Ranks of the Royal Australian Air Force

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The rank structure of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has been inherited from the Royal Air Force (RAF). 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. Pilot Officer is written as PLTOFF, not Plt Off).

The rank insignia is very similar to that of the RAF for Corporal and above and for all officers. However the RAAF does not have the ranks of Senior Aircraftman, Junior Technician, Chief Technician or Master Aircrew. In 2022 the RAF renamed their lower ranks of Aircraftman (AC) to Air Recruit (AR) and Leading Aircraftman (LAC) to the ranks of Air Specialist '(Class 2 and 1)' and '(Class 1) Technician' to be more inclusive as they did not have the Aircraftwoman title for female service members. Both officers and airmen wear rank insignia on the chest when wearing General Purpose Uniform or Disruptive Pattern Combat Uniform. Rank insignia is worn on the shoulder in all other orders of dress with the exception of the Service Dress tunic where it is worn on the cuff for officers and lower sleeve for Warrant Officers and the upper sleeve for airmen in their tunic and the sleeve of all enlisted Physical Training Instructors (PTIs) working uniform. The word 'Australia' appears immediately below all rank insignia worn on the shoulder or chest.

The most senior active rank of the RAAF, Air Marshal – a three-star rank, is held by the Chief of Air Force.[a] On the occasions that the Chief of the Defence Force is an officer of the RAAF, the rank of Air Chief Marshal is awarded. The rank of Marshal of the Royal Australian Air Force has never been held as an active rank, however it is held as an honorary rank; previously by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh until his death in 2021,[1] and currently by Charles III, King of Australia as the Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Defence Force.[citation needed]


Air Officers[edit]

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[b]
Navy Equivalent Admiral of the Fleet Admiral Vice Admiral Rear Admiral Commodore

Senior Officers[edit]

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[edit]

Title Flight Lieutenant Flying Officer Pilot Officer Officer Cadet
ADF Code O-3 O-2 O-1
NATO Code OF-2 OF-1 OF-1
Army Equivalent Captain Lieutenant Second Lieutenant Staff Cadet (RMC)
Officer Cadet (ADFA)
Navy Equivalent Lieutenant Sub Lieutenant Acting Sub Lieutenant Midshipman

Other ranks[edit]

Warrant Officer[edit]

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

Non-Commissioned Officers[edit]

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


Insignia Leading Aircraftman Aircraftman
Title Leading Aircraftman/Leading Aircraftwoman Aircraftman/Aircraftwoman
Abbreviation LAC/LACW AC/ACW
ADF Code E-3 E-1/2
NATO Code OR-3 OR-1/2
Army Equivalent Private Proficient[2] Private
Navy Equivalent Able Seaman Seaman

Special insignia[edit]

Insignia Warrant Officer of the Air Force
Title Warrant Officer of the Air Force
Abbreviation WOFF-AF
ADF Code E-10
NATO Code OR-9
Army Equivalent Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army
Rank:Warrant Officer
Navy Equivalent Warrant Officer of the Navy
Rank:Warrant Officer

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]


  1. ^ Other joint 3-star 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.


  1. ^ Allison, Ronald; Riddell, Sarah (1991). The Royal encyclopedia. Macmillan Press. p. 30.
  2. ^ "Equivalent ranks & classifications : Part 4 : Department of Defence". www.defence.gov.au. Retrieved 18 November 2020.

External links[edit]