Air Commodore

Air Commodore

Air Commodore (Air Cdre in the RAF, AIRCDRE in the RNZAF and RAAF, A/C in the former RCAF) is a rank in the Royal Air Force. [cite web |url= |title=Ranks and Badges of the Royal Air Force |accessdate= 2007-12-01 |year=2007 |publisher=Royal Air Force] It ranks above Group Captain and immediately below Air Vice-Marshal, and also exists in some other Commonwealth air forces, including the Indian Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force, Sri Lankan Air Force, Air Force of Zimbabwe, and Pakistan Air Force.

Air Commodore is a 1 star rank and has a NATO ranking code of OF-6, equivalent to a Commodore in the Royal Navy or a Brigadier in the British Army or the Royal Marines. Unlike these two ranks, however, it has always been a substantive rank.

The equivalent rank in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) (until 1968) and Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service (PMRAFNS) (until 1980) was Air Commandant.


On 1 April 1918, the newly created RAF adopted its officer rank titles from the British Army, with officers at what is now Air Commodore holding the rank of Brigadier-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. Although the Admiralty objected to this simple modification of their rank titles, it was agreed that the RAF might base many of its officer rank titles on Navy officer ranks with differing pre-modifying terms. It was also suggested that Air Officer ranks could 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 "Fourth Ardian" or "Flight Ardian" being used for the equivalent to Brigadier-General and Commodore. However, the rank title based on the Navy rank was preferred and Air Commodore was adopted on 1 August 1919.

RAF Insignia, command flag and star plate

The rank insignia is a light blue band on a broad black band worn on the both the lower sleeves of the tunic or on the shoulders of the flying suit or the casual uniform. On the mess uniform, Air Commodores wear a broad gold ring on both lower sleeves.

The Command Flag of an Air Commodore is rectangular with a cut-away section. It has one narrow red band running through the centre.

The vehicle star plate for an Air Commodore depicts a single white star (Air Commodore is equivalent to a one star rank) on an air force blue background.

Honorary Air Commodores

RAF flying squadrons and stations may appoint Honorary Air Commodores. For example, Prince Charles is RAF Valley's Honorary Air Commodore and Winston Churchill was 615 Squadron's Honorary Air Commodore.

As the title suggests, this is an honorary position bestowed by the Queen and it does not grant the recipient command of a unit or formation. It is designed to strengthen the bond between the military unit and the individual.

Other air forces

The rank of Air Commodore is also used in a number of the air forces in the Commonwealth, including the Bangladesh Air Force, Ghana Air Force, Indian Air Force, Pakistan Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force and Sri Lanka Air Force. 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 Pertama" (literally "First Marshal") which is usually translated as Air Commodore in English.The Royal Canadian Air Force used the rank until the unification of the Canadian Forces in 1968, when Army-type rank titles were adopted. An Air Commodore then became a Brigadier-General (following the U.S. title, rather than the British Brigadier, which had been held by equivalent officers in the former Canadian Army). In official French Canadian usage, the rank title was "commodore de l'air".

The Royal Netherlands Air Force's equivalent rank is Commodore which has essentially the same rank insignia.

See also

*RAF officer ranks
*Ranks of the RAAF
*Air force officer rank insignia
*Comparative military ranks


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • air commodore — n a high rank in the British air force, or someone who has this rank …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Air Commodore — Rangschlaufe des Air Commodore Der Air Commodore (Air Cdre) ist ein Dienstgrad in der Royal Air Force. Er kommt auch in den Luftwaffen anderer Staaten vor, die in ihrem Dienstgradsystem durch das britische System beeinflusst wurden. So gibt es… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • air commodore — noun : an officer in the British Royal Air Force equivalent in rank to a brigadier in the army * * * Brit. an air force officer of a rank comparable to an army brigadier general. [1915 20] * * * air commodore UK US noun [countable] [singular air… …   Useful english dictionary

  • air commodore — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms air commodore : singular air commodore plural air commodores an officer of high rank in the British air force …   English dictionary

  • air-commodore — air commˈodore noun A Royal Air Force officer of equivalent rank to a commodore or brigadier • • • Main Entry: ↑air …   Useful english dictionary

  • air commodore — /ˈɛə ˌkɒmədɔ/ (say air .komuhdaw) noun 1. an officer in the Royal Australian Air Force or any of various other air forces, equivalent in rank to a commodore in the navy or brigadier in the army. 2. the rank …   Australian English dictionary

  • Air Commodore — noun The fourth most senior rank active in the Royal Air Force, ranking above Group Captain and immediately below Air Vice Marshal …   Wiktionary

  • air commodore — noun Date: 1919 a commissioned officer in the British air force who ranks with a brigadier in the army …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • air commodore — Brit. an air force officer of a rank comparable to an army brigadier general. [1915 20] * * * …   Universalium

  • air commodore — British air force officer …   English contemporary dictionary

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