As professionals in the aerospace and defense industry employed as the program managers or business development/sales of your company, your position requires you to interact with other defense company personnel and attend industry conferences. If you have been in the industry for some time, understanding what is being discussed and communicating your own thoughts is a little easier when you understand the vocabulary.

Bridge the Communication Gap Between Project Team and External Partners

Also read: Bridge the Communication Gap Between Project Team and External Partners

On the other hand, if you are brand new to the community and you are sitting in a meeting without a common vernacular with those across the table, it is quite a disadvantage. In the Aerospace and Defense business, one of the biggest hurdles to entry is understanding what everyone around you is saying. You may comprehend the basic language, but you hear acronyms like ITAR, CIF, DLM, USML, and MTFB sprinkled along the conversation and you may feel lost. Conducting everyday business in the aerospace and defense industry can be very confusing when you don’t know the lingo.

Industries all typically have their own language they share to communicate quickly and efficiently. However, there may not be an industry quite like the AeroDef community that connects military, engineering, science, astronautics, and aeronautics entities, who all have their own acronyms and terms. Combined these with globally connected militaries, governments and corporations around the world, all with their own languages, and it is even more difficult.

Grow Your Vocab

To help you get a firmer footing in this fast-paced, quick growing and exciting industry, we tasked our own Duotech professionals with contributing the acronyms and terms they commonly use in everyday business. We compiled them below in alphabetical order. The acronyms are identified for what they represent, but a more detailed description is not included. Looking them up further will hopefully assist in your retention of the information.

Acronym and Terms for the new AeroDef Professional to Learn

  • download Learn trade regulations infographicADF – Automatic Direction Finder
  • AEW&C – Airborne Early Warning and Control (the same concept as AWACS, but you may hear people refer to Wedgetail or E-2C or 2D as this acronym)
  • AHRS – Altitude and Heading Reference System
  • AOA – Angle Of Attack
  • AOG – Aircraft On Ground (due to maintenance issues)
  • ATE – Automated Test Equipment
  • AWACS – Airborne Warning and Control System (it’s a generic term, but you may hear people refer to E-3 or E-767 as the AWACS)
  • BER – Beyond Economic Repair
  • BJT – Bipolar Junction Transistor
  • BRAC – Base Realignment And Closing
  • BUC – Block Upconverter
  • C4ISR – Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance
  • CADC – Central Air Data Computer
  • CDU – Control/Display Unit
  • CG – Center of Gravity
  • CIF – Clutter Improvement Factor
  • CTAF – Common Traffic Advisory Frequency
  • CVR – Cockpit Voice Recorder
  • CMOS – Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor
  • COTS – Commercial Off The Shelf
  • CTE – Critical Technology Elements
  • D Level – Depot Level Testing
  • DFARS – Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement
  • DLM – Depot Level Maintenance
  • DME – Distance Measuring Equipment
  • EAS – Equivalent Airspeed
  • ECM – Electronic Countermeasures
  • EFIS – Electronic Flight Instrument System
  • ELT – Emergency Locator Transmitter
  • EOIR – Electro-Optical InfraRed
  • EW – Electronic Warfare
  • FADEC – Full Authority Digital Engine Control
  • FAIR – First Article Inspection Report
  • FAR – Federal Acquisition Regulation
  • FMS – Foreign Military Sales
  • FET – Field Effect Transistor
  • GaAs – Gallium Arsenide
  • GaN – Gallium Nitride
  • HEMT – High Electron Mobility Transistor
  • HF – High Frequency
  • HOTAS – Hands On Throttle And Stick
  • HUD – Heads-up Display
  • I Level Testing – Intermediate Level
  • IFF – Identification, Friend or Foe
  • IFR – Instrument Flight Rules
  • ILS – Instrument Landing System
  • INS – Inertial Navigation System
  • IRST – Infrared Search and Track
  • ISR – Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance
  • ITAR – International Traffic in Arms Regulations
  • ITT – Internal Turbine Temperature
  • JFET – Junction gate Field-Effect Transistor
  • MESC – Material and Equipment Standards and Code
  • MESFET – Metal Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor
  • MOSFET – Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor
  • MRO – Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul
  • NDA – Non Disclosure Agreement
  • NOTAM – Notice to Airmen
  • O Level Testing – Organizational Level
  • OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer
  • OPSEC – Operational Security (people use this instead of “keep your mouth shut”)
  • O&R – Overhaul and Repair
  • PAPI – Precision Approach Path Indicator
  • RAD HARD – RADiation HARDened
  • RAID – Redundant Array of Independent Disks. There are various RAID levels.
  • RF – Radio Frequency
  • RFMW – Radio Frequency MicroWave
  • RSVM – Reduced Vertical Separation Minima
  • SAR – (2 things) Search and Rescue, or Synthetic Aperture Radar
  • SiC – Silicon Carbide
  • SNR – Signal-to-Noise Ratio
  • SOW – Statement Of Work
  • Spectre – (not an acronym) AC-130 Gunship
  • TACAN – TACtical Air Navigation System
  • TINA – Truth In Negotiations Act
  • TRA – Technical Readiness Assessment
  • UHF – Ultra High Frequency
  • USML – United States Munitions List
  • VFR – Visual Flight Rules
  • VHF – Very High Frequency
  • Viper – (not an acronym) alternate name for the F-16 instead of “Fighting Falcon”
  • VOR – VHF Omnidirectional Radio Range
  • XOR – Exclusive Or
NASA Technology Readiness Levels

NASA Technology Readiness Levels

Technology Readiness Level (TRL)

As a bonus, we share the Technology Readiness Level or TRL. The scale assists in uniform communication of a program’s development status. Based on the TRL, a Director of Technical Sales can easily convey to an International Program Manager what the technical maturity is of a system or product.

Various agencies like the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Energy, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), European Space Agency (ESA), European Commission (EC), and the Oil and Gas Industry each have their own unique definitions on the scale. Primarily, they all begin at 1 being “Basic principles observed and reported” and up to 9 as a “Proven system…”

Technology Readiness Level Definitions

Share Yours

It would be difficult to include every term and acronym that is commonly used in the aerospace and defense industry. We understand there are many more expressed at any AeroDef events like the F-16 TCG Worldwide Review or the Farnborough and Singapore Air Shows. Infographic: Learning Trade Regulations

So, what are the ones we left out? Go to our comments section below, tell us the events you take part in, and share the acronyms and terms you often use when communicating with other Aerospace and Defense professionals.

Bridge the Communication Gap Between Project Team and External Partners

Read also: Bridge the Communication Gap Between Project Team and External Partners

Bridge the Communication Gap Between Project Team and External Partners

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