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NATO Signal Flags

Last modified: 2014-01-11 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: signal flag: nato | nato: signal flags |
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These flags drawn them to correspond to US Navy specifications; other NATO navies use slightly different proportions in some cases.
NATO also assigns different meanings to the letter flags and combinations of letter flags and numeral flags and pennants than does the ICS, but those meanings are classified.
Joe McMillan, 8 August 2003

I'm attaching a set if the NATO-signal flags. I started out adding the transparency indicated by grey areas, but I also reduced the palettes and set light grey as pen 0/background for each. The resulting files are also slightly smaller.
I didn't touch the artwork, except that in one case I removed some stray black pixels. I did notice the rather dark green and blue. Is there any special reason for that? Does NATO specify these, or maybe the US Navy?
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 10 July 2010

Images by Joe McMillan, and revised by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg.

NATO Numeral Flags











Special NATO Signals

Code or Answering (Ans)


Designation (Desig)

Division (Div)

Emergency (Emerg)

Formation (Form)

Interrogative (Inter)

Negative (Negat)


Preparative (Prep)



Station (Sta)

Starboard (Stbd)

Subdivision (Subdiv)



NATO use the three substitutes from the International Code and has a fourth substitute.
David Prothero, 07 January 2014

The whole ICSF set is white, yellow, red, blue, and black. If 4th  follows the pattern, than 5th would probably have either red and/or  black, as the least used colours. After colour from the hoist, vertical  divided, horizontal divided, 4th is from the hoist again, so 5th would  be vertically divided. But each design is also different, so maybe a  dividing line like a <, with a black hoist and a yellow fly? Or is that too close to a different flag?
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 08 January 2014