Air vice-marshal (AVM) is a two-star air officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force. The rank is also used by the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence and it is sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure. Air vice-marshals may be addressed generically as "air marshal".
Air vice-marshal is a two-star rank and has a NATO ranking code of OF-7. It is equivalent to a rear-admiral in the Royal Navy or a major-general in the British Army or the Royal Marines. In other NATO forces, such as the United States Armed Forces and the Canadian Armed Forces, the equivalent two-star rank is major general.
The rank of air vice-marshal is immediately senior to the rank air commodore and immediately subordinate to the rank of air marshal. Since before the Second World War it has been common for air officers commanding RAF groups to hold the rank of air vice-marshal. In small air forces such as the Royal New Zealand Air Force and the Ghana Air Force, the head of the air force holds the rank of air vice-marshal.
The equivalent rank in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force, Women's Royal Air Force (until 1968) and Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service (until 1980) was "air chief commandant".
An RAF air vice-marshal's command flag
Shoulder and sleeve insignia from the Royal Air Force.
|Service branch||Air forces|
|Formation||1 August 1919 (RAF)|
|Next higher rank||Air marshal|
|Next lower rank||Air commodore|
On 1 April 1918, the newly created RAF adopted its officer rank titles from the British Army, with officers at what is now air vice-marshal level holding the rank of major-general. In response to the proposal that the RAF should use its own rank titles, it was suggested that the RAF might use the Royal Navy's officer ranks, with the word "air" inserted before the naval rank title. For example, the rank that later became air vice-marshal would have been air rear-admiral. The Admiralty objected to any use of their rank titles, including this modified form, and so an alternative proposal was put forward: air officer ranks would be based on the term "ardian", which was derived from a combination of the Gaelic words for "chief" (ard) and "bird" (eun), with the term "third ardian" or "squadron ardian" being used for the equivalent to rear admiral and major general. However, air vice-marshal was preferred and was adopted on 1 August 1919. The following officers were the first to be appointed to the rank, and their former service ranks are also shown:
|Officer||Rank in RAF||Rank in Army||Rank in Navy|
|Sir Sefton Brancker||Major-general||Major-general||None|
|Sir Godfrey Paine||Major-general||None||Rear admiral|
|Sir Geoffrey Salmond||Major-general||Major-general||None|
|Sir John Salmond||Major-general||Major-general||None|
|Sir Frederick Sykes||Major-general||Major-general||Wing captain|
|Sir Hugh Trenchard||Major-general||Major-general||None|
The rank insignia consists of a narrow light blue band (on a slightly wider black band) over a light blue band on a broad black band. This is worn on both the lower sleeves of the dress uniform or on the shoulders of the flying suit or working uniform.
The command flag of an air vice-marshal has two narrow red bands running through the centre.
The vehicle star plate for an air vice-marshal depicts two white stars (air vice-marshal is a two-star rank) on an air force blue background.
An RAF air vice-marshal's shoulder board
As of August 2014, air vice-marshal was the highest uniformed military rank currently held by a woman in the British Armed Forces when Air Vice-Marshal Elaine West was awarded the position in August 2013.
In 1920, Sir Willoughby Gwatkin, the former Canadian Chief of the General Staff, was granted the rank of air vice-marshal and appointed the inspector-general of the newly established Canadian Air Force. The Australian Air Corps adopted the RAF rank system on 9 November 1920 and this usage was continued by its successor, the Royal Australian Air Force. However, the rank of air vice-marshal was not used by the Australian Armed Forces until 1935 when Richard Williams, the Australian Chief of the Air Staff, was promoted. Margaret Staib of the Royal Australian Air Force served in the rank of air vice-marshal from 2009 to 2012 when she retired from the Australian Defence Force. In the Royal New Zealand Air Force, the rank did not come into use until 1943 when Leonard Isitt was appointed Chief of the Air Staff in succession to a British air commodore who had been on loan service. In India, Subroto Mukerjee was the first Royal Indian Air Force officer to gain the rank of air vice-marshal. He gained an acting promotion to air vice-marshal on 27 September 1948 and a substantive promotion several months later on 1 February 1949.
The rank of air vice-marshal is also used by a number of the air forces in the Commonwealth, including the Bangladesh Air Force, Ghana Air Force, Indian Air Force (IAF), Namibian Air Force, Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) where it has been the rank held by the Chief of the Air Staff (now known as the Chief of Air Force) since 1943. It is also used in the Egyptian Air Force, Hellenic Air Force, Royal Air Force of Oman and the Royal Thai Air Force. In the Indonesian Air Force the equivalent rank is marsekal muda (literally "junior marshal") which is usually translated as air vice-marshal in English. Compare this with the next rank up which is "marsekal madya" (literally "middle marshal") which is usually translated as air marshal in English.
A Royal Thai Air Force air vice-marshal's rank insignia
The Royal Canadian Air Force used the rank until the 1968 unification of the Canadian Forces, when army-type rank titles were adopted. Canadian air vice-marshals then became major-generals. In official French Canadian usage, the rank title was vice-maréchal de l'air. The Royal Malaysian Air Force used the rank until the late 1970s when it was replaced with mejar jeneral (major-general) in similar fashion as Canada with army-type ranks.
...Air Member for Materiel
The Air Member for Materiel is the senior Royal Air Force officer responsible for procurement matters: he is a member of the Air Force Board. He is in charge of all aspects of procurement and organisation for RAF regular, reserve and civilian staffs worldwide.Air Secretary
The Air Secretary is the Royal Air Force appointment of which the incumbent is responsible for policy direction on personnel management for members of the RAF. From 1978 to 1983 the Air Secretary was more often referred to as Air Officer Commanding Royal Air Force Personnel Management Centre. It is a senior RAF appointment, held by an officer holding the rank of air vice-marshal. The Air Secretary's counterpart in the British Army is the Military Secretary. The Royal Navy equivalent is the Naval Secretary.Chief of Air Force (New Zealand)
Chief of Air Force (CAF) is the most senior appointment in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, responsible to the Chief of Defence Force. The post was originally known as the Chief of the Air Staff.Commandant-General of the RAF Regiment
The Commandant-General of the RAF Regiment (CG RAF Regt) is the Royal Air Force commander of the RAF Regiment. The post was established in January 1942 immediately prior to the creation of the RAF Regiment. The first two holders of the post were major-generals in the British Army. From 1948 onward, the Commandant-General has been an RAF officer of air rank. These officers all held the rank of air vice-marshal until 1993 when the post was downgraded to air commodore. The current incumbent is Air Commodore R. J. F. Clifford.Comparative air force officer ranks of the Commonwealth
Rank comparison chart of air forces of Commonwealth of Nations states.Deputy Chief of Air Force (Australia)
Deputy Chief of Air Force (DCAF) is the second most senior appointment in the Royal Australian Air Force, responsible to the Chief of Air Force (CAF). The rank associated with the position is air vice marshal (two-star). DCAF acts as the manager of the Air Force Headquarters (AFHQ), which provides oversight of activities in the raising, training and sustaining of assigned RAAF capabilities. The position provides strategic leadership to the RAAF as a whole, as well as policy guidance in regard to Air Force activities to the rest of the Defence organisation and Government. Before 1997 the position was entitled Deputy Chief of the Air Staff. The current Deputy Chief of Air Force is Air Vice Marshal Stephen Meredith.Frank Bladin
Air Vice Marshal Francis Masson (Frank) Bladin, (26 August 1898 – 2 February 1978) was a senior commander in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Born in rural Victoria, he graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in 1920. Bladin transferred from the Army to the Air Force in 1923, and learned to fly at RAAF Point Cook, Victoria. He held training appointments before taking command of No. 1 Squadron in 1934. Quiet but authoritative, he was nicknamed "Dad" in tribute to the concern he displayed for the welfare of his personnel.Ranked wing commander at the outbreak of World War II, by September 1941 Bladin had been raised to temporary air commodore. He became Air Officer Commanding North-Western Area in March 1942, following the first Japanese air raids on Darwin, Northern Territory. Personally leading sorties against enemy territory, he earned the United States Silver Star for gallantry. In July 1943, Bladin was posted to No. 38 Group RAF in Europe, where he was mentioned in despatches. He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire the same year.
Promoted acting air vice marshal in 1946, Bladin was among the coterie of senior officers who helped reshape the post-war RAAF. His roles in the late 1940s and early 1950s included Chief of Staff of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan, Air Officer Commanding Eastern Area (later RAAF Air Command), and Air Member for Personnel. Appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1950, he retired to his country property in 1953. He was active for many years in veterans' affairs before his death in 1978 at the age of seventy-nine.Frank McGill
Air Vice-Marshal Francis Scholes ‘Frank’ McGill, CB (June 20, 1894 – June 28, 1980) was a prominent member of Canada's military, having been an air vice marshal in the RCAF, and a considerable sports figure, amongst other things a star football player in the Canadian Football League for the Montreal AAA Winged Wheelers.List of serving air marshals of the Bangladesh Air Force
This is the list of serving Air Marshals of the Bangladesh Air Force. At present, the air force has one air chief marshal, 10 air vice marshals with no air marshal.
Air Chief Marshal Air Chief Marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat, BBP, OSP, ndu, psc, GD(P), Chief of Air StaffAir Vice Marshal Air Vice Marshal M Abul Bashar, OSP, ndc, psc, GD(P), Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Operations and Training)
Air Vice Marshal M Abul Bashar, OSP, ndc, psc, GD(P), Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Administration)
Air Vice Marshal M Qamrul Ehsan, ndc, psc, Engineering, Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Maintenance)
Air Vice Marshal Ehsanul Gani Chowdhury, OSP, GUP, ndu, psc, GD(P), Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Planning)
Air Vice Marshal Md Shafiqul Alam, BSP, ndc, afwc, psc, GD(P), Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Khademul Bashar, Tejgaon (Dhaka)
Air Vice Marshal M Sayed Hossain, BSP, GUP, ndc, psc, GD(P), Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Bangabandhu, Kurmitola (Dhaka)
Vacant Post - Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Zahurul Haq, Patenga (Chattogram)
Air Vice Marshal AHM Fazlul haque, BSP, ndu, afwc, psc, GD(P), Air Officer Commanding, BAF Base Matiur Rahman (Jashore)
Air Vice Marshal Muhammad Mafidur Rahman, BUP, ndu, afwc, psc, GD(P), Chairman, Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB)
Air Vice Marshal Shaikh Abdul Hannan, BUP, nswc, fawc, psc, GD(P) Senior Directing Staff (Air), National Defence CollegeList of serving air marshals of the Pakistan Air Force
This is the list of serving Air Marshals of the Pakistan Air Force. At present, the air force has one air chief marshal, 9 air marshals and 39 air vice marshals. The list is arranged according to the air marshal's respective seniority.No. 11 Group RAF
No. 11 Group is a group in the Royal Air Force for various periods in the 20th century, disbanding in 1996 but reforming in 2018. Its most famous service was during 1940, when it defended London and the south-east from attacks by the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain. It was reformed in late 2018 as a "multi-domain operations group" to ensure the service thinks and acts in a networked way.No. 12 Group RAF
No. 12 Group of the Royal Air Force was a command organization that existed over two separate periods, namely the end of World War I when it had a training function and from just prior to World War II until the early 1960s when it was tasked with an air defence role.No. 1 Group RAF
No. 1 Group of the Royal Air Force is one of the two operations groups in Air Command, the other being the No. 2 Group. Today, the group is referred to as the Air Combat Group, as it controls the RAF's combat fast-jet aircraft and has airfields in the UK, as well as RAF Support Unit Goose Bay in Canada. The group headquarters is located alongside Headquarters Air Command at RAF High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. The current Air officer commanding No 1 Group is Air Vice-Marshal Harvey Smyth.RAAF Air Command
Air Command is the operational arm of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). It is headed by the Air Commander Australia, whose role is to manage and command the RAAF's Force Element Groups (FEGs), which contain the operational capability of the Air Force. Headquarters Air Command is located at RAAF Base Glenbrook.RAF Legal Branch
The Royal Air Force Legal Branch (RAFLB) or Directorate Legal Services (DLS) - as it is better known - is the uniformed legal service provider for the Royal Air Force. It consists of solicitors and barristers qualified in a Commonwealth jurisdiction. DLS is headquartered at Air Command RAF High Wycombe. The Directorate is currently staffed by a mixture of members of:
The Law Society of England and Wales;
The Law Society of Scotland;
The Bar Council of England and Wales; and
The Society of Writers to Her Majesty's Signet.RAF Medical Services
The Royal Air Force Medical Services is the branch of the Royal Air Force that provides health care at home and on deployed operations to RAF service personnel. Medical officers are the doctors of the RAF and have specialist expertise in aviation medicine to support aircrew and their protective equipment. Medical officers also carry out Aeromedical evacuations, providing vital assistance on search-and-rescue missions or emergency relief flights worldwide.RAF Staff College, Bracknell
The RAF Staff College at Bracknell was a Royal Air Force staff college active for most of the second half of the 20th century. Its role was the training of staff officers in the administrative, staff and policy aspects of air force matters. Its motto was Visu et Nisu which is Latin for by vision and effort. The equivalent in the British Army was the Staff College, Camberley and the equivalent in the Royal Navy was the Royal Naval Staff College, Greenwich.Royal Air Force College Cranwell
The Royal Air Force College (RAFC) is the Royal Air Force training and education academy which provides initial training to all RAF personnel who are preparing to be commissioned officers. The College also provides initial training to aircrew cadets and is responsible for all RAF recruiting along with officer and aircrew selection. Originally established as a naval aviation training centre during World War I, the College was established as the world's first air academy in 1919. During World War II, the College was closed and its facilities were used as a flying training school. Reopening after the War, the College absorbed the Royal Air Force Technical College in 1966.
The Royal Air Force College is based at RAF Cranwell near Sleaford in Lincolnshire, and is sometimes titled as the Royal Air Force College Cranwell.Two-star rank
An officer of two-star rank is a senior commander in many of the armed services holding a rank described by the NATO code of OF-7. The term is also used by some armed forces which are not NATO members. Typically, two-star officers hold the rank of rear admiral, counter admiral, major general, or in the case of those air forces with a separate rank structure, air vice-marshal.
|Field marshal or
General of the army
the air force
|Admiral||General||Air chief marshal|
|Vice admiral||Lieutenant general||Air marshal|
|Rear admiral||Major general||Air vice-marshal|
|Commander||Lieutenant colonel||Wing commander|
junior grade or
|Second lieutenant||Pilot officer|
|Officer cadet||Officer cadet||Flight cadet|
|Warrant officer or
chief petty officer
|Warrant officer or
|Petty officer||Sergeant||Flight sergeant|
|Leading seaman||Corporal or
|NATO rank code||Student officer||OF-1||OF-2||OF-3||OF-4||OF-5||OF-6
|Royal Navy||O Cdt||Mid||SLt||Lt||Lt Cdr||Cdr||Capt||Cdre||RAdm||VAdm||Adm||Adm of the Fleet|
|Royal Marines||O Cdt||2Lt||Lt||Capt||Maj||Lt Col||Col||Brig||Maj-Gen||Lt-Gen||Gen||Capt-Gen|
|Army||O Cdt||2Lt||Lt||Capt||Maj||Lt Col||Col||Brig||Maj-Gen||Lt-Gen||Gen||Fd Mshl|
|Royal Air Force||Off Cdt / SO||APO / Plt Off||Fg Off||Flt Lt||Sqn Ldr||Wg Cdr||Gp Capt||Air Cdre||AVM||Air Mshl||Air Chf Mshl||Mshl of the RAF|
Military ranks and insignia by country
|Commonwealth of Nations|
Star officer grades
|By star ranks|