Ranks of the Royal Australian Air Force

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The Royal Australian Air Force inherited its rank structure from the Royal Air Force. The RAF based its officer ranks on the Royal Navy, and its airmen ranks on the British Army.

Unlike the RAF, RAAF rank abbreviations are always written in uppercase without spaces (e.g. PLTOFF, not Plt Off). Also, the RAAF does not have the ranks of Senior Aircraftman, Junior Technician, Chief Technician or Master Aircrew.

Rank insignia is very similar to that of the RAF, with the exception of LAC/W (which is one chevron (two bladed propellor in RAF)). Both officers and airmen wear rank on the shoulder, however it is worn on the sleeve of the ceremonial jacket (lower sleeve for officers, upper sleeve for airmen). The word 'Australia' appears immediately below all rank insignia worn on the shoulder.

The most senior active rank of the RAAF, (Air Marshal - a 3-star rank), is held by the Chief of Air Force.[1] On the occasions that the Chief of the Defence Force is a RAAF officer, that officer holds the rank of Air Chief Marshal. The rank of Marshal of the Royal Australian Air Force has never been held as an active rank. It is currently held as an honorary/ceremonial rank by HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.


Air Officers

Insignia RAAF O11 rank.png RAAF O10 rank.png RAAF O9 rank.png RAAF O8 rank.png RAAF O7 rank.png
Title Marshal of the RAAF Air Chief Marshal Air Marshal Air Vice Marshal Air Commodore
ADF Code - O-10 O-9 O-8 O-7
NATO Code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6
Army Equivalent Field Marshal General Lieutenant General Major General Brigadier[2]
Navy Equivalent Admiral of the Fleet Admiral Vice Admiral Rear Admiral Commodore

Senior Officers

Insignia RAAF O6 rank.png RAAF O5 rank.png RAAF O4 rank.png
Title Group Captain Wing Commander Squadron Leader
ADF Code O-6 O-5 O-4
NATO Code OF-5 OF-4 OF-3
Army Equivalent Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Major
Navy Equivalent Captain Commander Lieutenant Commander

Junior Officers

Insignia RAAF O3 rank.png RAAF O2 rank.png RAAF O1 rank.png
Title Flight Lieutenant Flying Officer Pilot Officer
ADF Code O-3 O-2 O-1
NATO Code OF-2 OF-1 OF-1
Army Equivalent Captain Lieutenant Second Lieutenant
Navy Equivalent Lieutenant Sub Lieutenant Acting Sub Lieutenant

Trainee Officers

Insignia 50px
Title Officer Cadet
Abbreviation OFFCDT
Army Equivalent Staff Cadet (RMC rank only) Officer Cadet
Navy Equivalent Midshipman

Other ranks

Warrant Officer

Insignia 50px
Title Warrant Officer
Abbreviation WOFF
ADF Code E-9
Army Equivalent Warrant Officer Class 1
Navy Equivalent Warrant Officer

Non-Commissioned Officers

Insignia 50px 50px 50px
Title Flight Sergeant Sergeant Corporal
Abbreviation FSGT SGT CPL
ADF Code E-8 E-6 E-5
Army Equivalent Warrant Officer Class 2 Sergeant Corporal
Navy Equivalent Chief Petty Officer Petty Officer Leading Seaman


Insignia 50px 50px
Title Leading Aircraftman Aircraftman
Abbreviation LAC AC
ADF Code E-3 E-1/2
Army Equivalent Private Proficient

The relevant regulations are:

Navy Equivalent Able Seaman Seaman

Special insignia

Insignia 50px
Title Warrant Officer of the Air Force
Abbreviation WOFF-AF
ADF Code E-9
Army Equivalent Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army
Rank:Warrant Officer
Navy Equivalent Warrant Officer of the Navy
Rank:Warrant Officer

See also

References and notes

  1. Other joint 3* positions available to RAAF officers are VCDF, CJOPS, and CCDG.
  2. Note that although all three ranks are equivalent, and all three ranks are "1 star" positions, an Air Commodore is considered an "Air Officer", a Commodore is considered an "Admiral", but a Brigadier is not a "General". Until about 1922, many Commonwealth nations used the rank of Brigadier General, with a similar rank insignia, but by the end of the 1920s, Australia had replaced it with the rank of Brigadier, and a rank insignia similar to that of the Senior Officer rank of Colonel. Hence, in the Australian army, a Brigadier is a Senior Officer, not a General.

External links