To a fighter pilot, “Pickle” is an aviation term for an aircraft releasing its bomb or dropping its weapon stores. It typically refers to an aircraft deploying one or more bombs, missiles, rockets, or other weaponry at a target.
The term “pickle” was coined in World War II, when pilots described the action of “dropping the pickle” as they released their bombs. A fighter pilot may also use the term in a figurative sense to indicate they are attacking an enemy target.
What are fighter pilots nicknames?
Fighter pilots often have nicknames or callsigns that serve as a unique identifier. The origin of these nicknames depend on the unit and squadron of the pilot in question.
In the United States Air Force, fighter pilot nicknames are derived from a pilot’s visually distinctive surname. For example, a pilot with a last name like “Burns” might choose the call sign “Fireball”.
On the other hand, some fighter pilots have adopted self-referential nicknames, such as “Ace”, or “Top Gun”.
In the United Kingdom, pilots tend to prefer nicknames that are based on the pilot’s surname, age, or geographical area of origin. A typical example of this type of nickname is Herts (for Hertfordshire), or Suffolk (for Suffolk).
Some pilots, such as those of the 617 Squadron, also opt for references to heroic wartime endeavors, such as “Dambuster”.
Regardless of their origin, fighter pilot nicknames are seen as a way of developing camaraderie and they are often seen as a badge of honor. They are usually only used when addressing other pilots and when communicating over the radio.
Why do fighter pilots say Fox 3?
Fighter pilots say “Fox 3” when they launch a missile, usually an air-to-air missile like an AIM-9 Sidewinder or an AIM-7 Sparrow. In addition to signaling the launch of the missile, it also informs other pilots on the frequency that a missile has been launched.
In a military setting, the term “Fox Three” is part of the Joint Electronics Type Designation System (JETDS). This system was developed by the US military in the 1970s to help standardize the naming and designation of various military communication and weapons systems.
The “F” stands for fighter aircraft, the “O” denotes an “offensive” weapon system, and the “X” is the coding for missiles. The number “3” stands for an “AAM” or an “air-to-air missile.” Therefore, when a pilot launches a missile from his aircraft, he will announce “Fox Three” to indicate that an air-to-air missile has been fired.
Other components of the JETDS code system will be used in relation to other aircraft systems and operations. For example, fighter pilots may say “Fox Two” when they launch a radar-guided missile. Additionally, pilots may use terms like “Oscar Foxtrot” when they launch an air-to-ground missile and “Bravo Zulu” when they detect an aircraft on their radar.
Overall, the JETDS code system is designed to help pilots and military personnel quickly and efficiently communicate different types of operations to each other. By saying “Fox Three,” pilots are able to quickly inform their fellow pilots that a missile has been launched from their aircraft.