Nigerian Air force Rank and Salary

Nigerian Air Force DSSC 31/2022 Recruitment Application

Nigerian Air force Rank and Salary

Following two years of quiet preparations, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) was formally established by an act of Parliament in 1964.  Initial training and military acculturation occurred under the tutelage of the Ethiopian, Canadian, Indian and German Air Forces.  Until 1976, it used Army-style ranks. With minor modification, it now uses Royal Air Force rank titles.

The present ‘harmonized’ NAF rank structure (from bottom up) is as follows []:



  1. Aircraftman/woman
  2. Lance Corporal
  3. Corporal
  4. Sergeant
  5. Flight Sergeant
  6. Warrant Officer
  7. Master Warrant Officer
  8. Air Warrant Officer




  1. Pilot Officer
  2. Flying Officer
  3. Flight Lieutenant
  4. Squadron Leader
  5. Wing Commander
  6. Group Captain
  7. Air Commodore
  8. Air Vice Marshal
  9. Air Marshal
  10. Air Chief Marshal
  11. Marshal of the Air Force


However, alternative rank titles – which is what we use to this day – were later created in the face of opposition from the Army, Navy and War Office.

Nevertheless, the similarity between senior air force and naval ranks on one hand, and junior air force and army ranks on the other, persists.

For example, a one-star General rank is an Air ‘Commodore’, (as in Navy Commodore) but higher ranks use “Air Marshal” (derived from the Army word “Marshal”) instead of ‘Admiral’ which is clearly of ancient marine heritage. 

Hence, Air Vice-MarshalAir Marshal, and Air Chief Marshal refer to two, three, and four star Generals, respectively. 

[The exception to this exists in countries that have well-developed Naval Aviation forces in which case aviators may wear Naval ranks].

The first Air Vice-Marshal in NAF history was Air Vice Marshal John N. Yisa-Doko, Chief of Air Staff from 1975 – 80. The first Air Marshal (Lt. Gen.) was the late Ibrahim Alfa, Chief of Air Staff from 1984 – 90. No officer of the Nigerian Air Force has attained or surpassed the rank of Air Chief Marshal (4-Star General).


The air force equivalent of a Naval Captain is a Group Captain (ie Army Colonel).  The NAF equivalent of a Naval Commander is a Wing Commander.  The NAF equivalent of a Naval Lieutenant Commander is a Squadron Leader (ie Army Major). 

An NAF Flight Lieutenant is equivalent to an Army Captain or Navy Lieutenant. An NAF Flying Officer is equivalent to an Army Lieutenant or Navy Sub-Lieutenant. 

An NAF Pilot Officer is equivalent to an Army Second Lieutenant or a Navy Midshipman (where it exists). Enlisted NAF ranks – in order of declining status – are Air Warrant Officer, Master Warrant Officer, Warrant Officer, Flight Sergeant, Sergeant, Corporal, Lance Corporal and Aircraftman/woman.

The ancient Naval and Army origins of “Warrant”, “Sergeant”, “Lance”, and “Corporal” have previously been discussed.

Squadron – The word Squadron in Modern English military usage dates back to 1562.  Naval, air force and cavalry (recce) units use it.  In the air force a squadron of aircraft is a unit larger than a flight and smaller than a group.  It is commanded by a Squadron Leader (equivalent to an Army Major).

Among armoured forces, a squadron of tanks or armoured vehicles consists of two or more ‘troops’ (usually three to four armoured vehicles each) along with headquarters and supporting arms. 

Among non-armoured cavalry it meant two companies of men.  In the Navy a squadron refers to a naval unit that is detached from the main fleet for a particular task. Theoretically a squadron in Aviation and Cavalry units is equivalent to an infantry battalion. It derives from the Italian word squadrone, from squadra, an italian word for “battalion” which is derived from exquadra (square) a word from the ancient Roman form of conversational Latin.

In ancient Rome troops adopted a defensive square formation when out-manned or confronted with cavalry. The word squad is in popular use with the American military – as a sub-unit (or 12 man section) of a platoon, usually led by a sergeant or staff sergeant, and consisting of three fire teams of four men each. In this sense a platoon consists of at least two squads. It is sometimes used (albeit differently) by certain British special forces like the SAS – in the context of four-man squads – and comes from the French word esquade, also called escadre in middle French or escuadra in Spanish.  It is also used in phrases like ‘Anti-Terrorist squad’ or ‘Bomb Disposal Squad’.


Nigerian Air Force Salary 2022 And Ranks

Non–commissioned officers:
  1. Trainee earns N10,207 monthly
  2. Aircraft man/woman is paid N53,092 monthly
  3. Lance Corporal is paid N55,002 monthly
  4. Corporal collects N58,094 monthly
  5. Sergeant collects N69,271 monthly
  6. Flight Sergeant earns N87,100 monthly
  7. Warrant Officer is paid N101,954 monthly
  8. Master Warrant Officer collects N165,697
  9. Cadet (Trainee) is paid N44,594 monthly
  10. Air Warrant Officer salary is N171,763 monthly


Commissioned Officers: 

  1. Pilot Officer salary is N187,199 monthly
  2. Flying Officer salary is N218,470 monthly
  3. Flight Lieutenant earns N232,494 as monthly salary
  4. Squadron Leader is paid N248,034 monthly
  5. Wing Comdr earns N342,526 monthly salary
  6. Group Captain earns N352,621 monthly
  7. Air Commodore collects N677,825 as monthly salary
  8. Air Vice-Marshal is paid N1,376,323 as monthly salary
  9. Air Marshal is paid N1,486,421 as monthly salary
  10. Air Chief Marshal earns N1,724,223 monthly


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