rocket-assisted takeoff[′räk·ət ə¦sis·təd ′tāk‚ȯf]
rocket-assisted takeoff (RATO)
A method of assisted takeoff for use with heavy-loaded aircraft and/or taking off from a high-altitude airfield. Auxiliary booster rockets, attached to the airframe, are ignited at the critical time during takeoff to provide the requisite additional thrust. These are jettisoned over a safe area after their use. Also referred to as a jet-assisted takeoff, or JATO.