This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Ranks in the French Air and Space Force" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (June 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Rank insignia in the French Air and Space Force are worn on the sleeve or on shoulder marks of uniforms


Although they all wear the same insignia and titles, officers are divided into:

Généraux - general officers

Rank insignia Name Description
Shoulder Sleeve French English translation
French Air Force-général d
France-Airforce-OF-9 Sleeve.svg
Général d'armée aérienne Army air general In command of an air force.
French Air Force-général de corps aérien.svg
France-Airforce-OF-8 Sleeve.svg
Général de corps aérien Air corps general In command of an air force corps.
French Air Force-général de division aérienne.svg
France-Airforce-OF-7 Sleeve.svg
Général de division aérienne Divisional air general In command of a division.
French Air Force-général de brigade aérienne.svg
France-Airforce-OF-6 Sleeve.svg
Général de brigade aérienne Air brigade general In command of a brigade, or of a région in the Gendarmerie.

Officiers supérieurs - senior officers

Rank insignia Name Notes
Shoulder Sleeve French English translation
French Air Force-colonel.svg
France-Airforce-OF-5 Sleeve.svg
Colonel Colonel
French Air Force-lieutenant-colonel.svg
France-Airforce-OF-4 Sleeve.svg
Lieutenant-colonel Lieutenant colonel
French Air Force-commandant.svg
France-Airforce-OF-3 Sleeve.svg
Commandant Commandant Is equivalent to a major in most English-speaking countries.

Officiers subalternes - junior officers

Rank insignia Name Notes
Shoulder Camouflage French English translation
French Air Force-capitaine.svg
France-Airforce-OF-2 Sleeve.svg
Capitaine Captain
French Air Force-lieutenant.svg
France-Airforce-OF-1b Sleeve.svg
Lieutenant Lieutenant
French Air Force-sous-lieutenant.svg
France-Airforce-OF-1a Sleeve.svg
Sous-lieutenant Sub-lieutenant
French Air Force-aspirant.svg
Aspirant Aspirant An Officer Designate rank. Technically it is not a commissioned rank but it is still treated in all respects as one. Aspirants are either officers in training in military academies or voluntaries, serving as temporary officers. The aspirant must have been previously élève officier (Officer Cadet). They can afterwards be commissioned as a sous-lieutenant.
French Air Force-aspirant non-élève.svg
Élève officier Officer cadet A rank held during the first years at the officer academies.

Sous-officiers - sub-officers, i.e. non-commissioned officers

Rank insignia Name Notes
Shoulder French English translation
French Air Force-major.svg
Major Major The senior sub-officer rank, since 1 January 2009 this grade is attached to the sous-officiers. Prior to this date it was an independent corps between the sous-officiers and the officiers. There are relatively few majors in the army, about one per regiment or brigade. As they could hold equivalent administrative tasks as officiers they are more common in the Armée de l'Air.
Note the difference with many army rank systems of other countries where the term major is used for a rank above that of captain. For example, the rank of "major" in the US Army or British army is equivalent to the rank of "commandant" in the French army.
French Air Force-adjudant-chef.svg
Adjudant-chef Chief Adjutant Chief Warrant Officer; often same responsibilities as the lieutenant.
French Air Force-adjudant.svg
Adjudant Adjutant Warrant Officer; often same responsibilities as an adjudant-chef.
French Air Force-sergeant-chef.svg
Sergent-Chef Chief sergeant Addressed as "chef". Typically a platoon second-in-command (equivalent to a Commonwealth sergeant or a US sergeant first class).
French Air Force-sergeant.svg
Sergent Sergeant Typically in command of a "group" (i.e. squad; equivalent to a commonwealth corporal or US staff sergeant)
French Air Force-aspirant EOPN.svg
Élève sous-officier NCO student NCO candidates at the EOPN.

Etymologically the adjudant is the adjoint ("joint (assistant)") of an officer, and the sergeant "serves" (Latin: serviens = English: servant).

Aspirants are cadet officers still in training. Sous-lieutenants are junior officers and are often aided by adjudants or adjudants-chefs, who are experienced NCOs/warrant officers.

Full lieutenants are experienced junior officers, served by sergeants when commanding their unit.

A four chevron sergent-chef-major rank existed until 1947. It was a ceremonial rank usually given to the most senior or experienced NCO in a unit, similar to a colour sergeant in the British Army. It was discontinued in the post-war army due to its redundancy.

Militaires du rang - Troop ranks

Rank insignia Name Notes
Shoulder French English translation
French Air Force-caporal-chef.svg
Caporal-chef Chief corporal Often same responsibilities as a sergent.
French Air Force-caporal.svg
Caporal Corporal In command of an équipe - literally a team (fireteam). Presently this size unit is a trinôme in the army.
French Air Force-aviateur de première classe.svg
Aviateur de première classe Aviator first class
French Air Force-aviateur.svg
Aviateur de deuxième classe Aviator second class

There are also distinctions to distinguish volunteers and conscripts, and bars for experience (one for five years, up to four can be obtained).

Military chaplains

Chief Military Chaplain
Aum chef cat prot.png
Aum chef isr.png
Aum chef mus.png
Deputy Chief Military Chaplain
Air aumadj cath prot.png
Air aumadj isr.png
Regional military chaplain
Ter aumreg cath prot.gif
Ter aumreg isr.gif
Ter aumreg mus.gif
Military chaplain
Air aum cath prot.png
Air aum isr.png

See also