An aircraft that has been observed or reported to be operating in a given area but whose identity has not been established. It might be considered as a “strayed aircraft” by one unit and as “unidentified” by another. As soon as an ATS (air traffic services) unit becomes aware of an unidentified aircraft, it will try to establish its identity by attempting to establish two-way communications, inquiring from and taking assistance from other ATS units, and obtaining information from other aircraft in the area. In air defense operations, an unidentified aircraft must be assumed hostile until identified as friendly, and suitable actions are initiated accordingly. During peacetime, an unidentified aircraft may not be fired at until it is positively identified as hostile or is seen committing a hostile act.
An Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation Copyright © 2005 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved