Air Vice-Marshal

Air Vice-Marshal

Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) is an air officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force. [cite web |url= |title=Ranks and Badges of the Royal Air Force |accessdate= 2007-11-26 |year=2007 |publisher=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".

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 Chief Commandant.


Air Vice-Marshal is equivalent to a 2 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.

The rank of Air Vice-Marshal is immediately senior to the rank Air Commodore and immediately subordinate to the rank of Air Marshal.


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.

Insignia, command flag and star plate

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 the both the lower sleeves of the tunic or on the shoulders of the flying suit or the casual 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 equivalent to a two star rank) on an air force blue background.

Other air forces

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), Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). 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 "Rear Marshal") which is usually translated as Air Vice-Marshal in English.

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".

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

  • Air Vice-Marshal — Insigne de manche d un Air Vice Marshal Air Vice Marshal (AVM) ou Vice maréchal de l air est un grade de la Royal Air Force (RAF). Il existe également dans d autres forces aériennes, son rang est supérieur à Air Commodore et immédiatement… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • air vice-marshal — noun : an officer of the British Royal Air Force equivalent in rank to a major general in the army * * * /vuys mahr sheuhl, vuys /, Brit. an air force officer of a rank comparable to an army major general. [1915 20] * * * air vice marshal noun A… …   Useful english dictionary

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

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

  • air vice-marshal — noun a high rank of RAF officer, above air commodore and below air marshal …   English new terms dictionary

  • air vice-marshal — /ˌɛə vaɪs ˈmaʃəl/ (say .air vuys mahshuhl) noun 1. an officer in the Royal Australian Air Force or any of various other air forces, equivalent in rank to a major general in the army or rear admiral in the navy. 2. the rank …  

  • air vice-marshal — noun Date: 1919 a commissioned officer in the British air force who ranks with a major general in the army …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • air vice-marshal — /vuys mahr sheuhl, vuys /, Brit. an air force officer of a rank comparable to an army major general. [1915 20] * * * …   Universalium

  • air vice-marshal — noun (C) a high rank in the British Air Force, or someone who has this rank …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

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