Basics: Callsigns - Communication - United Task Force (UNITAF) Arma 3

P10-157 Basics: Callsigns

UNITAF / Arma 3 / Communication Procedures

Version 2 / 5min read / Updated Sun 08 May 2022 / 19087 views / of verified

Table of Contents

    What are callsigns

    Callsigns or tactical callsigns are assigned as unique identifiers to military communications. Callsigns are typically assigned to a platoon sized unit or higher. Military communications are conducted from callsign to callsign. During tactical radio communications, from Squad networks and above, names of personnel are never used in communications, callsigns are used instead.


    How callsigns work

    Deployment ORBATs in UNITAF have callsigns which are assigned by the deployments Field Leader, callsigns come from a pre-approved callsign list. Some callsigns are from the phonetic alphabet, ALPHA, BRAVO CHARLIE etc. However many other callsigns exist, and can carry themes such as birds, animals and chess pieces. Callsigns are usually words which are short, easy to say, remember and to understand.

    In UNITAF Callsigns are assigned to Platoons or to Companies. When a Platoon is assigned a callsign, all subordinate elements of the Platoon also adopt that callsign. A simple example of how this works is outlined below.


    • Platoon HQ (ALPHA 9)
    • Platoon Sergeant (ALPHA 8)
    • Platoon RTO (ALPHA 7)
    • Platoon Medic (ALPHA 6)
    • 1st Squad (ALPHA 1-0)
      • 1st Squad 1st Fireteam (ALPHA 1-1)
      • 1st Squad 2nd Fireteam (ALPHA 1-2)
    • 2nd Squad (ALPHA 2-0)
      • 2nd Squad 1st Fireteam (ALPHA 2-1)
      • 2nd Squad 2nd Fireteam (ALPHA 2-2)
    • 3rd Squad (ALPHA 3-0)
      • 3rd Squad 1st Fireteam (ALPHA 3-1)
      • 3rd Squad 2nd Fireteam (ALPHA 3-2)


    Shortening of callsigns

    As explained earlier Brevity in communications is important and so using your full callsign on every transmission can be time consuming. There are times and rules surrounding when callsigns can be shortened.

    As a general rule, if you are speaking to an element that is not from the same superior callsign as yours, then you must always use your full callsign in all messages. When communicating internally in your platoon or squad for example, assuming all subordinate elements of your Platoon or Squad carry the same callsign, then it is acceptable to shortern your callsign to just the numerical assignment of your element. 

    Important: the first time in any deployment that two callsigns exchange a transmission, the full callsign is always used.

    For example:

    Situation Full Callsign Usage Shorterned Explaination
    Platoon HQ (Alpha 9) to 1st Squad (Alpha 1-0) "ALPHA WUN ZERO, THIS IS ALPHA NINER" "WUN THIS IS NINER" "ALPHA" is dropped because both elements carry the same callsign.
    1st Squad (Alpha 1-0) to Platoon FAC (Alpha 8) "ALPHA AIT, THIS IS ALPHA WUN ZERO" "AIT THIS IS WUN" "ALPHA" is dropped because both elements carry the same callsign.
    3rd Squad, 1st Fireteam (Alpha 3-1) to Platoon Commander "ALPHA ACTUAL, THIS IS ALPHA TREE WUN" "ACTUAL THIS IS TREE WUN" "ALPHA" is dropped because both elements carry the same callsign. ACTUAL is used as the trasmittor is trying to speak to the commander proper.
    Platoon HQ (Alpha 9) to Company Command (Delta 9) "DELTA NINER, THIS IS ALPHA NINER" "DELTA, THIS IS ALPHA" "NINER" / 9 is dropped because both elements are from seperate callsigns.


    Special exceptions


    A callsign represents a military unit or it's function in it's entireity, and not any specific person in that callsign. The callsign ACTUAL is used when the transmitting station wishes to speak to the commander of that callsign. It is appended at the end (e.g. ALPHA ACTUAL), but in the case where all callsigns on a frequency are of the same callsign, ACTUAL can be used independently.
    Hence, only the proper leader of the callsign will answer to ACTUAL, whereas a radio-telephone operator (or other designee) will answer to the callsign itself (without the "Actual" appended) as a matter of routine.

    Thus, only the proper Platoon Leader of Alpha platoon will respond to ALPHA ACTUAL and only the proper Squad Leader of his first squad will answer to ALPHA 1 ACTUAL while e.g. an attached Radio Operator will only respond without the appended ACTUAL (if the proper leader is not monitoring this frequency, the calls should obviously answered nontheless but this circumstance should be stated). Do note that this implies, that e.g. a 2IC stepping up is never ACTUAL as he is not the proper leader of that callsign! He may answer calls adressed to his ACTUAL but should clarify that he in fact is only a 2IC.


    ALPHA 9, ALPHA 8, ALPHA 7..

    In platoon and company headquarter elements, there are many personnel that use radios and that communicate with external units such as higher-headquarters or support attachments and they each will have a unique callsign. The assignment of Company or Platoon headquarters staff works in reverse from the number 9, where 9 is the commander of that callsign. Typically, the second-in-command will be 8, forward air controllers, observers or medics can be 7, 6 and so on.

    This SOP has been contributed to by 1 editors:
    Major James
    Specialist 3rd Class Noah_Hero

    UNITAF Standard Operating procedures (SOP)
    are adapted primarly from US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). Our written and audio procedures are a combination of the following primary source materials, as well as our own learnings, modifications and adaptations:
    - US Army Techniques Publication, Infantry Platoon and Squad (ATP 3-21.8)
    - Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks Warrior Leader Skills Level 2, 3, and 4 (STP 21-24-SMCT)
    - The Warrior Ethos and Soldier Combat Skills (FM 3-21.75 / FM 21-75)
    - Leadership Development (FM 6-22)
    - Dyslexi's Tactics, Techniques, & Procedures for Arma 3 (TTP3)

    Some aspects of this website are fictional. United Task Force is an international online gaming organisation that simulates real-world military operations using Arma 3, a sandbox PC game and custom software. Any usage herein of logos, representations of nations or military organisations is done for the sole purpose of historical representation and fair use.

    The UNITAF logo, UTFN software, and are the sole intellectual property of United Task Force (UNITAF) and it's rights holders, All rights are reserved. ©2019-2024

    This page generated 0.94MB in 0.0670 seconds.