loss of life, equipment damage, or failure of the mission.


A point on a UAV route which is defined by latitude/longitude. Altitude is usually defined.

Waypoint Control

Semi-autonomous or man-in-the-loop method of air vehicle control involving the use of defined points (latitude/longitude/altitude) to cause the UAV (air vehicle, sensor(s), weapons, dispensable payloads, onboard systems, etc.) to accomplish certain actions.


Source: STANAG 4586. A STANAG is a NATO abbreviation for Standardization Agreement between member countries.