Nigerian Airforce Ranks And Salary Structure (2024)

We will take a detailed look at the Nigerian Airforce ranks and salary structure 2024 in this article, as well as its history and every other thing you should know about this important military arm of the country’s defence forces. The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is the branch of the Nigerian Military that is responsible for defending Nigeria’s territorial air space. The NAF carries out its operations using helicopters, airplanes, and other aerial vehicles. The Nigerian Air Force has a range of ranks, including junior and senior levels, just like other occupations as we shall see shortly.

Nigerian Airforce Ranks And Salary Structure


The idea of establishing an airforce for Nigeria was first mooted in 1961 following the nation’s participation in peace-keeping operations in Congo and Tanganyika (now Tanzania). During these peace-keeping operations, foreign airforces aircraft were employed to airlift the Nigerian Army Regiment to and from the theatres of operation. The Nigerian Government at the time, no doubt, recognized the urgent need to establish an airforce actively supported by modern facilities to provide full complement of forces to enhance the nation’s military posture. Early in 1962, the Government agreed in principle that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) be established.

The Nigerian Parliament, therefore, approved the establishment of the NAF and recruitment of cadets commenced in June 1962. Consequently, the NAF was officially established by a statutory Act of Parliament in April 1964 to serve four main purposes namely:

  • To achieve a full complement of the military defence system of the Federal Republic of Nigeria both in the air and on the ground.
  • To ensure a fast versatile mobility of the Armed Forces.
  • To provide close support for the ground-based and sea borne forces in all phases of operations and to ensure the territorial integrity of a united Nigeria.
  • To give the country the deserved prestige that is invaluable in international matters.

It was in 1962 that the drive for the required manpower for the planned airforce started. Simultaneous with this development, Government was in dialogue with some friendly nations on the possibility of training Nigerian Air Force personnel in various specialist fields. The first batch of 10 cadets was enlisted in 1962 to undergo training with the Ethiopian Airforce. The second set of 16 cadets was enlisted in February 1963 to undergo training with the Royal Canadian Airforce while six cadets were sent to the Indian Airforce. The stage was thus set for the training of its personnel in the country. Consequently, several countries were approached but the lot fell on the German Airforce to provide technical assistance for the local training of NAF personnel and this materialized in 1963.

While the NAF was still at its infancy as a fighting force, the laudable plans made by the German Airforce Assistance Group were prematurely put to test barely three years after its establishment. The inexperienced Air Force assumed the role of a well established Airforce in order to prosecute the Nigerian civil war in close collaboration with sister Services. At this stage of its existence, the NAF was only equipped with a few aircraft. As the war progressed, some fighter aircraft such as MIG 15 and 17 were acquired to help bring the war to a speedy end. The Nigerian civil war came to an end in 1970 and there was the need to re-organize the Nigerian Air Force and up-grade its equipment.

In order to strengthen itself, the NAF between 1981 and 1990 acquired additional aircraft types of advanced technology. With the acquisition of new weapon platforms, there arose the need to train personnel to man and maintain the new aircraft types. This led to the NAF re-organising its training aspects in all NAF trade specialties. Following the expansion of the NAF over time and the need to enforce all international laws and conventions relating to space activities in the Nigerian airspace, the Federal Government promulgated Decree 105 (Armed Forces Amendment Decree) of August 23, 1994 which provided additional roles for the NAF.

  • Enforcing and assisting in coordinating the enforcement of international law, conventions, practices and customs ascribed and acceded to by Nigeria relating to aerial or space activities in the Nigerian airspace.
  • Coordinating and enforcing all national and international air laws acceded or ascribed to by Nigeria and
  • De-lineating, demarcating and coordinating all aerial surveys and security zones of the Nigerian airspace.


The Nigerian Airforce Headquarters comprise of ten staff branches which formulate policies. The current ten staff branches are namely Policy and Plans, Training and Operations, Aircraft Engineering, Logistics, Communications and Information Systems, Administration, Standard and Evaluations, Air Secretary, Accounts and Budgets and Medical Services. Each Staff Branch is headed by a Branch Chief who is directly responsible to the Chief of Air Staff. The Branch Chiefs are assisted by several directors and staff officers.

The office of the Chief of Air Staff is structured to include the Coordinator Project Implementation and Monitoring Team, Finance & Account, and the Nigerian Air Force Procurement and Plans. The Policy and Plans Branch is responsible for the formation, development and implementation of strategic policies and plans in the Nigerian Airforce. The Branch also prepares in close consultation with other air staff branches and commands, long-range plans and policies to support timely, accurate and efficient employment of air power under the direction of the Chief of Air Staff to meet NAF mission. The Training and Operations Branch is responsible for policies and directives for the daily operations of the NAF. The branch is also responsible for all training both on ground and aircrew duties.

The Aircraft Engineering Branch is responsible for all matters relating to aircraft, armament design and maintenance in the NAF on the other hand, the Logistics and Communications Staff Branch is responsible for policies on provisioning, procurement and maintenance of all equipment and infrastructure in the NAF. The Administration Staff Branch is the hub in which most of NAF personnel and administrative matters revolve. It also sees to the running of the NAF in accordance with operational policy guidelines and requirements. The Standads and Evaluation Staff Branch is also charged with the responsibility of ensuring proper maintenance of standards in the NAF and to facilitate full-time research into specific areas of the Service with a view to avoiding waste in both human and material resources. The Air Secretary Branch is responsible for the establishment of guidelines for the recruitment, career management and maintenance of a balanced force structure for the NAF.


The Nigerian Air Force is currently made up of six Commands namely:

  • Tactical Air Command with headquarters in Makurdi
  • Special Operations Command with headquarters in Bauchi
  • Mobility Command with Headquarters in Yenagoa
  • Air Training Command with headquarters in Kaduna
  • Ground Training Command with Headquarters in Enugu
  • Logistics Command with headquarters in Lagos.

The Tactical Air Command was established for the purpose of centralization of Command with a view to providing joint operational doctrine for the use of NAF air tactical forces.

Similarly, Special Operations Command was established to provide combat support capabilities.

Mobility Command is responsible for performing the air power role of tactical and strategic airlift in support of military operations and government.

The Air Training Command and Ground Training Command were established for the purpose of planning and coordinating the administrative and operational command of all NAF training activities, while the Logistics Command was established to supply and maintain all the NAF operational equipment as well as infrastructural facilities required for the effective accomplishment of NAF assigned tasks.


Nigeria’s airforce has a variety of ranks, which can be broadly divided into commissioned and non-commissioned personnel.


All Nigerian Airforce officers who have enrolled through the Short Service Commission (SSC), the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), or the Direct Short Service Commission (DSSC), are considered to be in the commissioned ranks. These officers typically hold diplomas or degrees from reputable universities. Below, we examine each of the 11 commissioned rank categories of the Nigerian Airforce and their salaries this 2024. They are arranged in ascending order.

  • Pilot Officer: ₦187,159 per month
  • Flying Officer: ₦218,400 per month
  • Flight Lieutenant: ₦232,484 per month
  • Squadron Leader: ₦248,004 per month
  • Wing Commander: ₦342,586 per month
  • Group Captain: ₦352,631 per month
  • Air Commodore: ₦677,895 per month
  • Air Vice-Marshal: ₦1,376,343 per month
  • Air Marshal: ₦1,486,451 per month
  • Air Chief Marshal: ₦1,724,283 per month
  • Marshal of the Nigerian Air Force (Highest Rank): Undisclosed.


In Nigeria today, there are several non-commissioned airforce ranks. Non-commissioned officers, also referred to as airmen, are people who joined the Nigerian Airforce through direct recruitment. These officers typically hold O-level certificates or other less advanced degrees from reputable universities. The monthly pay for the 9 non-commissioned ranks in the Nigerian Airforce this 2024 are listed below. They are ranked from lowest to highest.

  • Recruit: ₦10,237 per month
  • Aircraftman: ₦53,892 per month
  • Lance Corporal: ₦55,832 per month
  • Corporal: ₦58,634 per month
  • Sergeant: ₦69,261 per month
  • Flight Sergeant: ₦87,119 per month
  • Warrant Officer: ₦101,974 per month
  • Master Warrant Officer: ₦165,697 per month
  • Air Warrant Officer: ₦171,793 per month.

Ezeh Emmanuella

Ezeh Emmanuella is an information enthusiast and the Editor of Nigerian Search Guide. She loves to answer search queries on everything Nigeria. She is also the brain behind Ellacious Designs, an emerging fashion brand in Nigeria today.

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