Is there any difference between JATO and RATO? from Anonymous
Depending on who you ask, rocket engines are actually a type of jet engines since both produce thrust through jet propulsion (sending a jet of matter backwards). In that case, RATO is just a more specific form of JATO; JATO can refer to any type of jet-assisted takeoff (including RATO), whereas RATO refers specifically to rocket-assisted takeoff.
Sometimes the distinction is made that rocket engines aren’t airbreathing while traditional jet engines are; in that case, people like to say that jet and rocket engines (and therefore JATO and RATO) are completely separate.
But in the end, all that’s happening with either one is extra engines are being attached to a plane to give it the extra thrust necessary to take off, usually necessary due to some combination of a full load, a short runway, and low air density.
So the short answer is: it depends on whether you use “jet engine” to refer only to traditional jet engines or to all engines that produce thrust through jet propulsion.