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NATO reporting names

Posted by TheFallen on March 19, 2003

In Reply to: SCUD posted by Bruce Kahl on March 19, 2003

: We had a discussion a while back of the derivation / history of the word SCUD with no solid clues at all as to the derivation except that Bob found it was probably a NATO thing and another theory on it being a Russian cloud.
: Anybody out there have anything to add?

Sure. Scud isn't an acronym, nor a Russian word. It's a NATO-wide designation for the SS1 family of Soviet-designed surface-to-surface missiles, now in the hands of several other countries. Here's a fairly complete list of NATO terms for Soviet surface-to-surface missiles:

SS-1 "Scunner" and "Scud"
SS-2 "Sibling"
SS-3 "Shyster"
SS-4 "Sandal"
SS-5 "Skean"
SS-6 "Sapwood"
SS-7 "Saddler"
SS-8 "Sasin"
SS-9 "Scarp"
SS-10 "Scrag"
SS-11 "Sego"
SS-12 "Scaleboard"
SS-13 "Savage"
SS-14 "Scapegoat" and "Scamp"
SS-15 "Scrooge"
SS-16 "Sinner"
SS-17 "Spanker"
SS-18 "Satan"
SS-19 "Stiletto"
SS-20 "Saber"
SS-21 "Scarab"
SS-22 none
SS-23 "Spider"
SS-24 "Scalpel"
SS-25 "Sickle"

The terms seem to be fairly randomly chosen, though most if not all of them are recognisable English words, so don't go looking for too much rhyme or reason.

However, definitely NOT random is the fact that, all Soviet surface-to-surface missiles are given NATO reporting names starting with S. This system is repeated in air-to-air missiles (they all start with A - Alkali, Atoll etc), air-to-surface missiles (K - Kennel, Kipper etc) and surface-to-air missiles (G - Guild, Guideline etc)

It further continues into planes. Here's a list with some brief examples.

Bombers are B - Backfire, Blackjack
Fighters are F - Foxbat, Fulcrum
Helicopters are H - Halo, Hokum
Transport Planes are C - Condor, Cossack
Miscellaneous Aircraft are M - Mainstay, Mule