Viper Communications

INTRODUCTION

So you're cruisin' along in your Viper and all is well and good. Well suddenly you're the one who succeeds on an Awareness roll and you get to spot the incoming Radiers first. Joy of joys! You get to call Tally! Or Judy! Or whatever. But suddenly you realize that your char is a fighter pilot and you're supposed to make a broadcast to announce it. Rut-roh! You don't know how! What do you say?! So you sit for five minutes trying to think about what to say on .tac1 or .tac2 and/or you end up having to ask someone. Well fear no longer! This page is here to help you, the player, understand what's being said and how to actually compose a proper radio call. I'll cite specific examples from a practice engagement that was conducted recently to highlight certain points and explain what was said, as well. Where some of the lingo may become confusing, refer to the Pilot Slang page to find what is confusing. I'd actually suggest keeping a tab of it open if you get lost easily.

One last thing before we begin: Pilots don't always follow established calls and they will sometimes use alternative names or phrases to describe things. For instance, if someone says 'Circle the Wagons!', that generally means that its time to take the defensive. It requires you to think on your feet and still convey the concept. Its not the clearest way to communicate, but your first lesson in radio communications is that "Brevity is Key." Getting your information or orders across in the shortest amount of words is important. Practice this. If you have a lot of information to convey, keep it to the basics. Nobody is looking for a subject and predicate to your sentences.

THE BASICS

Names and Callsigns

During operations, flights are issued their own callsigns. They can be anything from Sparrow to Zinger to …I dunno. Lentil. Generally they are given 'cool' names. Other times the callsigns may be symbolic to the mission. For instance, an operation called 'Round Table' might have 'Arthur' as the Genesis and the smaller flights as Bors, Cador, and Percival. However, that doesn't mean that using individual pilot callsigns is appropriate. When in your organized flight, always try to identify yourself by your flight and your number in the flight. They will be numbered and go like this: Lead, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, etc. There is no 'One.' The only time you should be using individual pilot callsigns is if things get hectic or if you are having a light discussion over comms. Real names are NEVER used. Ever. This is a protection for pilots against the enemy tracking who is involved in what. However, it is entirely appropriate to identify yourself as 'Two' or 'Three' (or whatever your position is) if there aren't more than two flights running around.

Identification

When a radio call is initiated, think of it as making a phone call without the benefit of Caller ID. You may recognize the voice on the other end, but its always polite to let the person on the other end know exactly who they are talking to so there is no confusion or poor assumptions made. The same guideline applies to proper radio communications. This first thing out of your mouth when you make a radio call is to first state WHO you are calling, then followed immediately by an identification of who exactly is calling. Below is an example. In this instance, Micah would be 'Romeo Three' and he is calling 'Romeo Lead' - which could be anyone. It should look like this:

[Tac1] "Jailhouse" Micah says, "Romeo Lead, Romeo Three. <Blah blah blah>"

Once this connection has been established, it isn't generally necessary to re-identify yourself on channel unless you intend to talk to someone else. If you break in on the channel, identify yourself. However, once established, its not typical to keep saying it. Its a waste of breath and time. The only time you should constantly identify yourself on channel is in a very high-traffic area such as if you were flying a 747 across the US and keeping in contact with Albuquerque Center.

COMMON CALLS

New DRADIS or Visual Contact (Tally/Judy)

When you have a new DRADIS contact with a suspected bandit or an unknown (A Bogey, in both cases. A 'Bogey' is not a 'Bandit' until its confirmed hostile), the rest of the flight should be alerted. However, it is NOT your responsibility to notify the Genesis unless you are in command of the flight or squadron. Your call goes directly to your Section Leader or whoever is in command. It should be phrased first with an identification, what is going on, then numbers of bogeys, then their location. It should look like this:

[Tac1] "Tempo" Dynames says, "Marble Lead, Marble Two. DRADIS Contact. Pair of bogeys. <insert guidance/directions here>."

But what do you do if you have to call Genesis and inform them? The radio call below is properly formatted for just that and can be used as a template. Its taken from a practice session.

[Tac2] "Cav" Novella says, "Genesis, Trophy Lead. Judy on a gaggle of bandits! Six miles, two-one-four degrees, caram one-one! Rattler, you eyes on?"

Above, Cav is notifying Genesis. She is 'Trophy Lead' and has positively identified an incoming group of Raiders as hostile. The last sentence is her asking another flight lead, 'Rattler', if he has seen the bandits himself.

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