Three-star rank

An officer of three-star rank is a senior commander in many of the armed services holding a rank described by the NATO code of OF-8. The term is also used by some armed forces which are not NATO members. Typically, three-star officers hold the rank of vice admiral, lieutenant general, or in the case of those air forces with a separate rank structure, air marshal.

US-O9 insignia
A NATO lieutenant general's rank insignia[a]

Australian three-star ranks

In the Australian Defence Force the following ranks of commissioned officers are awarded three-star ranks:

Official rank insignia for Australian 'three-star' officers do not use stars in the same fashion as the United States. The RAN does incorporate stars into the hardboard rank insignia for flag-rank officers but this is in conjunction with other devices. Unofficial star rank insignia are sometimes worn when serving with or visiting other military organisations in order to facilitate equivalent rank recognition.

The Chiefs of all three services within the Australian Defence Force hold three-star rank as well as three joint positions: Vice Chief of Defence Force (VCDF), Chief of Joint Operations (CJOPS) and Chief Capability Development Group (CCDG).

Bangladesh three-star ranks

Brazil three-star ranks

The three-star rank in Brazil is the second rank in a general career. The officers in this position are normally divisional commanders.

Canadian three-maple-leaf ranks

Three maple leaves appear with St. Edward's crown and crossed sabre and baton. Prince Charles holds the rank of vice-admiral in an honorary capacity. Before unification, the rank of air marshal was the three-star equivalent for the RCAF.


The equivalent modern German three-star ranks (OF-8) of the Bundeswehr are as follows:

Not to be confused with the Generalleutnant and Vizeadmiral (two-star ranks; OF-7) of the Wehrmacht until 1945 or the National People's Army (East Germany) until 1990.

Indian three-star ranks

Indian navy vice admiral
Indian Navy Vice Admiral and car with three-stars.
Pradeep Vasant Naik crop2
Indian Air Force Air Marshal wearing both three-star and air marshal insignia

Indonesian three-star ranks

Letjen pdh ad

Letnan Jendral Army rank insignia

Laksdya pdh al

Laksamana Madya Navy rank insignia

Marsdya pdh au

Marsekal Madya Air Force rank insignia

Laksdya maritim

Laksamana Madya Maritime Security Agency rank insignia


Komisaris Jenderal Police rank insignia

Pakistan three-star ranks

Philippines three-star ranks

United Kingdom three-star ranks

Royal Navy shoulder board (since 2001)

Lt gen john cooper hi

Lieutenant-General John Cooper wearing both three-star insignia and lieutenant general insignia

Air Marshal C N Harper

Air Marshal C N Harper wearing three-star insignia

United States three-star ranks

GeorgeSPatton cropped
Lieutenant General Patton during World War II

A vice admiral typically commands a numbered fleet which is responsible for all naval ships within its area of responsibility. An Army or Marine Corps lieutenant general typically commands a corps-sized unit (20,000 to 45,000 soldiers), while an Air Force lieutenant general commands a large Numbered Air Force consisting of several wings. Additionally, lieutenant generals and vice admirals of all services serve as high-level staff officers at various major command headquarters and the Pentagon, often as the heads of their departments.

Russia and the USSR

In the Russian and Soviet armies, the three-star rank is colonel-general (Russian: генерал-полковник) and full admiral (Russian: адмирал). This is a title that emerged during the early Soviet period. Most Warsaw Pact and Soviet-aligned countries adopted this rank. The rank is often held by commanders of the ground forces, chiefs of military academies and commanders of military districts. Colonel general is considered a stepping stone to the rank of general of the army, itself essential to achieving the high rank of marshal of the Russian Federation. This title also applies to three star officers of the air force, MVD, police and militia, internal troops, FSB/KGB, border guards and some others. In the navy, the three star rank is admiral (Russian: адмирал).

See also


  1. ^ This rank insignia is not worn in all NATO armed forces.


  1. ^ a b c Selections from Regional Press. Institute of Regional Studies. October 2007. p. 75.
  2. ^ Officers' rank insignia Archived 2009-12-14 at the Wayback Machine, British Army Website. Retrieved 2008-10-25.
  3. ^ RAF Glossary Archived 2008-04-13 at the Wayback Machine
Abdul Ali Malik

Lieutenant-General Abdul Ali Malik was a three-star rank army general in the Pakistan Army and an engineering officer in the Corps of Engineers who earned distinction of leading the combat engineering formations to mechanized warfare in Chawinda during the second war with India in 1965, and later commanded the I Corps during the third war with India in 1971.

Air marshal

Air Marshal (Air Mshl or AM) is a three-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, including the Commonwealth, 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 marshal is a three-star rank and has a NATO ranking code of OF-8, equivalent to a vice-admiral in the Royal Navy or a lieutenant-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 three-star rank is lieutenant general.

The rank of air marshal is immediately senior to the rank of air vice-marshal and immediately subordinate to the rank of air chief marshal.

Officers in the rank of air marshal typically hold very senior appointments such as commander-in-chief of an air force or a large air force formation. Officers in the ranks of air chief marshal and air vice-marshal are also referred to generically as air marshals. Occasionally, air force officers of marshal rank are considered to be air marshals.

Air marshal (Australia)

Air marshal (abbreviated as AIRMSHL) is the second highest active rank of the Royal Australian Air Force and was created as a direct equivalent of the British Royal Air Force rank of air marshal, it is also considered a three-star rank. The rank is held by the Chief of Air Force (CAF), and when the Vice Chief of the Defence Force (VCDF), the Chief of Joint Operations (CJOPS) and/or the Chief of the Capability Development executive (CCDE) are Air Force officers.

Air marshal is a higher rank than air vice-marshal and is lower than air chief marshal. It is a direct equivalent of vice admiral in the Royal Australian Navy and lieutenant general in the Australian Army.

The insignia is two light blue bands (each on a slightly wider black band) over a light blue band on a black broad band.

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 marshal was not used by the Australian Armed Forces until 1940 when Richard Williams, a RAAF officer, was promoted.

Chief of Defence Force (New Zealand)

The Chief of Defence Force (CDF) is the appointment held by the professional head of the New Zealand Defence Force. The post has existed under its present name since 1991. From 1963 to 1991 the head of the New Zealand Defence Force was known as the Chief of Defence Staff. All the incumbents have held three-star rank. The current Chief of Defence Force is Air Marshal Kevin Short.

Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force

The Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force is the overall commander and senior general of the Philippine Air Force, the air & air defense arm of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It is normally held by a three-star rank of Lieutenant General. Its direct United States Air Force equivalent is the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force.

Commanding General of the Philippine Army

The Commanding General of the Philippine Army is the overall commander and senior general of the Philippine Army, the ground arm of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It is normally held by a three-star rank of Lieutenant General. Its direct U.S. Army equivalent is the U.S. Army Chief of Staff.

Director general of police

In India, the Director General of Police (DGP) is a three-star rank and the highest ranking police officer in Indian States and Union Territories. All DGPs are Indian Police Service (IPS) officers. The DGP is usually the head of the state police force in every Indian state in which case the officer is called State Police Chief, which is a cabinet selection post. It is equal in rank to the Head of Forest Forces for the Indian Forest Service. There may also be additional officers in the state who hold the rank of DGP. Common appointments for such officers include Director of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau, Director General of Prisons, Director General of fire forces and civil defence, Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Police Housing Society etc. Additionally officers who hold the rank of DGP may have commensurate appointments in central government organisations such as Director, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Director SVPNPA, DG Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) etc. The rank insignia of a Director General of Police or Commissioner of Police (in Delhi) is the national emblem over crossed sword and baton. DGP-ranked officers wear Gorget patches on their collar which have a dark blue background with a leaf-like structure stitched on it, similar to ADGs and IGs.

Divisional general

Divisional General is a rank of general in command of a division. Examples would include the Spanish general de división, the French général de division and the Polish generał dywizji. For convenience such ranks are often translated into English as "major-general", the equivalent rank used by most English-speaking nations. The corresponding NATO code is OF-7, or a "two-star rank".

Some countries of Latin America such as Brazil, Mexico and Chile use divisional general as the equivalent of "lieutenant-general". This corresponding NATO code is OF-8, or a "three-star rank" for these countries. In Japan and Taiwan the rank of lieutenant-general is equivalent to divisional general.

Flag Officer in-Command

The Flag Officer-in-Command of the Philippine Navy is the overall commander and senior admiral of the Philippine Navy, the naval & naval defense component of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It is normally held by a three-star rank of Vice Admiral. Its direct United States Navy equivalent is the Chief of Naval Operations

Hasan Hafeez Ahmed

Vice-Admiral Hasan Hafeez Ahmed (Urdu:حسن حفيظ احمد; b. 1926-8 March 1975), TQA, usually shortened to H.H. Ahmed, was a three-star rank admiral who served as the first Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) of Pakistan Navy from 1972 until his death in 1975. Despite appointed to the four-star appointment, he was retained at the three-star rank and took over the command of the Navy from its Commander Vice-Admiral Muzaffar Hassan who was dismissed from the military service.

Leslie Mungavin

Rear-Admiral Leslie Norman Mungavin SPk, SK, SBt (1923–1995) was a two-star rank admiral in the Pakistan Navy, and a defence diplomat. He is noted for releasing his diplomatic assignment at the High Commission of Pakistan in London to command the combat assignments during the war on the Western front with India in 1971.He also served as vice-chief of naval staff from 1975 until 1977, with a two-star rank despite the position is required an admiral to be promoted in three-star rank, the Vice-Admiral.

Lieutenant-general (United Kingdom)

Please see "lieutenant general" for other countries which use this rankLieutenant general (Lt Gen), formerly more commonly lieutenant-general, is a senior rank in the British Army and the Royal Marines. It is the equivalent of a multinational three-star rank; some British lieutenant generals sometimes wear three-star insignia, in addition to their standard insignia, when on multinational operations.

Lieutenant general is a superior rank to major general, but subordinate to a (full) general. The rank has a NATO rank code of OF-8, equivalent to a vice-admiral in the Royal Navy and an air marshal in the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the air forces of many Commonwealth countries.

The rank insignia for both the Army and the Royal Marines is a crown over a crossed sabre and baton. Since the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the St Edward's Crown, commonly known as the Queen's Crown, has been depicted. Prior to 1953, the Tudor Crown, commonly known as the King's Crown was used.

Lieutenant general (Australia)

Lieutenant general (abbreviated LTGEN and pronounced 'lef-tenant general') is the second-highest active rank of the Australian Army. It was created as a direct equivalent of the British military rank of lieutenant general, and is considered a three-star rank.

The rank of lieutenant general is held by the Chief of Army. The rank is also held when an army officer is the Vice Chief of the Defence Force, the Chief of Joint Operations, or the Chief of Joint Capabilities. The Chief of Capability Development Group, disestablished in 2016, also carried three-star rank.

Lieutenant general is a higher rank than major general, but lower than general. Lieutenant general is the equivalent of vice admiral in the Royal Australian Navy and air marshal in the Royal Australian Air Force. The insignia for a lieutenant general is the Crown of St Edward above a crossed sword and baton.

Principal Staff Officer (Bangladesh)

The Principal Staff Officer, abbreviated as PSO, is the head of the Armed Forces Division in Bangladesh. It is currently held by a three-star rank lieutenant general. The current PSO Lt. General Md Mahfuzur Rahman was appointed in February 2016.

Rizwan Akhtar

Lieutenant-General Rizwan Akhtar (Urdu: رضوان اختر‎) is a former three-star rank Pakistan Army general. He is a former spymaster who served as Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). He took office on 8 November 2014. On 8th Oct 2017, he announced his pre-mature retirement from service

Squadron vice-admiral

Squadron vice-admiral (French: Vice-amiral d'escadre) is a naval rank found in navies of the world which follow the French tradition of naval ranks. The squadron vice-admiral leads a squadron and is typically senior to a vice-admiral and junior to an admiral. In that sense, it is close to Lieutenant admiral as a literal translation of the corresponding designation. 

This translation is not often used in practice, as the rank is usually kept in the original language or rendered as vice-admiral. The main navy to use the rank of squadron vice-admiral is the French Navy (vice-amiral d'escadre), where it is a three-star rank with a NATO code of OF-8, equivalent to corps general or lieutenant general in seniority. Officially, it is not a rank, but a style and position (rang et appelation in French) bestowed upon some vice-admiral (which is the highest actual substantive rank and is a three-star rank with NATO code OF-7 equivalent to rear admiral (upper half) or major general).

In other countries, this corresponds to Ammiraglio di squadra (equivalent to OF-8) such as the Italian Navy.

Vice-admiral (Royal Navy)

Vice-admiral is a flag officer rank of the British Royal Navy and equates to the NATO rank code OF-8. It is immediately superior to the rear admiral rank and is subordinate to the full admiral rank.

Vice admiral

Vice admiral is a senior naval flag officer rank, equivalent to lieutenant general and air marshal. A vice admiral is typically senior to a rear admiral and junior to an admiral. In many navies, vice admiral is a three-star rank with a NATO code of OF-8, although in some navies like the French Navy it is an OF-7 rank, the OF-8 code corresponding to the four-star rank of squadron vice-admiral.


Vizeadmiral, short VAdm in lists VADM, (en: Vice admiral) is a senior naval flag officer rank in the German Navy. It is equivalent to Generalleutnant in the Heer and Luftwaffe or to Admiraloberstabsarzt and/or Generaloberstabsarzt in the Zentraler Sanitätsdienst der Bundeswehr.

In the German Navy Vizeadmiral is, as in many navies, a three-star rank with a NATO code of OF-8. However, in other German speaking naval forces, e.g. Kaiserliche Marine, Kriegsmarine, Volksmarine, and the Austro-Hungarian K.u.K. Kriegsmarine, Vizeadmiral was an OF-7 two-star flag officer rank.

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