Rank Structure in The Indian Air Force | Indian Defence Avionics
Rank Structure in The Indian Air Force | Indian Defence Avionics

Rank Structure in The Indian Air Force | Indian Defence Avionics

If we talk about the rank structure in the Indian Air Force then definitely, one would die protecting their rank’s pride. Being an officer in IAF, the rank is the closest identity anyone could know for. Also, the rank structure of the Indian Air Force has taken from the Royal Air Force. The Marshal of the Indian Air Force is the highest rank that grasped in the Air Force. The President of India appointed the best and deserving officer for this post. The officer who has given his exceptional service during wartime is only eligible for this post. Apart from the high ranks, today we will go in-depth research for each and every rank in the world of the Indian Air Force.

Officer Rank Structure in IAF

Officer Rank Structure | Indian Air Force

Additionally, The defence forces consist of the Indian Army, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force. The Indian air force is one of the strongest arms of the defence force. The table below displays the Indian Air Force officer rank insignia. Even if India is not recognised in NATO, NATO ranking codes have been developed about the military ranks of other nations. The highest ranks in the Air Force are as follows:

OF-10Marshal of the Indian Air Force
OF-9Air Chief Marshal ACM (Chief of the Air Staff)
OF-8Air Marshal (AM)
OF-7Air Vice-Marshal (AVM)
OF-6Air Commodore (Air Cmde)
OF-5Group Captain (Gp Capt)
OF-4Wing Commander (Wg Cdr)
OF-3Squadron Leader (Sqn Ldr)
OF-2Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt)
OF-1Flying Officer (Fg Off)
OF(D) & Student OfficerFlight Cadet
Officer ranks in the Indian Air Force

Flight Cadet

A flight cadet is an occupational Military or Civil Designation held by anyone who trains to carry out aircraft duties. The apprentice must not become a pilot, since flight cadets should also learn to be a bombing engineer, navigator or flight engineer.

Flying Officer (Fg Off)

The IAF Flying Officer is the junior rank of the IAF and the air forces of many countries that have ancient British presence. Flighting Officer (Fg Off in the IAF) is also often used as the equivalent English translation in countries with a non-English air force system. In these circumstances, a flying officer generally ranks above a pilot and directly below a captain. It is equivalent to a lieutenant in the Indian army and has a NATO-level OF-1 code. But the rank structure of the Indian Navy Sub-Lieutenant is comparable to its closest relative.

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Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt)

Flight Lieutenant is a junior rank commanded by the Indian Air Force (IAF), in particular in the Commonwealth. It’s got a NATO OF-2 rank code. In the Indian Air Force (IAF), a lieutenant is abbreviated as Flt Lt and has been abbreviated in many services as F/L. Therefore, a flight lieutenant ran above a flying officer and below a commander of the squadron and is used in some non-English countries as an English version of the same rank. A lieutenant of the IAF flight is equal to the Indian Navy lieutenant and the Indian Army captain.

Squadron Leader (Sqn Ldr)

The squadron leader (IAF Sqn Ldr) is a member of the Indian Air Force and air forces of several ancient British nations. In countries with a non-English aviation rating hierarchy, it is also often used as English language translation for the equivalent rank. The squadron leader of the Indian air force ranks above the lieutenant in flight and right under the wing commander. He is the youngest in the ranks of the high officer. It is equal to a lieutenant-commander in the Indian Navy or a Major in the Indian military, having a NATO ranking code of OF-3.

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Wing Commander (Wg Cdr)

The Wing Commander (Wg Cdr in the IAF) has been a senior member of the Indian Air Force and air forces in many historical British countries. It ranks directly above the chief of the team and immediately below the captain of the party. It is equated to the commander of the Indian Navy and the Lieutenant Colonel of the Indian Army, with a NATO OF-4 classification system. Therefore, in current use, it is more likely that a wing commander would control an IAF station’s administrative division. Normally a flight squadron is controlled by a wing captain but also controlled by a small unit Squadron Leader.

Group Captain (Gp Capt)

In many air forces, the Group captain is a senior commissioned rank. The Group captain has a NATO OF-5 rank code, which means he is directly below the air commodore above the wing commander. Also, it is equal to the Indian Navy’s commander and the Indian Army’s colonel. Gp Capt. in the IAF is generally abbreviated. Though it was, therefore, founded on the British Royal Air Force (RAF), the group captain is one of many that have been inspired by British military culture by airforces of several countries and the Commonwealth. The English translation of a similar rank structure is often used in countries with a non-English structure with a rank unique to the air force.

Air Commodore (Air Cmde)

The Air Commodore (Air Cdre abbreviated as the IAF) is a one-star rank very senior flagship officer and is now used by the Indian Air Force in the early stages of the air officials’ ranks. The name of the rank is the whole sentence and never simplified to commodore, a rank in different naval forces.

Air commodore is also a one-star ranked general, first of all, a very senior flag officer. It is the senior rank to Group Captain and is subordinated directly to the air vice-marshal. Hence, it is equal to a commodore in the Indian Navy or Brigadier in the Indian army and it has a NATO rating code OF-6. However, it was still a substantial rank, contrary to these two ranks.

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Air Vice-Marshal (AVM)

Air Marshal Air Vice is a two-star Indian Air Force air officer. It is the Indian Air Force’s third-highest active ranking. The air vice-marshal is above the air commodore one-star rating and behind the air marshal’s three-star rank. The rank of the Indian army is equal to Lieutenant General and rear admiral of the Indian Navy. Two blue sky bands are on a blue sky band on a navy blue broadband. A gorget wears blue patches with two White Stars, an Air Vice-Marshal. Furthermore, the blue-grey terry wool tunic has a wide band with one tighter band and 2 sleeveless strips.

Air Marshal (AM)

Air Marshal is an Indian Air Force three-star air general. It is the Indian Air Force’s second-highest active rating. The Air Marshal lies above the air vice-marshal two-star rank, just below the air chief marshal four-star rank, occupied by the Air Staff Chief. The appointment as chief of the air staff was retained between 1947 and 1966 by an air marshal as Technical Head of the Indian Air Force. In 1966, the rank of the CAS was elevated to air marshal. ACM Arjan Singh (later promoted to the five Star rank of Marshall of the Indian Air Force), who was promoted to the rank as the CAS, was the first IAF officer to hold the rank.

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Air Chief Marshal ACM

Air Chief Marshal is an Indian Air Force four-star air officer ranked. He is Indian Air Force’s top active rating. The Air Chief Marshal ranks above the Air Marshal three-star rank and below the airforce five-star marshall rank, which is largely a time of war or ceremonial rank. The Chief of the IAF’s Technical Head of the Air Staff holds this rank structure. The Chief of Defense Staff may also be appointed if the holder is a serving IAF official. Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria is the new Chief Air Force Chief and the only Air Chief Marshal in the Indian Armed Forces. The Indian Army’s equivalent rank is general and admiral in the Indian Navy.

Marshal of Indian Air Force

Air Force Marshal is a five-star officer and the Indian Air Force’s highest-ranking. The Air Force Marshal has rated above Air Chief Marshal automatically. It was only awarded once and is a ceremonial or wartime rank. The only officer in this rank was the Marshall Arjan Singh, DFC’s Air Force. The Air Force Marshall is similar to the Indian Army Field Marshall and the Admiral of the Indian Navy Fleet. And there were never two Field Marshals – Sam Manekshaw and K M Cariappa – who ranked the admiral of the Fleet.

Non-Commissioned Rank Structure in IAF

Non-Commissioned Rank Structure | Indian Air Force

On the contrary of all this, there are several ranks other than those major ranks. That officer is also promoted to Officer ranks in cases of exceptional service. They are called Honorary ranks. Therefore, the non-commissioned ranks are as follows:

Equivalent NATO codeRanks
OR-9Master Warrant Officer
OR-8Warrant Officer
OR-7Junior Warrant Officer
OR-2Leading Aircraftsman
Non-Commissioned Ranks in the Indian Air Force


The Indian Air Force (IAF) and the air forces of many other Commonwealth countries are the lowest-ranked aircraftmen (AC). The IAF slang often refers to aircraftmen as “erks.” Aircraftman has a NATO rank code for OR-1, below the chief. It is, hence, now just a training rank and this rank does not contain any productive airmen. There is no rank insignia wearing by aircraftmen.

Leading Aircraftman

A junior ranking in certain air forces is the leading aircraftman (LAC). It, therefore, sits between a flight attendant and senior flying personnel and has a NATO OR-2 rank code. The rank plate is a two-bladed horizontal propeller.


Corporal is a military rank that many armies or uniformed organisations use in some way. Inside NATO, the corresponding rank of military caporal of each member nation is also merged in the rank code OR-3 or OR-4 of NATO standard scale. However, variations also exist in the employing of corporals by either country (or service in each nation). Some in the military have no corporals, just a junior sergeant instead. In the Indian Air Force, these ranks are still used. It’s a rank granted to an airman senior but junior to a sergeant. A sergeant. A corporal is named as the Indian Air Force Non-Commissioned Officer.

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The word sergeant corresponds to a non-commissioned officer above a corporal’s level and a police officer only below an Indian lieutenant. Therefore, the rank of sergeant in most armies is the squad’s order. ‘Sergeant’ is also often the smallest sergeant, with military institutions preferring a few extra terms to mean higher-ranking people. Hence, the words and meanings of the elderly depend largely on the particular army service. In certain appointment names too, the word “sergeant” is used.

Junior Warrant Officer & Warrant Officer

Junior officers are similar to ranks of the Indian Armed Forces. Also, many in the Indian Air Force currently use the ranks of a junior officer, officer and commander. There were ranks of warrant officers in the British Indian Army but only British staff, particularly in specialist appointments as drivers and sub-drivers. Unfortunately, the appointment and rank remained the same and the current rank structure of the warrant officer was never created, although both appointments were guaranteed. Viceroy’s commissioned officers became Indian counterparts.

Master Warrant Officer

The Highest Officer among Non-Commissioned Officers is the Master of the Warrant Officer for the Indian Air Force. In this class, unlike commissioned officers that have been appointed by a Commission officer, an officer is appointed by warrant. The Junior Commission Officers have the highest ranking structure. Airmen have to wait at least 28 years to become a Master Warrant Officer. They join the salary matrix 8 after the promotion.

I hope all the structure of the Indian air force officer ranks is clear now. Therefore, for any other blog/article related issues and to reach out to us,
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