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Three-star rank

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Title: Three-star rank  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Vice admiral, Air marshal, Pakistan Navy, Orit Adato, Vice Chief of the Defence Force (Australia)
Collection: 3 Star Officers, Military Ranks
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Three-star rank

A NATO lieutenant general's rank insignia[1]

An officer of three-star rank is a very senior commander in many of the armed services holding a rank described by the NATO code of OF-8. The term is also used by some armed forces which are not NATO members. Typically, three-star officers hold the rank of vice admiral, lieutenant general, or in the case of those air forces with a separate rank structure, air marshal.


  • Australian three-star ranks 1
  • Bangladesh three-star ranks 2
  • Brazil three-star ranks 3
  • Canadian three-maple-leaf ranks 4
  • Germany 5
  • Indian three-star ranks 6
  • Pakistan three-star ranks 7
  • United Kingdom three-star ranks 8
  • United States three-star ranks 9
  • Russia and the USSR 10
  • See also 11
  • Notes 12

Australian three-star ranks

Australian Lieutenant General Peter Leahy (left) wearing three-star insignia

Official rank insignia for Australian 'three-star' officers do not use stars in the same fashion as the United States (the RAN does incorporate stars into the hardboard rank insignia for flag-rank officers but this is in conjunction with other devices). Unofficial star rank insignia (such as that worn by Lieutenant General Leahy in the accompanying image) are sometimes worn when serving with (or visiting) other military organisations in order to facilitate equivalent rank recognition.

The Chiefs of all three services within the Australian Defence Force (ADF) hold three-star rank as well as three joint positions: Vice Chief of Defence Force (VCDF), Chief of Joint Operations (CJOPS) and Chief Capability Development Group (CCDG).

Bangladesh three-star ranks

Brazil three-star ranks

Brazilian general de divisão

The three-star rank in Brazil is the second rank in a general career. The officers in this position are normally divisional commanders.

Canadian three-maple-leaf ranks

Three maple leaves appear with St. Edward's crown and crossed sabre and baton. Prince Charles holds the rank of vice-admiral in an honorary capacity. Before unification, the rank of air marshal was the three-star equivalent for the RCAF.


The equivalent modern German three-star ranks (OF-8) of the Bundeswehr are as follows:

Not to be confused with the Generalleutnant and Konteradmiral (two-star ranks; OF-7) of the Wehrmacht until 1945 or the National People´s Army (East Germany) until 1990.

Indian three-star ranks

Former Indian Air Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik shown wearing both three-star insignia and air marshal insignia

Pakistan three-star ranks

United Kingdom three-star ranks

United States three-star ranks

Lieutenant General Patton during World War II

A vice admiral typically commands a numbered fleet which is responsible for all naval ships within its area of responsibility. An Army or Marine Corps lieutenant general typically commands a corps-sized unit (20,000 to 45,000 soldiers), while an Air Force lieutenant general commands a large Numbered Air Force consisting of several wings. Additionally, lieutenant generals and vice admirals of all services serve as high-level staff officers at various major command headquarters and the Pentagon, often as the heads of their departments.

Russia and the USSR

In the Russian and Soviet armies, the three-star rank is colonel-general (Russian: генерал-полковник) and full admiral (Russian: адмирал). This is a title that emerged during the early Soviet period. Most Warsaw Pact and Soviet-aligned countries adopted this rank. The rank is often held by commanders of the ground forces, chiefs of military academies and commanders of military districts. Colonel general is considered a stepping stone to the rank of general of the army, itself essential to achieving the high rank of marshal of the Russian Federation. This title also applies to three star officers of the air force, MVD, police and militia, internal troops, FSB/KGB, border guards and some others. In the navy, the three star rank is admiral (Russian: адмирал).

See also


  1. ^ Note: This rank insignia is not worn in all NATO armed forces.
  2. ^ a b c Selections from Regional Press. Institute of Regional Studies. October 2007. p. 75. 
  3. ^ Mangai Natarajan (2008). Women Police in a Changing Society: Back Door to Equality. Ashgate. p. 49.  
  4. ^ Officers' rank insignia, British Army Website. Retrieved 2008-10-25.
  5. ^ RAF Glossary
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