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Numerous Movies, Video Games, and TV shows featuring fighter pilots depict the pilots calling out "Fox Two" on the radio as they fire a missile.

The transmission (as depicted, I'm not sure about IRL) frequently does not include the aircraft identifier (tailnumber or callsign). (but sometimes an aircraft ID is included)

What does this signify? Why is it important? And why is the term "Fox Two" rather than any other variation of "Missile Fired"/"Missile Away"?

How are other pilots meant to respond when they hear "Fox Two" on the radio?

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Fox codes are used by NATO military aircraft to designate a release of an air-to-air munition, generally missiles.

Fox One is a semi-active radar guided missile, for example the AIM-7 Sparrow. This type of missile requires the radar of the launching aircraft to guide it to its target.

Fox Two is an infrared-guided missile, for example the AIM-9 Sidewinder. This missile is "fire and forget".

Fox Three is an active radar guided missile, for example the AIM-120 AMRAAM. This missile has its own radar to track the target; it is "fire and forget".

Fox Four is guns. Previously this was Fox Three.

You can find all the acronyms and brevity codes in the Field Manual 1-02-1 on page 33 of the PDF.

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    $\begingroup$ @abelenky - "What're you supposed to do when you hear that from your fellow pilots?" Don't get between the missile and its intended target. Otherwise, it may lock on to YOU. $\endgroup$
    – WPNSGuy
    Jan 30, 2023 at 16:53
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    $\begingroup$ @WPNSGuy: Scenes from "Top Gun: Maverick" not withstanding, it is virtually impossible for a friendly craft to maneuver fast enough to get in front of an un-intended missile even deliberately, much less accidentally. It is also the responsibility of the Pilot firing the missile to fire only when the target path is clear of friendlies. $\endgroup$
    – abelenky
    Jan 30, 2023 at 17:12
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    $\begingroup$ Seeing as there have been documented air to air kills from 28km, Turkish F-16 v Syrian MiG....doesn't seem to unlikely to me. 28km is about 30 seconds flight time for an AMRAAM. That sounds like a lot of space and time. $\endgroup$
    – WPNSGuy
    Jan 30, 2023 at 22:08
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    $\begingroup$ One great reason to announce the launch of a missile and the type is so that your wing and flight and command are aware of your remaining weapons load. They also would all know the number of bandits and approximate range of engagement. This keeps the situational awareness up for everyone, which means everyone can make informed decisions. "Guns guns guns" is also called when guns are used. Combined with "splash one" for kills, the radio alone can be an effective situational awareness tool. $\endgroup$ Jan 31, 2023 at 3:22
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    $\begingroup$ @abelenky on the 'why do weapon launch brevity words exist in general' is that often launches are made to another orders, so the codeword is your 'I have complied with your command, now doing the next thing'. In the world of equipment from the lowest bidder can also mean 'all my technology worked, backup weapons can be reprioritized'. Finally it also means 'any command to NOT kill this target is now irrelevant'. $\endgroup$ Jan 31, 2023 at 8:11
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A heat seeker won't "ping" the defender's radar, and since the launch is simulated you won't see a smoke trail either. In a training situation saying "Fox 2" on the radio tells the defender that there is a simulated missile in the air, and cues them to simulate popping flares and maneuvering to defend against the missile.

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    $\begingroup$ But "Fox Two" is also used for actual launches, not just simulated ones. $\endgroup$
    – abelenky
    Jan 30, 2023 at 16:36
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    $\begingroup$ It is? Do you know this for a fact? (you reference "Numerous Movies, Video Games, and TV shows...") $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2023 at 16:39
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    $\begingroup$ @Michael Hall - Yes, it is used in real munitions release as well. From Wiki "Fox is a brevity code used by NATO pilots to signal the simulated or actual release of an air-to-air munition or other combat function." Also, from personal discussions with USAF pilots over the years. $\endgroup$
    – WPNSGuy
    Jan 30, 2023 at 16:51
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    $\begingroup$ I stand corrected, thanks! Something in my distant memory recalls hearing that you wouldn't announce your attack to the enemy, but I can also see some benefit for AWACS, wingman, etc. $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2023 at 17:27
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    $\begingroup$ I certainly hope in a real battle, your communications are fully encrypted and the enemy cannot hear your call. You certainly wouldn't make the call on UNICOM or CTAF! (hah) $\endgroup$
    – abelenky
    Jan 30, 2023 at 17:29

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