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When I was watching Top Gun Maverick, the EWAC called the 2 incoming SU-57s “bandits”, but when Maverick says it he says “bogies incoming“. (Correct me if that isn’t what they said).

So why don’t they just call them "bandits" and not "bogies".

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According to the Multiservice Tactical Brevity Codes

a Bandit is

An aircraft identified as enemy, in accordance with theater ID criteria. The term does not necessarily imply direction or authority to engage.

and a Bogey is

A radar or visual air contact whose identity is unknown.


The RAF had a much smaller set of codes but the meaning is fairly consistant with the American/NATO codes above

Bandit – identified enemy aircraft.
Bogey – unidentified (possibly unfriendly) aircraft.

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    $\begingroup$ I'd add comment that in USAF, (at least 40 years ago), we also made a distinction in calling out visual acquisition of aircraft. If you acquired an known enemy, we said "TALLY". If you did not have the enemy aircraft, "NO JOY". for friendly aircraft we said "VISUAL" and "BLIND" e.g., "LOCUST TWO TALLY 2 BANDITS 10 O'CLOCK HIGH RIGHT TO LEFT 2 MILES" $\endgroup$ Jun 28 at 19:03
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    $\begingroup$ @CharlesBretana, there’s a call for having them on the fighter’s AA radar too isn’t there? $\endgroup$ Jun 29 at 15:15
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, The call was the word "CONTACT", as in "RUCKUS 21. CONTACT, 270 12 miles, ANGELS TWENTY-FOUR... " As I recall, we also had code-words to communicate the information from our electronic IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) systems, but I have forgotten what those words were. $\endgroup$ Jun 29 at 16:11
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Traditionally, a 'bandit' is identified bad guy, whereas a 'bogey' is unidentified - could be bad guy, could be one of ours.

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    $\begingroup$ Or could be civilian, or 3rd party military on an unrelated mission, not part of whatever conflict you're worried about. $\endgroup$ Jun 29 at 4:40

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