Kenya Air Force Salary and Rank Structure

The Kenyan Air Force is one of the arms that makes up the country’s armed forces under the Kenya Defence Forces. This arm of the Kenya Military upholds a very responsible attribute by always ensuring the protection of the lives and property of the nation through its air territories. The behavioral aspect of men in service under the Kenya Air Force is worthy of recommendation, as they maintain diligence, honesty, integrity, accountability, and loyalty to the nation at large. The salary accruable to officers of the Kenya Air Force can never be equated to the risk and sacrifices they lay for the peace and sovereignty of the State.

The Rank Structure of The Kenya Air Force

The Air Force is a part of the Kenyan military that takes training and overall human development critical. To function in the Kenya Air Force, one has to be devoted to undergoing the necessary training that will guarantee a stay in the Air Force arm of the Kenya Defence Forces. These men are trained in many aspects of the force, such as Technicians, Mechanics, Pilots, etc. Growth in the rank of the Kenya Air Force is open to all sections of the force body. Any officer’s input and value in any area they find themselves attracts additional consideration for a compensatory promotion for hard work. The rank structure of this arm of the Kenya Defence Forces is broken into three categories, which include the following:

  • The Airmen
  • The Non-commissioned Officers
  • The Commissioned Officers

Kenya Air Force

The Airmen

The Airmen are equivalent to recruited applicants that must undergo the Kenya Air Force training to know if they can find a place in the force. The Airmen rank categories include the following:

  • Airman Basic: The Airman Basic is the first learning stage for a recruit in the Kenya Air Force. The Airman Basic is trained to gain military knowledge, customs, traditions, and courtesies. They gain further advancement after six months under intense supervision to make sure the standards of the Kenya Air Force are achieved.
  • Airman: This rank entails that the candidate is fully initiated to the military customs and way of life and can take responsibility for serving the force. All airmen in this stage are moved to their specialty area, which the force can assign according to the need and relevance of the candidate. It takes an average of 10 months to be promoted to the next rank.
  • Airman First Class: The Airman First class is entitled to increased responsibility while still going through the necessary training. It takes 16 months of service and devotion to the Kenya Air Force for an Airman First Class to move to the next rank.
  • Senior Airman: This rank is the highest in the level of Airmen category. This level is accompanied by supervisory responsibilities to lower positions of the Kenya Air Force Airmen rank categories. It takes an Airmen Basic a total of 28 months in grade or equivalent of 36 months in service with 20 months in grade to get to the level of a Senior Airman.

Non-commissioned Officers Of The Kenya Air Force

The officers in this cader are expected to fully depict an exemplary life of honesty, integrity, loyalty, leadership, and dedication. The officers must act according to the set standards and policies of the force. Below are the ranks under the Non-commission officers’ category of Kenya Air Force:

  • Leading Aircraftman II: The Leading Aircraftman II is the least among the non-commissioned officers rank of the Kenya Air Force. The rank gets to assist and works closely with the Leading Aircraftman I of the force on any assignment assigned by a higher rank.
  • Leading Aircraftman I: Leading Aircraftman I is charged with a higher responsibility than that of the Leading Aircraftman II. A Corporal or other top-ranked officers mainly assign duties.
  • Corporal: This officer is directly accountable to a Sergeant and receives direct order or responsibility from a sergeant or a higher ranked officer. This is the third rank achievable in the category of non-commissioned officers of the Kenya Air Force.
  • Sergeant: This rank is entitled to supervise and control several Leading Aircraftmen and their equipment.
  • Flight Sergeant: The flight sergeant is charged with a higher responsibility than the sergeant. He takes charge of the ground control of all technical activities of the lower ranks of the non-commissioned officers.
  • Warrant Officers Class II: The Warrant Officers Class II is a step to the highest level in the non-commissioned officers’ rank. They assist the Warrant Officer Class I in carrying out their duties. They equally check-mate the activities of the flight sergeant and other lower-level officers.
  • Warrant Officer Class I: This class of officers is the highest responsibility rank and is equally a breakpoint between the non-commission and commission officers’ positions. This rank reports directly to higher authorities of the Kenya Air Force and supervises the activities of other lower rank officers.

Commissioned Officers Of The Kenya Air Force

This level of the Kenya Air Force rank is regarded as the senior ranked officers. They are also required to discharge their duties according to the code and conducts of the Kenya Air Force. There are a total of 9 ranks available in this category, and they include:

  • Pilot Officer: This is a rank given to an officer who has passed all the requirements and has proven their capability and skills to fly aircraft for combat or military training purposes. A pilot officer can be saddled with flying a bomber jet, transport plane, or lead flight crew. This rank reports to the Flying Officer.
  • Flying Officer: This is the second rank as a commissioned officer after gaining professional training in Kenya Air Force. The Flying Officer can perform the same duty as the Pilot Officer or an adjutant, an administrative officer to man personnel and equipment. This rank answers directly to the Flight Lieutenant.
  • Flight Lieutenant: This rank is in charge of several Kenya Air Force aircraft and its aircrew. Even though the rank is regarded as one of the lower ranks in the commission officers cader of the Air Force, it still assists the squadron leader in control of 12 to 24 aircraft and all the crew members.
  • Squadron Leader: This is a commanding officer to the Flying Lieutenant and other lower ranks in the Kenya Air Force. To qualify for this rank, an officer must have given six years of service to the Kenya Air Force.
  • The Wing Commander: This is an officer saddled with the responsibility of carrying out already planned tactical actions. The Wing Commander takes the mission briefings from superior rank officers and ensures a total supervisory role on the success of such missions as designed.
  • Group Captain: The rank is below the Air Commodore in the Kenya Air Force rank structure. The group captain can be given the responsibility of controlling a medium-sized station for the force. He is also an important figure in specific decision-making processes in the Kenya Air Force. A medium-sized station in Kenya Air Force can be a military aircraft workshop located in an outer environment. To attain this rank, an individual needs to put in 15 to 30 years of service.
  • Air Commodore: In the Kenya Air Force ranking structure, an Air Commodore is regarded as a one-star officer. The rank gains the title of Air Officer Commanding (AOC). The rank also goes most times with appointment as the principal directors of directorates and branches. The Air Commodore answers directly to an Air vice-marshal, which is his next direct rank.
  • Air Vice Marshall: This is a two-star air officer rank equivalent to the Major-general of the Kenya Army. The Air Vice Marshall in the Kenya Air Force holds an enormous responsibility of commanding advance HQs of air commands. This role is second to the peak of all the ranks in the Kenya Air Force command. Air Vice Marshall assists the Air Marshall in decision-making and planning. He can represent the Air Marshall in an event and still take all honor due for the Air Marshall in his absence.
  • Air Marshall: This rank mostly holds appointments such as commander-in-chief of the Air Force. It is the most senior rank among the commissioned rank levels of the Kenya Air Force. He is totally in charge of the country’s protection with the use of air force personnel and equipment. He takes orders from the president, who is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The Air Marshall is a member of the country’s security council or council chiefs.

Salary of Officers of Kenya Air Force 

The Kenya Defence Forces regulate the salary and activities of the Kenya Air Force, which is paid according to the level of educational exposure and ranks. The Defence Force maintains a regular review in the wages of the military at large, of which the Kenya Air Force is not left out. The Salary and Remuneration Commission of Kenya (SRC) handles the regular salary review of all government-managed agencies of Kenya. They review the salary on a four-year basis, which was done last in 2017 and is expected to be reviewed in 2021. Since 2019 came with a remuneration increase of Kshs 2.5 billion in the salary of the Kenya Defence Force, it is assumed that there is already an increase from 2019 to date.


The salary of lower rank officers both in Airmen and Non-commissioned level in the Kenya Air Force till date remains unknown, but here are some of the salaries paid to some of the Commissioned Air Force officers:

  • The Air Vice Marshall receives remuneration of Ksh695,625 with an allowance of KSh 278,250.
  • The Air Commodore pockets KSh906,014 monthly.
  • The Wing Commander gets a monthly salary of KSh153,317.
  • The Squadron Leader earns a monthly salary of KSh130,735.
  • The Flight Lieutenant receives a salary of KSh102,106.
  • The Flying Officer receives a monthly pay of KSh73,182.
  • The Corporal receives KSh32,250 monthly.
  • The Leading Aircraftman I receives monthly remuneration of KSh26,509.
  • The Leading Aircraftman II receives a monthly pay of KSh19,941.

Other Allowances and Benefits Earned by the Kenya Air Force Officers

There is no special allowance given to men of the Kenya Air Force, which is not included in the Kenya Defence Force allowance and benefits due to all men of the Kenya Military. The incentives and other compensating packages are structured to encourage them for the associated risks in their job. Below are benefits and allowance due for Kenya Air Force:

  • House Allowance.
  • Military Clothing Allowance.
  • Family Separation Allowance.
  • Medical Allowance.

Other incentives to the Kenya Airforce officers include:

  • Free Housing.
  • 50% discount on selling price of commodities inside the barracks.
  • No charges on utility consumed.
  • No tax charges.
  • Health Insurance Scheme with the Defence Force Insurance Scheme.

The above allowances vary as the ranks and salary vary. The allocation is determined mainly by the officer’s level, years in service, and grade. The above incentives are primarily open for all Kenya Military officers, not only to the Kenya Air Force.

Promotion Procedures For The Officers of Kenya Air Force

The promotion and upgrade of Airmen officers in the Kenya Air Force are done on a recommendation based on the inputs of such officers. The inputs are counted by training in service and in grades which their commanding officers supervise. Commanding officers have the job designation of tendering reports on achievements and behavior of men under his command. This is reviewed during consideration for promotions and upgrades of all qualified officers who will be promoted.

For non-commissioned officers, promotion of this level is according to the Weighted Airman Promotion System (WAPS). The commander’s recommendation strongly influences this WAPS point. The WAPS points are determined by the following:

  • Promotion fitness examination.
  • Specialty Knowledge tests.
  • Medals and awards.
  • Time in grade.
  • Time in service.
  • Performance evaluations.

The Commissioned Officers are promoted mainly through years in service and also through appointments. Promotion of officers does not come chronologically most times because certain events can deny an officer promotion.

Functions of The Kenya Air Force

It is agreed that the significant duty of the Kenya Air Force is to protect the territorial air space of the country against any external force. It doesn’t just end in that. Below are the outlined functions of the Air Force in Kenya:

1. Air Defence: The Kenya Air Force, with the use of the provided jet fighters and other aircraft, can defend the air space of the country, thereby avoiding any enemy force encroaching into the territorial boundaries of the country. The air defensive mechanism may not even involve air combat and can end just during a demonstration of abilities by airmen and jet pilots of the Kenya Air Force.

2. Close Air Support: The Kenya Air Force protects sister armed forces like the Kenya Army and Navy with close air support to carry out their duties effectively with minimum casualties.

3. Air Interdiction: The Kenya Air Force has to right to carry out mass destruction on an enemy military camp to avoid any unprepared attack. When the Air Force confirms that an enemy military camp is preparing an attack, which will have a severe effect on the peace and lives of its citizen, the Air Force can get an air interdiction clearance to engage the enemy’s military base.

4. Counter Air Operations: Counter Air Operations is approved when there is an attack already in the territorial air space of the country. The Kenya Air Force engages in countering or neutralizing these attacks from having any effect. For example, the Kenya Air Force must launch a missile to repel a raid if a missile is targeted at the country.

5. Air Transport Operations: The Kenya Air Force is also useful during air transport operations. This is mainly done with cargo planes. If a part of the country needs civilian emergency extractions, the Air Force will activate the air transport operations. Likewise, air transport operation is used when there is a need to reload or re-equip the officers in the field.

6. Marine Air Operations: The marine officers under the umbrella of the Kenya Navy make use of the Kenya Air Force officers to ensure total surveillance of the country’s marine borders.


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