The Royal Air Force is the oldest independent air force organization in the world. It is formed on 1st April, 1918. The headquarters of the Royal Air Force is in High Wycombe, which is responsible for carrying out all the operations and managing all the commands.
The head of the Royal Air Force hierarchy is the chief of the air staff, known as the Air Chief Marshal. The Air Chief Marshal leads the management body of the Royal air force, which is known as the Air Force Board. The Air Force Board consists of the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Command and various other high ranking officers.
There are various subdivisions of the operational commands, which are known as groups. A particular group is associated with a particular territorial area and a certain set of operations. There are mainly three groups in the Royal air force. These are:
- 1 group: This group is responsible for Royal air force’s fast combat jet aircraft.
- 2 group: This group is responsible for the strategic and tactical air transport and maintaining the Royal air force regiment.
- 22 group: This group is responsible for the recruitment, training and management activities of the Royal air force.
Now, coming to the categories of the commissioned officers of the Royal air force; there basically exist three different categories as below, in the descending order of Royal air force hierarchy.
Air Rank Category
The air rank category comprises of officers namely Marshal, Air Chief Marshal, Air Marshal, Air Vice-Marshal and Air Commodore.
Marshal: The Marshal is the highest rank in the Royal air force. This is a five star rank, equivalent to the Admiral of the Fleet in the Royal Navy.
Air Chief Marshal: This is a four star rank and is equivalent to the Admiral in the other army organizations. The officers manage senior appointments.
Air Marshal: This is a three star officer rank, equivalent to a Vice Admiral in the Royal navy.
Air Vice-Marshal: This is a two star officer rank and is equivalent to the Rear Admiral in the Royal navy.
Air Commodore: This is a one star officer rank and is the most junior of the Air Rank category of the Royal Air Force hierarchy.
Senior Officers Category
The senior officers category comprises of ranks namely Group Captain, Wing Commander and Squadron Leader.
Group Captain: This is the senior commissioned rank in the Royal air force and immediately below the Air Commodore.
Wing Commander: This rank is equivalent to the Commander in the Royal Navy.
Squadron Leader: This rank is equivalent to the Lieutenant Commander in the Royal navy.
Junior Officers Category
The junior officers category comprises of ranks namely Flight Lieutenant, Flying Officer and Pilot Officer.
Flight Lieutenant: This is a junior commissioned rank of the Royal Air Force hierarchy. It is equivalent to the Lieutenant of the Royal Navy.
Flying Officer: This rank is equivalent to the Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal navy.
Pilot Officer: This is the lowest commissioned rank of the Royal air force.