Indian Air Force Ranks – Highest Rank, Insignia, Badges

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 11th, 2023

The structure of Indian Air Force Ranks is modelled after the Royal Air Force. IAF is one of the strongest Air Forces in the world. It has an intense strength of 170,576 service personnel. This article will discuss the structure of the Indian Air Force ranks along with the highest rank, insignia, and badges in detail.

Indian Air Force Ranks

The structure of the Indian Air Force ranks is based on that of the Royal Air force of the United Kingdom. Indian Air Forces are one of the three wings of Indian Defence Forces besides the Indian Army and Indian Navy.

The Indian Air Force was officially established on October 8, 1932. Its first AC flight came into being on 01 Apr 1933 with six RAF-trained officers and 19 Havai Sepoys (Air Soldiers).

Highest Rank in Indian Air Force

The Marshal of the IAF is the highest in the Indian Air Force ranks. Only Arjan has been promoted to this rank till this date. Following are the details about the Marshal of the Indian Air Force, Arjan Singh.

  • He was born on 15 May 1919 at Lyallapur, educated at Montgomery and later at Government College in Lahore.
  • He joined No. 1 Sqn at Ambala.
  • He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in 1944 for his role in world war 2.
  • Appointed as the Chief of the Air Staff in July 1964 and promoted to the rank of Air Chief Marshal in December 1965.
  • He passed away on 16 Sep 2017.



Indian Air Force Rank Structure for Officers

When you are commissioned into Indian Air Force as an officer, the sky is your limit. You start your service as a Flying Officer and can rise to the rank of Air Marshal. All new officers are commissioned as Flying Officers; the rank of Pilot Officer is no longer in use.

The new warrant Indian Air Force ranks for officers were introduced in 1977, taking the place of the previous grades of warrant officer and flight sergeant. The structure of Indian Air Force ranks for commissioned officers are as follows:

Descending Indian Air Force Ranks

General/Flag officers



Marshal of the Indian Air Force

Marshal of the Air Force is the senior most rank in Indian Air Force. To date, only Arjan Singh has been promoted to this post.


Air Chief Marshal

This rank is referred to as Chief of the Air Staff, and the commander of the IAF.


Air Marshal

This rank is held by senior officer of Indian Air Force.


Air Vice Marshal

Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) is a senior rank and important part of major decisions in Indian Air Force.


Air Commodore

The equivalent rank in the Indian Navy is Commodore & Indian Army is brigadier.


Group Captain

It is commonly abbreviated as Gp Capt.


Wing Commander

This rank is equivalent to Lieutenant Colonel in the Army and commander in the Indian Navy. 


Squadron Leader

Commissioned rank of Indian Air Force


Flight Lieutenant

Flying officer is promoted to this rank. Flying officer reach this rank after 2.5 years of service.


Flying Officer

Young officers after training in Air Force Academy commissioned at this rank.


Indian Air Force Ranks for NCO/JCO

The staff in this category are selected through the Central Airmen Selection Board. The Indian Air Force ranks for NCO/JCO are listed in the table below:

Descending Indian Air Force Ranks

JCO/NCO Ranks in IAF



Master Warrant Officer

It is the highest rank among Junior commissioned officers.


Warrant Officer

Warrant Officer is the second-maximum rank with inside the junior commissioned rank. 


Junior Warrant Officer

A technical expert holds this rank. 



Rank above corporal and below Junior Warrant Officer.



Responsible for commanding a section or squad of soldiers.


Leading aircraftman

Not a rank, but a title given to Non-Commissioned Officers in the Indian Air Force.


Air Craftsman

Lowest rank in Indian Air Force at which cadets starts their service.

BYJU’S Exam Prep NDA Online Course 2023 supports your exam preparation from every aspect. The online course contains unlimited live classes taught by expert teachers, NDA Mock Tests, and revision notes. 

Also, check:


Our Apps Playstore
SSC and Bank
Other Exams
GradeStack Learning Pvt. Ltd.Windsor IT Park, Tower - A, 2nd Floor, Sector 125, Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201303
Home Practice Test Series Premium