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). Also, the RAAF does not have the ranks of Senior Aircraftman, Junior Technician, Chief Technician or Master Aircrew.

The rank insignia is very similar to that of the RAF, with the exception of Leading Aircraftman (LAC)/Leading Aircraftwoman (LACW) which is one chevron (two bladed propeller in RAF). 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 lower sleeve for officers and Warrant Officers and the upper sleeve for airmen) and the working uniform of Physical Training Instructors where it is worn on the sleeve. 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 office of the RAAF, the rank of Air Chief Marshal in awarded to the officer. The rank of Marshal of the Royal Australian Air Force has never been held as an active rank and it is currently held as an honorary rank by HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.[1]


Air Officers[edit]

Insignia Australia RAAF OF-10.svg Australia RAAF OF-9.svg Australia RAAF OF-8.svg Australia RAAF OF-7.svg Australia RAAF OF-6.svg
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]

Insignia Australia RAAF OF-5.svg Australia RAAF OF-4.svg Australia RAAF OF-3.svg
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]

Insignia Australia RAAF OF-2.svg Australia RAAF OF-1b.svg Australia RAAF OF-1a.svg Australia RAAF OF (D).svg
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 Australia RAAF OR-9a.svg
Title Warrant Officer
Abbreviation WOFF
ADF Code E-9
Army Equivalent Warrant Officer Class 1
Navy Equivalent Warrant Officer

Non-Commissioned Officers[edit]

Insignia Australia RAAF OR-8.svg Australia RAAF OR-6.svg Australia RAAF OR-5.svg
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 Australia RAAF OR-3.svg Australia RAAF OR-2.svg
Title Leading Aircraftman/Leading Aircraftwoman Aircraftman/Aircraftwoman
Abbreviation LAC/LACW AC/ACW
ADF Code E-3 E-1/2
Army Equivalent Private Proficient[2] Private
Navy Equivalent Able Seaman Seaman

Special insignia[edit]

Insignia Australia RAAF OR-9b.svg
Title Warrant Officer of the Air Force
Abbreviation WOFF-AF
ADF Code E-10
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. ^ The relevant regulations for equivalent ranks for "Private Proficient" are:

External links[edit]