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. 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. 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).
TERMS AND DEFINITIONS
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)
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
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
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
CJTF Combined Joint Task Force
CO Connection Oriented
COE Common Operating Environment
CONOPS Concept of Operations
COP Common Operational Picture
CORBA Common Object Request Broker Architecture
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
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/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
IA International Agreement
ICAO International Civil Aviation Organisation
IDD Interface Design Description/Interface Definition Document
IEA Information Exchange Agreements
IEC International Enterprise Committee/International Electro technical
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
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
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
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
LCD Liquid Crystal Display
LOI Level of Interoperability
LOS Line of Sight
LRF Laser Range Finder
MAV Micro Air Vehicle
Mb/s Megabits per second
MB/s Megabytes per second
MGRS Military Grid Reference System
MIJI Meaconing, Intrusion, Jamming, and Interference
MIL-STD Military Standard
MIME Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension
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
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
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
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
QoS Quality of Service
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
RT Real Time
RTP Real Time Protocol/ Real Time Processor
SA Situational Awareness
SALUTE Size, Activity, Location, Unit, Time, Equipment
SAR Synthetic Aperture Radar/Search And Rescue
SATCOM Satellite Communications
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
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)
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.
The collection of information of intelligence interest either by
visual observation from the air or through the use of airborne
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.
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
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.).
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.
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
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
An item of an interchangeable nature which is in common use by
two or more nations or services of a nation.
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.
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).
Core UCS (CUCS)
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
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.
The determination of the effect of attacks on targets.
The transfer of information between functional units by means of
data transmission according to a protocol.
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.
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.
The range of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation from zero
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
Converting information or data from a system, format or signal to
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
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
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.
Establishes the following functional elements and interfaces:
Core UCS (CUCS)
Data Link Interface (DLI)
Command and Control Interface (CCI)
Vehicle Specific Module (VSM)
Command and Control Interface Specific Module
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
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
Collectively, the representations of objects reproduced
electronically or by optical means on film, electronic display
devices, or other media.
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
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
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
Adjective used to describe activities, operations and
organizations in which elements of at least two services
A device that emits a beam of laser energy which is used to mark
a specific place or object.
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.
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.
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.
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
NC3 Technical Architecture (NC3TA)
The technical, standards-related view of an overarching NC3
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
(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
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
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).
Data directly received from the sensor.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
A point on a UAV route which is defined by latitude/longitude.
Altitude is usually defined.
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.