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. 


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 air breathing guided missile ceases to perform satisfactory. 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. 

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 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. 

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. 

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 sensors, 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  (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. 


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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. 


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 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 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. 


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. 

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.

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