Air force officer ranks

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Air forces of most of the countries use system similar to Armies. However, the RAF and the air forces of many Commonwealth countries, or those formerly under a British influence, use a different set of ranks loosely based on naval equivalents; Lieutenant, Commander, Captain and Commodore are prefixed for air force use with Flight, Wing, Group and Air, respectively (the first three being the units that they used to command).

NATO Rank Codes

To assist in the comparison of ranks in the armed forces of different countries, established NATO rank codes are used. These are established codes for determining the seniority of officer and other ranks in NATO countries for a particular joint task group or command structure, although specific appointments designate a higher level of seniority over other equivalent rank codes in a given situation. Officer ranks go from OF-1 (applying to all subaltern officers below captain) up to OF-10; OF(D) being a special category for trainee officers awaiting a commission. Other Ranks (also known as enlisted men) are classified from OR-1 to OR-9. The system should not be confused with the pay grades used in the US military. While countries outside the NATO command structure (including some NATO member countries such as France) do not strictly fall into this classification structure and there may be incidences of overlap (particularly in OR ranks between countries) the codes still provide a useful gauge in determining what ranks are broadly equivalent.

Generals/Marshals/Air Officers

These are the highest ranks. Promotion to a rank above OF-9 is now rare and usually reserved for wartime. General of the Air Force is an example of such a rank.

Note that there is doubt about rank equivalency in countries that have both colonel-generals and generals but no brigadier-generals, such as German Empire and Russia - often it is considered that in these countries a colonel-general equates to an OF-9 rank, a general to OF-8, a lieutenant-general to OF-7, and a major-general to OF-6 (i.e. the ranks below colonel-general all move down one grade).

Country OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6
Albania   Gjeneral Gjenerallejtnant Gjeneralmajor Gjeneralbrigad
Argentina   Brigadier General Brigadier Mayor Brigadier Comodoro Mayor
Australia Marshal of the Royal Australian Air Force¹ Air Chief Marshal Air Marshal Air Vice-Marshal Air Commodore
Austria   General Generalleutnant Generalmajor Brigadier
Belarus   General-polkovnik General-leytenant General-mayor  
Belgium   Generaal
Général
Luitenant-generaal
Lieutenant-général
Generaal-majoor
Général-major
Brigadegeneraal
Général de brigade
Brazil Marechal-do-Ar Tenente-Brigadeiro-do-Ar Major-Brigadeiro-do-Ar Brigadeiro-do-Ar  
Canada (modern)   General
Général
Lieutenant-General
Lieutenant-Général
Major-General
Major-Général
Brigadier-General
Brigadier-Général
Canada (1920s to 1960s)   Air Chief Marshal
Maréchal en chef de l'air
Air Marshal
Maréchal de l'air
Air Vice-Marshal
Vice-maréchal de l'air
Air Commodore
Commodore de l'air
Chile Capitán General General del Aire General de Aviación General de Brigada aérea Comodoro
China   Kongjun Shang Jiang 空军上将 Kongjun Zhong Jiang 空军中将 Kongjun Shao Jiang 空军少将 Kongjun Da Xiao 空军大校
Croatia Stožerni general General zbora General pukovnik General bojnik Brigadni general
Denmark   General Generalløjtnant Generalmajor Brigadegeneral²
Finland   Kenraali Kenraaliluutnantti Kenraalimajuri Prikaatikenraali
France Maréchal de France¹ Général d'armée aérienne Général de corps aérienne Général de division aérienne Général de brigade aérienne
Germany   General Generalleutnant Generalmajor Brigadegeneral
Ghana     Air Marshal Air Vice-Marshal Air Commodore
Indonesia Marsekal Besar Marsekal Marsekal Madya Marsekal Muda Marsekal Pertama
India Marshal of the Indian Air Force Air Chief Marshal Air Marshal Air Vice-Marshal Air Commodore
Israel     Rav-aluf Aluf Tat-aluf
Italy     Generale di squadra aerea Generale di divisione aerea Generale di brigata aerea
Japan Air Self Defence Force   Kōkū-Bakuryōchō 航空幕僚長 Kūshō空将 kūshō-ho空将補  
Latvia     Ğenerãlleitnants Ğenerãlmajors Brigādes ģenerãlis
Malaysia Marsyal Tentera Udara Jeneral Leftenan Jeneral Mejar Jeneral Brigedier Jeneral
México Comandante Supremo de Las Fuerzas Armadas General Secretario de La Defensa Nacional General de División General de Ala General de Grupo
New Zealand Marshal of the Royal New Zealand Air Force¹   Air Marshal Air Vice-Marshal Air Commodore
Nigeria   Air Chief Marshal Air Marshal Air Vice-Marshal Air Commodore
Philippines   General Lieutenant General Major General Brigadier General
Poland   Generał Generał broni Generał dywizji Generał brygady
Romania   General General-locotenent General-maior General de flotilă aeriană
Russia (Soviet Union) General armii (Marshal Aviatsii) General-polkovnik General-leytenant General-mayor
Spain Capitán General General del Aire Teniente General General de División General de Brigada
Sri Lanka   Air Chief Marshal Air Marshal Air Vice-Marshal Air Commodore
Sweden   General Generallöjtnant Generalmajor Brigadgeneral²
Thailand Chom Phon Akat (Marshal of the RTAF) Phon Akat Ek (Air Chief Marshal) Phon Akat Tho (Air Marshal) Phon Akat Tri (Air Vice Marshal) Nawa Akat Ek Phiset (Special Group Captain)
Turkey Hava Mareşalı Hava Kuvvetleri Komutanı

Orgeneral

Korgeneral Tümgeneral Tuğgeneral
United Kingdom Marshal of the Royal Air Force Air Chief Marshal Air Marshal Air Vice-Marshal Air Commodore
United States General of the Air Force General Lieutenant General Major General Brigadier General
Zimbabwe   Air Chief Marshal Air Marshal Air Vice-Marshal Air Commodore

Other officers

Country OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1
Albania Kolonel Nënkolonel Major Kapiten Toger Nëntoger  
Argentina Comodoro Vicecomodoro Mayor Capitán Primer Teniente Teniente Alférez
Australia Group Captain Wing Commander Squadron Leader Flight Lieutenant Flying Officer Pilot Officer Officer Cadet
Belarus Polkovnik Podpolkovnik Mayor Kapitan Starshiy leytenant Leytenant Mladshiy Leytenant
Belgium Kolonel
Colonel
Luitenant-kolonel
Lieutenant-colonel
Majoor
Major

Kapitein-commandant
Capitaine-commandant

Kapitein
Capitaine
Luitenant
Lieutenant
Onderluitenant
Sous-lieutenant
 
Brazil Coronel Tenente-Coronel Major Capitão Primeiro-Tenente Segundo-Tenente Aspirante
Canada (modern) Colonel
Colonel
Lieutenant-Colonel
Lieutenant-Colonel
Major
Major
Captain
Capitaine
Lieutenant
Lieutenant
Second-Lieutenant
Sous-Lieutenant
 
Canada (1920s to 1960s) Group Captain
Colonel d'aviation
Wing Commander
Lieutenant-colonel d'aviation
Squadron Leader
Commandant d'aviation
Flight Lieutenant
Capitaine d'aviation
Flying Officer
Lieutenant d'aviation
Pilot Officer
Sous-lieutenant d'aviation
 
Chile Coronel de Aviación Comandante de Grupo Comandante de Escuadrilla Capitan de Bandada Teniente Subteniente Alferez
China Kongjun Shang Xiao 空军上校 Kongjun Zhong Xiao 空军中校 Kongjun Shao Xiao 空军少校 Kongjun Shang Wei 空军上尉 Kongjun Zhong Wei 空军中尉 Kongjun Shao Wei 空军少尉  
Croatia Brigadir Pukovnik Bojnik Satnik Nadporučnik Poručnik  
Denmark Oberst Oberst Løjtnant Major Kaptajn Premierløjtnant Flyverløjtnant 1. grad Flyverløjtnant
Finland Eversti Everstiluutnantti Majuri Kapteeni Yliluutnantti

Luutnantti

Vänrikki
France Colonel Lieutenant-Colonel Commandant Capitaine Lieutenant Sous-Lieutenant Aspirant
Germany Oberst Oberstleutnant Major Stabshauptmann

Hauptmann

Oberleutnant Leutnant Oberfähnrich / Fähnrich
Ghana Group Captain Wing Commander Squadron Leader Flight Lieutenant Air Lieutenant Air Sub Lieutenant
India Group Captain Wing Commander Squadron Leader Flight Lieutenant Flying Officer  
Indonesia Kolonel Letnan Kolonel Mayor Kapten Letnan Satu Letnan Dua
Israel Aluf mishne Sgan aluf Rav seren Seren Segen Segen mishne  
Italy Colonnello Tenente Colonnello Maggiore Capitano Tenente Sottotenente  
Japan Air Self Defence Force Ittō-Kūsa一等空佐 Nitō-Kūsa二等空佐 Santō-Kūsa三等空佐 Ittō-Kūi一等空尉 Nitō-Kūi二等空尉 Santō-Kūi三等空尉
Latvia Pulkvedis Pulkvežleitnants Majors Kapteinis Virslietnants Lietnants  
Malaysia Kolonel Leftenan Kolonel Mejar Kapten Leftenan Leftenan Muda
México Coronel Teniente Coronel Mayor Capitán Primero Capitán Segundo Teniente Subteniente
New Zealand Group Captain Wing Commander Squadron Leader Flight Lieutenant Flying Officer Pilot Officer
Nigeria Group Captain Wing Commander Squadron Leader Flight Lieutenant Flying Officer Pilot Officer
Philippines Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Major Captain 1st Lieutenant 2nd Lieutenant  
Poland Pułkownik Podpułkownik Major Kapitan Porucznik Podporucznik  
Romania Comandor Căpitan-comandor Locotenent-comandor Căpitan Locotenent Sublocotenent
Russia Polkovnik Podpolkovnik Mayor
Kapitan
Starshiy leytenant Leytenant Mladshiy leytenant
Slovakia Plukovník Podplukovník Major Kapitán Poručík Podporučík  
Spain Coronel Teniente Coronel Comandante Capitán Teniente Alférez  
Sri Lanka Group Captain Wing Commander Squadron Leader Flight Lieutenant Flying Officer Pilot Officer
Sweden Överste 1. graden³

Överste

Överstelöjtnant Major Kapten Löjtnant Fänrik  
Thailand Nawa Akat Ek (Group Captain) Nawa Akat Tho (Wing Commander) Nawa Akat Tri (Squadron Leader) Ruea Akat Ek (Flight Lieutenant) Ruea Akat Tho (Flying Officer) Ruea Akat Tri (Pilot Officer)  
Turkey Albay Yarbay Binbaşı Yüzbaşı Üsteğmen Teğmen Asteğmen
United Kingdom Group Captain
Wing Commander Squadron Leader Flight Lieutenant Flying Officer Pilot Officer Acting Pilot Officer
United States Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Major Captain 1st Lieutenant 2nd Lieutenant  
Zimbabwe Group Captain Wing Commander Squadron Leader Flight Lieutenant Air Lieutenant Air Sub Lieutenant

¹ No officer of the French Air Force has ever been created a Maréchal.
² Introduced on 1 July 2000, when promotions to the rank of Överste 1. graden (a field officer rank) ceased.
³ Promotion to the rank of Överste 1. graden ceased on 1 July 2000, when the new junior general officer rank of Brigadgeneral was introduced.

Rank insignia

Whilst there is a wide range of air force rank insignia in use, many air forces use army-style rank insignia whilst others follow the Royal Air Force style (shown below).

NATO code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) Student officer
United Kingdom United Kingdom
(Edit)
British RAF OF-10 (ceremonial shoulder board).svgBritish RAF OF-10.svg British RAF Air Officer (ceremonial shoulder board).svgBritish RAF OF-9.svg British RAF Air Officer (ceremonial shoulder board).svgBritish RAF OF-8.svg British RAF Air Officer (ceremonial shoulder board).svgBritish RAF OF-7.svg British RAF Air Officer (ceremonial shoulder board).svgBritish RAF OF-6.svg British RAF OF-5.svg British RAF OF-4.svg British RAF OF-3.svg British RAF OF-2.svg British RAF OF-1b.svg British RAF OF-1a.svg UK-RAF-OFD.svg No equivalent
Marshal of the RAF1 Air Chief Marshal Air Marshal Air Vice-Marshal Air Commodore Group Captain Wing Commander Squadron Leader Flight Lieutenant Flying Officer Pilot Officer
/Acting Pilot Officer
Officer Cadet
  • 1 Honorary/War time rank.

See also

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