Structure

The RAF's organisational structure is designed to bring out your best. Regulars and Reserves work and train side-by-side, in teams and according to their rank.

Life as a
Regular

RAF Regulars are our full-time personnel that form the foundation of the RAF, playing a critical role in defence and peacekeeping operations. Regulars serve all over the UK and wherever in the world they’re called upon. They live an exciting life while developing vital skills that will serve them throughout their careers.

Life as a
Reserve

RAF Reserves train and work alongside Regulars in their spare-time. Reserves train to the same high standards as Regular personnel and perform a crucial role within the organisation. Working around their day job, using their weekends, they gain transferable skills and a rewarding lifestyle that offers the best of both worlds.

Rank

Like any global organisation, the RAF relies upon a highly-effective management structure. Everyone has a role and a rank. Their rank defines the level of responsibility within the role.

As RAF personnel you’ll come under one of three different rank structures depending on your role. These are Commissioned Officer, Airman or Airwoman or Non-Commissioned Aircrew.

Royal Air Force - Regular & Reserve

Officers

Officers are the RAF’s equivalent of a management role.

After completing initial officer training, officers will be awarded ‘The Queen’s Commission’. This empowers them to give orders and lead others on behalf of the Crown.

The rank structure for officers, in descending order, is:

  • Air Chief Marshal
  • Air Marshal
  • Air Vice Marshal
  • Air Commodore
  • Group Captain
  • Wing Commander
  • Squadron Leader
  • Flight Lieutenant
  • Flying Officer
  • Pilot Officer
Royal Air Force - Regular & Reserve

Airmen & Airwomen

Airmen and Airwomen make up the majority of RAF personnel, bringing their specialist skills to provide vital ground support roles.

These personnel do not have a commission. As they gain experience and qualifications they can apply for a commission later in their career.

The rank structure for airmen and airwomen, in descending order, is:

  • Warrant Officer
  • Flight Sergeant
  • Chief Technician (Technical Trades Only)
  • Sergeant
  • Corporal
  • Lance Corporal (Regt Gunner Only)
  • SAC Technician (Technical Trades Only)
  • Senior Aircraftman/Aircraftwoman (SAC)
  • Leading Aircraftman/Aircraftwoman
  • Aircraftman/Aircraftwoman
Royal Air Force - Regular & Reserve

Non-Commissioned Aircrew

Non-Commissioned Aircrew play an important flying role. They have a slightly different rank structure from other non-commissioned personnel.

The rank structure for Non-Commissioned Aircrew, in descending order, is:

  • Master Aircrew
  • Flight Sergeant (Aircrew)
  • Sergeant (Aircrew)