As I understand it, in aviation and some armed forces, the term Zulu time (denoted by the letter Z) is used to refer to GMT. What is the origin of this? Why the use of "Z"/"Zulu"?

closed as general reference by yoozer8, kiamlaluno, simchona, Mitch, Robusto Jan 9 '12 at 18:05

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • There is an expanation on Wikipedia, although I'm not sure if it is thorough enough to answer your question. – yoozer8 Jan 9 '12 at 17:35
  • @Jim: Erk! If that Wikipedia article doesn't go into enough detail for OP, I'm sure ELU has no business delving any deeper. Even though I've just picked out the central facts in an answer, I'm half minded to vote to close as "general reference". – FumbleFingers Jan 9 '12 at 17:42
  • Why is this English? – simchona Jan 9 '12 at 17:53

It's all explained in this Wikipedia article. Basically, nothing to do with Zulus in Africa - it's just that in the NATO phonetic alphabet (and amateur radio) contexts, the word for Z is "Zulu".

In the context of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), Z stands for "zero hours", meaning the offset from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is zero. Effectively, Zulu Time is GMT.

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