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Royal Air Force Acronyms/Abbreviations

AAA - Anti Aircraft Armament
AAA - Anti Aircraft Armament
A/A - air to air (A/G - air to ground)
A&AEE - Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment
AAC - Army Air Corps
AAD - Advanced Air Depot: UK repair bases for the USAAF on RAF sites
AAF - Auxiliary Air Force
AAFCE - Allied Air Forces Central Europe
AAS - Air Armament School (and/or) Advanced Air School - No.1 Manby (1943) - which is correct?
AASF - Advanced Air Striking Force
AACU - Anti Aircraft Cooperation Unit
AATTF - Anti-Aircraft and Target Towing Flight
A&AEE - Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment
ABC - Airborne Cigar - transmitter aboard aircraft which jammed German fighter control frequencies
AC - Aircraftman : AC1 .. First Class, AC2 .. Second Class
ACO - Air Cadet Organisation
A/C - aircraft
ACAC - Aircrew Allocation Centre - Brackla (1944)
ACATC - Air Cadets Adventure Training Centre (Llanbeder and Windermere)
A/Cdre - Air Commodore
ACCGS - Air Cadets Central Gliding School (RAF Syerston)
ACDC - Aircrew Despatch Centre
ACDW - Air Crew Disposal Wing
ACGFSOC - Air Cadet Gliding Flight Safety Officer's Course
ACGS(OR) - Assistant Chief of the General Staff (Operational Requirements)
ACFSS - Air Cadets Flying Scholarship Scheme
ACHU - Aircrew Holding Unit
ACM - Air Chief Marshal
ACP - Air Cadet Publication (derived from APs)
ACPNTS - Air Cadets Pilot Navigation Training Scheme
ACRC - Air Crew Reception Centre - St John's Wood, London - Regent's Park, London
ACSB - Air Crew Selection Board
ACTC - Air Cadet Training Centre (at RAFC Cranwell)
ADCC - Air Defence Cadet Corps (established 1938, see ATC)
ADGB - Air Defence of Great Britain
ADLS - Air Despatch Letter Service
AE - Air Efficiency award
AEO - Air Electronics Officer (V Bombers)/Operator (Coastal Command and current)
AEF - Air Experience Flight(s) (Air Cadets, various locations)
AFC - Air Force Cross
AFDS - Air Fighting Development Squadron, part of CFE
AFDU - Air Fighting Development Unit
AFM - Air Force Medal
AFS - Advanced Flying School - No.201 Swinderby (1948)
AFTCC - Air Force Troop Carrier Command
AFU - Advanced Flying Unit
AG - Air Gunner
AGS - Air Gunnery School
AGT - Airwork & General Trading (part of the CRO)
AGT - Advanced Gliding Training (Air Cadets)
AI - Airborne Interception - night fighter radar equipment
A&IEU - Armament & Instrument Experimental Unit
ALO - Air Liaison Officer
ALM - Air Loadmaster
AM - Air Marshal
AMWD - Air Ministry Works Department
AMES - Air Ministry Experimental Station
AMO - Air Ministry Order
ANS - Air Navigation School - No.10 Swanton Morley (1946), No.2 Middleton St George (1948)
AOC - Air Officer Commanding
AOP - Air Observation Post
AOS - Air Observer School
AP - Air Publication
APC - Armament Practice Camp
APP - Aiming Point Photo
APS - Armament Practice Station
ASC - Air Support Command
ASI - Air Speed Indicator
ASR - Air Sea Rescue
AST - Air Service Training (CRO)
ASTOR - Airborne Stand-Off Radar
A/P - Aiming Point
A/S - Anti Submarine
ASV - Airborne Surface Vessel, radar for maritime patrol aircraft
ATA - Air Transport Auxiliary
ATC - Air Training Corps (succeeded ADCC, 1941)
ATC - Air Traffic Control
ATS - Auxiliary Territorial Service (women)
ATREL - Air Transportable Reconnaissance Exploitation Laboratory
AVM - Air Vice-Marshal
AW/CN - Awaiting Collection
AWDS - All Weather Development Squadron
AWFCS - All Weather Fighter Combat Squadron
AWOL - Absent Without Leave

BABS - Beam Approach Beacon System - or Blind Approach Beacon System ??
BAFO British Air Forces of Occupation
BAOR - British Army of the Rhine
BATF - Blind/Beam Approach Training Flight
BBOC - Brought Back On Charge
BC - Bomber Command
BCAS - Bomber Command Armament School
BCATP - British Comonwealth Air Training Plan
BCMC - Bomber Command Modification Centre
BDTF - Bomber Defence Training Flight
BDU - Bomber Development Unit
BFTS - British Flying Training School - No.1 Terrell, Texas
B&GF - Bombing & Gunnery Flight
B&GS - Bombing & Gunnery School
BGT - Basic Gliding Training (Air Cadets)
BLEU - Blind Landing Experimental Unit
BMEWS - Ballistic Missile Early Warning System
BMH - British Military Hospital
BNDSG - British Nuclear Defence Study Group
BRIXMIS - British Commanders In Chief Mission to Soviet Forces in Germany
BRNC - Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth
BSDU - Bomber Support Development Unit
BSSO(G) - British Services Security Organisation (Germany)
C2 - Command and Control
CAACU - Civilian Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit
CAT - Damage Category
CB - Confined to Barracks
CCG - Cine Camera Gun
C&M - Care and Maintenance
CCRC - Combat Crew Replacement Center
C(OTU) - Coastal Operational Training Unit
CF - Conversion Flight
CFE - Central Fighter Establishment
CFI - Chief Flying Instructor
CFS - Central Flying School
CGM - Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
CGMF - Central Glider Maintainance Flight (RAF Syerston - now ACCCGS Engineering Flt)
CGS - Central Gunnery School
CHL - Chain Home Low
CIA - Central Intelligence Agency
C&L - Circuits & Landings
CO - Commanding Officer (can also be OC)
CRO - Civilian Repair Organisation
CRP - Civilian Repair Party
CS(A) - Controller of Supply (Aircraft)
CSDE - Central Servicing Development Establishment
CSE - Central Signals Establishment
CTS - Combat Training School
CU - Conversion Unit
CWP - Contractor's Working Party
DASC - Defence Aviation Safety Centre (replaced RAF Inspectorate of Flight Safety, 2002)
DBF - Destroyed By Fire
DBR - Damaged Beyond Repair
DDR - East Germany Deutsche Democratic Republik - also GDR
DFC - Distinguished Flying Cross
DFM - Distinguished Flying Medal
DFCS - Day Fighter Combat School, part of CFE
DGRD - Director General Research and Development
DHFS - Defence Helicopter Flying School
DIS - Defence Intelligence Staff
DNCO - Did Not Complete Operation - see Boomerang
DR - dead reckoning
DRO - Daily Routine Orders
DSO - Distinguished Service Order
DTD - Directorate of Technical Development
DZ - Dropping Zone
EANS - Empire Air Navigation School
EAOS - Elementary Air Observer School
EBTS - Elementary and Basic Training School (Coastal Command)
ECFS - Empire Central Flying School
ECM - Electronic Counter Measures
E/F - Engine Failure
EFTS - Elementary Flying Training School - No.18 Fairoaks 1942
EGAF - East German Air Force
EGS - Elementary Gliding School
EMP - Electromagnetic Pulse
EOWS - Elementary Observer Wireless School
E&RFTS - Elementary & Reserve Flying Training School
ETA - Estimated Time of Arrival
ETO - European Theatre of Operations
EU - Embarkation Unit
FAA - Fleet Air Arm
FA, F(A), F/A - Flying Accident accidental damage or loss: or fighter affiliation
FB, F(B), F/B - Flying Battle - operational damage or loss
FBSU - Flying Boat Servicing Unit
FC - Fighter Command
FFI - Free from infection
FIDO - Fog Investigation and Dispersal Operation
F/E - Flight Engineer
FIS - Fighter Instructors School
FLAK - Fliegerabwehrkanone
- German anti-aircraft artillery
FLT - Flight
F/L - Flight Lieutenant
FLS - Fighter Leaders School
F/O - Flying Officer
FPP - Ferry Pilots Pool
FR Beam - Fixed relative beam - ground firing
FR .GG - Fixed relative ground gunnery. Practice on the ground at AGS
FRU - Fleet Requirements Unit
F/S - Flight Sergeant
FTC - Flying Training Command
FTFLT - Ferry Training Flight
FTR - Failed to Return
FTS - Flying Training School
GAF - German Air Force
GAL - General Aircraft Ltd (CRO)
GAR - Glavna Aeroplansva Radionica, (Main Aviation Workshop)
GATU -Ground Attack Training Unit
GCA - Ground Control Approach
GCHQ - Government Communications HQ
GD - General Duties - see
GDA - Group Disposal Account
G-H - Blind bombing radar device
GIC - Gliding Induction Course (Air Cadets)
GP - Group Pool
GP - (bomb) General Purpose high explosive bomb
GP CF - Group Conversion Flight
GPR - Glider Pilot Regiment
GR - general reconnaissance
GROPE - ground operational exercise
GRU - Glavnoje Razved-yvatelnoje Upravlenie (Intelligence Directorate of the Red Army)
GS - Gliding Scholarship (Air Cadets)
GSU - Group Support Unit
GTS - Glider Training School

H2S Airborne radar navigational and target location aid
H2X - American version of H2S
HAD - Home Aircraft Depot
HAL - Hawker Aircraft Limited
HCU - Heavy Conversion Unit - 1661 Winthorpe (1944)
HE - (bomb) High explosive bomb
HE - (movements) Home Establishment?
HFF - Heavy Freight Flight
HGCU - Heavy Glider Conversion Unit
HGMU - Heavy Glider Maintenance Unit
HP - Handley Page
HQ AC - Headquarters Air Cadets (RAFC Cranwell)
1995/96 - reverted to HQ AC/HQ EFT (UAS) in later 1996)
HQ ATA - Head Quarters Air Transport Auxiliary
HQ EFT - Headquarters Elementary Flying Training
HQ FPP - Head Quarters Ferry Pilots Pool
HQ P&SS - Headquarters Provost & Security Services - 'Snowdrops'
HQ PTC - Headquarters Personnel & Training Command (RAF Innsworth)
HQ STC - Headquarters Strike Command RAFVR (T) - Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Training branch)
HQ TAF - Head Quarters Tactical Air Force
HQ U&AC - Headquarters Universities & Air Cadets (Trial amalgamation of HQ AC & UAS administration through HQ EFT during
HSL - High Speed Launch (ASR vessel)
IA - Imagery Analyst
IAP - Izvidacki Avijacijcki Puk, (Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment)
IAAS - Inland Area Aircraft School
I/C - in charge (of) e.g. Officer i/c Admin
ICBM - Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
IFF - Identification Friend or Foe
IGT - Initial Gliding Training (Air Cadets)
I/O - Intelligence Officer
IR - Infra Red
IRBM - Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile
IRLS - Infra Red Line Scan
IR&SU - Immediate Reserve & Support Unit
ITS - Initial Training School
ITW - Initial Training Wing - Blackpool
JARIC - Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre
JEFTS - Joint Elementary Flying Training Squadron
JIC - Joint Intelligence Committee (G Germany)
JRV - Jugoslovensko Ratno Vazdvhoplovstvo, (Yugoslavian Air Force)
JSPI - Joint School of Photographic Interpretation

KGB - Komitet gosudarstvennol bezopasnosti (Russian) Committee for State Security
LABS - Low Altitude Bombing System: LAB low altitude bombing (or LLB low level bombing?)
LAC - Leading Aircraftman
LACW - Leading Aircraftwoman
LCN - Method of identifying the load­weight characteristics of a runway
LFS - Lancaster Finishing School - No.5 Syerston (1944)
LG - Landing Ground
LMF - Lacking Moral Fibre
LNSF - Light Night Striking Force, of Mosquitoes of 8 Group
LOROP - Long Range Oblique Photography
LOX - Liquid Oxygen
LRDF - Long Range Development Flight
MACR - Master Aircrew
MAEE - Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment
MAP - Ministry of Aircraft Production
MAREL - Moveable Air Reconnaissance Exploitation Unit
MCU - Mosquito Conversion Unit
MEDME - Mediterranean and Middle East
MFPU - Mobile Field Photographic Unit
MGSP - Mobile Glider Servicing Party (pre-CGMF, now ACCGS Eng Flt)
MO - Medical Officer
MOA - Ministry of Aviation
MOS - Ministry of Supply
MR squadron - Medium Reconnaissance squadron
MRBM - Medium Range Ballistic Missiles
MR&ES - Missing Research & Enquiry Service: RAF unit which worked to recover, identify and where necessary relocate RAF war dead: sometime also seen as MR&EU - Missing Research & Enquiry Unit
MSFU - Merchant Ship Fighter Unit
MT - Motor Transport
MTU - Mosquito Training Unit
MU - Maintenance Unit
MUG - Mid Upper Gunner
NAAFI - Navy, Army, Air Force Institute
NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
NBC - Nuclear, Biological, Chemical
NCO - Non Commissioned Officer
NFT - Night Flying Test
N/E - Non Effective Airframe
NI CF - Night Conversion Flight
NORAD - North American Air Defence (Command)
NRC - Nuclear Reporting Cell
NVA - East German Army - Nationale Volksarmee
OAFU - Observers Advanced Flying Unit - No.3 Bobbington (1943)
OANS - Observers Air Navigation School
OAR - Obusna Aeroplansva Radionica, (District Aviation Workshop)
OASC - Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre
OBS - Observer School
OC - Commanding Officer (can also be CO)
OCU - Operational Conversion Unit - No.230 Lindholme (1949)
OIC - Officer's Initial Course (for RAFVR (T) officers, conducted at ACTC)
OP - Observation Point
O/R - Orderly Room
ORB - Operations Record Book (Form 540), monthly summaries: Form 541 for accompanying Appendices containing important details of specific events
ORBAT - Order of Battle
ORTU - Operational Refresher Training Unit
OSC - Officers Senior Course (for RAFVR (T) officers, conducted at ACTC)
OTSCU - Officer Training School Conversion Unit
OTU - Operational Training Unit - No.28 Wymeswold (1943)
OTW - Operational Training Wing
PAFU - Pilots Advanced Flying Unit - No.6 Little Rissington (1944)
PATP - Packed Aircraft Transit Pool
PDC - Personnel Despatch Centre
PDU - Photographic Development Unit
PDU - Personnel Dispersal Unit eg 102 PDU Cardington
PFF - Pathfinder Force
PFFNTU - Pathfinder Force Navigational Training Unit
PHU - Personnel Holding Unit -
No.3 Morecambe (1944)
PIU - Photographic Intelligence Unit
PM Hospital - Princess Mary's Hospital
PMC - President of the Mess Committee
POL depot - Petrol, Oil and Lubricants depot
POW - Prisoner of War
PR - Photographic Reconnaissance
PRC - Personnel Reception Centre
PRU - Photographic Reconnaissance Unit
PSP runway - Pierced Steel Planking runway
PT - Physical Training
Proficiency ratings:
Tradesmen: A - Skilled in his trade (applicable to airmen up to the rank of Corporal inclusive).
Tradesmen: B - Ability as a Technical Warrant Officer or Non-commissioned officer, ie as a foreman manager, foreman or supervisor in his trade.
Air Crew Personnel: A - Proficiency as a pilot, navigator, air bomber, air gunner etc
Air Crew Personnel: A - Ability as a Warrant Officer or Non-commissioned officer
Proficency is shown as Ex (Exceptional), Supr (Superior), Sat (Satisfactory), Mod (Moderate), Inf (Inferior)
QAA - At what time do you expect to arrive at ...?
QAH - what is your height above ... ?
QAK - is there any risk of collision?
QAL - are you going to /have you landed at ...
QBA - what is the horizontal visibility at ... ?
QDM - magnetic bearing to a DF station
QDR - magnetic bearing from a DF station
QFE - atmospheric pressure at aerodrome elevation
QFI - Qualified Flying Instructor
QGI - Qualified Gliding Instructor
QFO - may I land immediately?
QFR - does my landing gear appear damaged?
QFT - between what heights above ... (datum) has ice formation been observed [at ... (position or zone)]?
QGH - controlled descent through cloud
QGO - airfield closed due to weather
QGV - do you see me? or can you see the aerodrome? or can you see ... (aircraft)?
QGX - May I land using the ZZ procedure
QNH - atmospheric pressure at sea level
QRA - Quick Reaction Alert
QSY - change frequency
QTH - my position is ...
QTR - what's the time?
Quarter Cross Over and Under - Where practice flights with drogues towed over or under. It was the percentage of hits determined with soft coloured paint on the bullets that counted.
RAAA - Repaired and Awaiting Allocation, or Repaired Aircraft Awaiting Action - which?
RAAF - Royal Auxiliary Air Force/Royal Australian Air Force
RAeS - Royal Aeronautical Society
RAuxAF - Royal Auxiliary Air Force
RAE - Royal Aircraft Establishment
RAFASU - RAF Armament Support Unit (formerly BCAS)
RAFD - RAF Depot -
No.1 Uxbridge 1939
RAFVR - RAF Volunteer Reserve
RAT Flight - Radio Aids Training Flight
RATG - Rhodesian Air Training Group, Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia
R&C -
R&D - Research & Development
RCAF - Royal Canadian Air Force
RCM Squadron Flight - Radio Counter Measures Squadron Flight
RDF - Radio Direction Finding
RDU - Radio Direction Unit
RF - Reserve Flight
RFC - Royal Flying Corps
RFS - Reserve Flying School
R/G - Rear Gunner
RIW - Repaired in Works
RLG - Relief Landing Ground
RN - Royal Navy
RNAS - Royal Naval Air Service
RNZAF - Royal New Zealand Air Force
ROC - Royal Observer Corps
ROS - Repaired on Site
RRF - Radar Reconnaissance Flight
RS - Radio School - No.10 Carew Cheriton
RSU - Repair & Servicing Unit or Repair and Salvage Unit - which?
RTP - Recruit Training Pool
RTTL - Rescue/Target Towing Launch (post war description of HSL)

RAF Character during Service
VG is the highest that can be awarded in the RAF
S of AT -
S of AT(PS) -
SAC - Senior Aircraftman
SACEUR - Supreme Allied Commander Europe
SAN - School of Air? Navigation
SAR - Sanostacna Aeroplansva Radionica, (Independent Aviation Workshop)
SAS - Servicing & Aircraft Section or Service and Aircraft Section - which?
SASO - Senior Air Staff Officer
SBA - Standard Beam Approach
SBAC - Society of British Aircraft Constructors
SBC - Small Bomb Container
SC - Strike Command
SD - Special Duties
SF - Station Flight
SFT - School of Flying Training
SFTS - Service Flying Training School
SGR - School of General Reconnaissance
SHQ - Station Head Quarters
SIOP - Single Integrated Operational Plan
SIS - Secret Intelligence Service (British)
S/L or S/Ldr - Squadron Leader
SLAIS - Specialised Low Attack Instructor School
SLAR - Sideways Looking Airborne Radar
SLBM - Submarine Lauched Ballistic Missile
SLG - Satellite Landing Ground
SN-2 - German night fighter radar
S of TT - School of Technical Training -
No.4 S of TT St Athan
SOE operations - Operations under the control of the Special Operations Executive
SOC - Struck off Charge
SOP - Standard Operational Procedure
SOXMIS - Soviet Exchange Mission
SP - Service Police
SP - Skolski Puk, (Training Regiment)
SQ/SQN/SQD - Squadron - No.207
SRO - Station Routine Orders
SRW - Strategic Reconnaissance Wing
SS - Salvage Section
SSA - Supplementary Storage Area
SSC - Senior Supervisor's Course (for senior QGI's, conducted at ACCGS - similar to regular Flying Supervisors Course)
SSQ - Station Sick Quarters
SU - Signals Unit
SWO - Station Warrant Officer
TAF - Tactical Air Force
TAMU - Transport Aircraft Maintenance Unit
TASM - Tactical Air to Surface Missile
TCU - Transport Conversion Unit -
Dishforth 1947
TDS - Training Depot Station
TEU - Tropical Experimental Unit
TF - Training Flight
TFH - Total Flying Hours
TFU - Telecommunications Flying Unit -
Defford Memorial
TI - Target Indicator (flare)
TRE - Telecomms Research Establishment
TRS - Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron
TS - Training Squadron
TSTU - Transport Support Training Unit
TTB - Towed Target Bombing
TTC - Technical Training Command
TTF - Target Towing Flight
TTO - Towed-Target Operator
UAS University Air Squadron
U/C - undercarriage
UKAIR - NATO HQ in UK responsible for maintaining integrity of UK Air Defence Region and over UK nuclear force assigned to SACEUR
UKWMO - UK Warning and Monitoring Organisation
U/S - Unserviceable
USAAC - United States Army Air Corps
USAAF - United States Army Air Force (designated thus from June 20 1941, although the term Army Air Corps remained in use long after that date: post war, USAF, USAFE - USAF Europe)
U/T - Under training
VC - Victoria Cross
VCAS - Vice Chief of the Air Staff
VGS - Volunteer Gliding School(s) (Air Cadets, various locations)
VHF - Very High Frequency
VOS - Vazdvhoplovna Oficirsva Skola, (Aviation Officers School)
VR - Vazovhoplovna Radionica, (Aviation Repair Workshop)
V/STOL - Vertical/Short Take Off and Landing
VTB Vazdvhoplovna-Tehnicki Battalion, (Aviation Technical Battalion)
WAAF - Women's Auxiliary Air Force
W/Cdr - Wing Commander (also W/C)
w.e.f. or w/e/f - with effect from
WFU - Withdrawn from Use
W/O - Warrant Officer
W/Op - Wireless Operator (WOp/AG - Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
WRAF - Women's Royal Air Force
WRAFVR (T) - Womens Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Training branch) (disbanded with WRAF)
WST - Weapons Standardisation Team
W/T - Wireless Telegraphy

Provided in part by Royal Air Forces Register of Associations