What is Zulu Time?

Zulu Time is the time in the Zero Meridian Time Zone, also called the UTC (Universal) time zone, or GMT (Greenwich Mean Time Zone). It is most commonly used in aviation and the military, as a way to sync up operations and reduce confusion when plannign of operations spanning multiple time zones.

Zulu Time gets its name from the military call sign for the letter “Z”, which is Zulu. Each time zone has a letter and number designation. “Z” is the letter designation of the Zulu time zone. It also refers to the number “0”, the number designation for Zulu time (zero meridian time zone).

About Zulu Time and Time Zone Names

How are time zones named? They have many different names depending on who is using the time zone. But first a little background on time zones.

There are 25 time zones in the world, each one separated by 15 degrees of longtitude. Each time zone encompasses a swatch of the globe extending from north to south between two longitude bars 15 degrees apart.

Every time zone has a common name, letter, and number designation. The military uses letters to name time zones. “Z” is the military letter designation of Zulu Time Zone.

Zulu time zone is therefore also represented by the number “0”, or GMT + 0 which is why it is called the zero meridian time zone. It’s common name is either zero meridian time, GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) (referring to the city Greenwich in England), or UTC (Universal Time).

Zero Meridian Time

Zero Meridian time is the same as GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). This is the starting point for the universal time zone numbering system. It’s the time zone that is essentially at the 0 hour, because it is the starting point for the other time zones, which are either plus or minus an hour from this time zone.

Each time zone is numbered from -12 through +12. with each number having a corresponding letter designation. If you are smart, you probably have figured out that one letter would have to be left off, since there are 26 letters in the alphabet. You are correct.

Is Zulu Time Used as Civilian Time Anywhere?

Yes. Zulu time is used as civilian time in several countries. Any country falling in this particular time zone, use it everyday. The countries in Zulu Time Zone include London England, Dublin Ireland, some cities in Ghana, Portugal, and all of Antartica.

The civilians in these countries use the 12-hour clock. So, they use Zulu time in 12-hour format. They also refer to their time zone commonly as GMT or Greenwich Mean Time. Only military personnel refer to it as “Zulu Time”.

What is Zulu Military Time?

Zulu Military time is simply military time in the Zulu time zone (GMT, UTC, or zero meridian).  It is the time in 24-hour clock format of time in this time zone.