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Military aircraft insignia are insignia applied to military aircraft to identify the nation or air force that the aircraft belongs to. Many insignia are in the form of a circular roundel or modified roundel; other shapes such as stars, crosses or triangles are also used.

Insignia are often displayed on the sides of the fuselage and the upper and lower surfaces of the wings of an aircraft, although considerable variation can be found amongst different air arms. Insignia may also be displayed on the fin or rudder of an aircraft in addition to, or in place of the fuselage markings.



History

First World War

The first use of national insignia on military aircraft was during the First World War by the French Aéronautique Militaire. The chosen design was the French national cockade, which consisted of a blue-white-red emblem mirroring the colours of the flag of France. In addition, the rudders of the aircraft were painted the same colours in vertical stripes. Similar national cockades were designed and adopted for use as aircraft roundels by the air forces of other countries, including the U.S. Army Air Service. The British Royal Flying Corps (RFC) abandoned their original painted Union Flags because they looked too much like the Eisernes Kreuz (Iron Cross) used on German aircraft. Instead, after the Naval Wing of the RFC used a red-rimmed white circle (resembling the roundel used to this day by Denmark) for a short period, British aircraft adopted roundels using the French colours in reverse, red-white-blue from centre to rim.

United States

The military aviation insignia of both the United Statesmarker and Russiamarker have had interesting "crossovers" early in the 20th century. The initial US Army Air Service insignia, used during the Pancho Villa punitive expedition just before World War I, used on the vertical tail and wings (as seen on early Curtiss biplane two-seat observation aircraft), was essentially the red star of the slightly later Soviet Unionmarker, without a red or white outline border. A tricolor roundel, similar to that used by Imperial Russia but in more evenly spaced proportions, was also adopted by the US Army Air Service in World War I air combat in Europe, because the then-recently adopted "star-in-circle" insignia could possibly be mistaken for a German or Austro-Hungarian Iron Cross insignia at some distance. The US roundel added a pair of white bars during World War II, becoming the famous "Stars and Bars" insignia; a red bar bisecting the white was added in 1947 when the United States Air Force became a separate service.

United Kingdom and Commonwealth nations

From 1923 onwards, a variant of the British roundel with the white ring omitted has been used on camouflaged aircraft. During the Second World War, the red inner circle of roundels on aircraft based in the Asia-Pacific region was painted white or light blue, so they would not be confused with the Hinomaru markings on Japanesemarker aircraft (still used by the Japan Self-Defense Forces to this day).

After the Second World War, the RAF roundel design was modified by Commonwealth air forces, with the central red disc replaced with a maple leaf (Royal Canadian Air Force), kangaroo (Royal Australian Air Force), kiwi (Royal New Zealand Air Force), and springbok (South African Air Forcemarker).

Low-visibility insignia

In recent decades, "low-visibility" insignia have increasingly been used on camouflaged aircraft. These have subdued, low-contrast colours (often shades of grey or black) or stencilled outlines, in order not to compromise the effectiveness of the camouflage.

Fin flashes

In addition to the insignia displayed on the wings and fuselage, a fin flash may also be displayed on the fin. A fin flash often takes the form of vertical or slanted stripes in the same colours as the main insignia. Alternatively, a national flag may be used on the fin.

Current insignia of national air forces

File:Abkhazian Air Force.svg|
Abkhazia
File:Afghan National Army emblem.png|
Afghanistan
File:Albanian Air Force roundel.svg|
Albania
File:Algeria A-F Roundel.svg|
Algeria
File:Angola-roundel.svg|
Angola
File:Argentina-roundel.svg|
Argentina
File:Armenian Air Force roundel.svg|
Armenia
File:RAAF Roundel.svg|
Australia
File:RAAF-Lowvis-Roundel.svg|
Australia (low visibility)
File:Roundel of the Austrian Air Force.svg|
Austria
File:Azerbaijan Air Force roundel.svg|
Azerbaijan
File:Royal Bahraini Air Force roundel.svg|
Bahrain
File:Bangladeshi Air Force roundel.svg|
Bangladesh
File:URSS-Russian aviation red star.svg|
Belarus
File:Roundel of the Belgian Air Force.svg|
Belgium
File:Benin Air Force Roundel.svg|
Benin
File:Bolivian Air Force roundel.svg|
Bolivia
File:Roundel of the Botswana Defence Force.svg|
Botswana
File:Brazilian Air Force roundel.svg|
Brazil
File:Brazilian_Navy_Roundel.svg|
Brazil
File:Roundel brunei.svg|
Brunei
File:Bulgarian Air Force roundel.svg|
Bulgaria
File:Roundel burkina faso.svg|
Burkina Faso
File:Roundel Burundi.svg|
Burundi
File:Royal Cambodian Air Force roundel.svg|
Cambodia
File:Roundel of the Cameroonian Air Force.svg|
Cameroon
File:RCAF-Roundel.svg|
Canada
File:RCAF-LowVis-Roundel.svg|
Canada (low visibility)
File:Roundel central african republic.svg|
Central African Republic
File:Chilean Air Force roundel.svg|
Chile
File:Republic of China National Emblem.svg|
Republic of China
File:Roundel of the Peoples Liberation Army Air Force.svg|
People's Republic of China
File:Colombian Air Force Roundel.svg|
Colombia
File:Roundel of the Congolese Air Force.svg|
Republic of Congo
File:Roundel of the Croatian Air Force.svg|
Croatia
File:Roundel of the Croatian Air Force (low vis).svg|
Croatia (low visibility)
File:CU AF Insignia1961.svg|
Cuba
File:Czech roundel.svg|
Czech Republic
File:Royal Danish Air Force Roundel.svg|
Denmark
File:Djibouti Air Force roundel.svg|
Djibouti
File:Dominican Air Force roundel.svg|
Dominican Republic
File:Ecuadorian Air Force roundel.svg|
Ecuador
File:Egyptian Air Force Roundel.svg|
Egypt
File:El Salvador Air Force roundel.svg|
El Salvador
File:Eritrean Air Force roundel.svg|
Eritrea
File:Roundel of the Estonian Air Force.svg|
Estonia
File:Roundel ethiopia.svg|
Ethiopia
File:Finland roundel border.svg|
Finland
File:Roundel of the French Air Force.svg|
France
File:Roundel of the French Fleet Air Arm.svg|
France
File:Roundel of the Gabon Air Force.svg|
Gabon
File:Roundel of the Georgian Air Force.svg|
Georgia
Image:Roundel of the German Air Force border.svg|
Germany
File:Roundel Ghana.svg|
Ghana
File:Roundel of the Greek Air Force.svg|
Greece
File:Roundel of the Guatemalan Air Force.svg|
Guatemala
File:Roundel Guinea.svg|
Guinea
File:Roundel guinea bissau2.svg|
Guinea-Bissau
File:Roundel Guyana.svg|
Guyana
File:Roundel of the Hungarian Air Force.svg|
Hungary
File:IAF-roundel.svg|
India
File:Roundel_Indonesia_Air_Force.svg|
Indonesia
File:Iran Air Force roundel.svg|
Iran
File:IQAF_Symbol.svg|
Iraq
File:Irish Air Corps roundel.svg|
Republic of Ireland
File:IAF roundel.svg|
Israel
File:Roundel of the Italian Air Force.svg|
Italy
File:Roundel ivory coast.svg|
Ivory Coast
File:Jamaican Defence Force roundel.svg|
Jamaica
File:Japan Air Self-Defense Force roundel.svg|
Japan
File:Roundel of the Royal Jordanian Air Force.svg|
Jordan
File:Kazakhstan AF roundel.svg|
Kazakhstan
File:Roundel of the Kenyan Air Force.svg|
Kenya
File:Roundel Kuwait.svg|
Kuwait
File:Kyrgyzstan_air_force_roundel.svg.png|
Kyrgyzstan
File:Latvia roundel.svg|
Latvia
File:Roundel of the Lebanese Air Force.svg|
Lebanon
File:Libyan Air Force roundel.svg|
Libya
File:Lithuania roundel.svg|
Lithuania
File:Roundel of Luxembourg.svg|
Luxembourg
File:Roundel of the Macedonian Air Force.svg|
Macedonia
File:Roundel of the Malagasy Air Force.svg|
Madagascar
File:Roundel of the Royal Malaysian Air Force.png|
Malaysia
File:Roundel of Malta.svg|
Malta
File:Roundel of the Mauritanian Air Force.svg|
Mauritania
File:Mexican Air Force roundel.svg|
Mexico
File:Roundel of the Montenegran Air Force.svg|
Montenegro
File:Roundel of the Royal Moroccan Air Force.svg|
Morocco
File:Roundel of the Myanmar Air Force.svg|
Myanmar
File:Netherlands roundel.svg|
Netherlands
File:Rnzaf roundel.svg|
New Zealand
File:Fasroundel.svg|
Nicaragua
File:Roundel of the Niger Air Force.svg|
Niger
File:Roundel of the Nigerian Air Force.svg|
Nigeria
File:Roundel of the Korean Peoples Army Air Force.svg|
North Korea
File:Royal Norwegian Air Force Roundel.svg|
Norway
File:Roundel of the Royal Air Force of Oman.svg|
Oman
File:Roundel of the Royal Air Force of Oman (alternate).svg|
Oman (alternate)
File:Roundel of the Pakistani Air Force.svg|
Pakistan
File:Roundel of the Panamanian Air Force.svg|
Panama
File:Roundel of the Peruvian Air Force.svg|
Peru
File:Roundel of the Philippines Air Force.svg|
Philippines
File:Szachownica.svg|
Poland
(Polish Air Force checkerboard)
File:Portuguese Air Force roundel.svg|
Portugal
File:Portuguese roudel lowvis.svg|
Portugal (low visibility)
File:Roundel Qatar.svg|
Qatar
File:Roundel of the Romanian Air Force.svg|
Romania
File:URSS-Russian aviation red star.svg|
Russia
File:Roundel Rwanda.svg|
Rwanda
File:Roundel of the Royal Saudi Air Force.svg|
Saudi Arabia
File:Roundel of the Senegalese Air Force.svg|
Senegal
File:Roundel of the Serbian_Air Force 2006.svg|
Serbia
File:Roundel of the Serbian Air Force 2006 (low vis).svg|
Serbia (low visibility)
File:Roundel of Sierra Leone.svg|
Sierra Leone
File:RSAF_Roundel_1990-present.svg|
Singapore
File:RSAF Roundel 1990-present Low Visibility.svg|
Singapore (low visibility)
File:Coat of Arms of Slovakia.svg|
Slovakia
File:Roundel of the Slovenian Air Force.svg|
Slovenia
File:Roundel of the Somali Air Corps.svg|
Somalia
File:Roundel of South African Air Force.svg|
South Africa
File:Roundel of the Republic of Korea Air Force.svg|
South Korea
File:Roundel_of_SMOM.gif|
Sovereign Military Order of Malta
File:Roundel of the Spanish Air Force.svg|
Spain
File:Roundel of the Sri Lankan Air Force.svg|
Sri Lanka
File:Roundel of the Sudanese Air Force.svg|
Sudan
File:Roundel of the Suriname Air Force.svg|
Suriname
File:Flygvapnet_roundel.svg|
Sweden
File:Swiss roundel.svg|
Switzerland
File:Roundel of the Syrian Air Force.svg|
Syria
File:Roundel of the Tanzanian Air Force.svg|
Tanzania
File:Roundel of the Royal Thai Air Force.svg|
Thailand
File:Roundel of the Togolese Air Force.svg|
Togo
File:Roundel of the Tunisian Air Force.svg|
Tunisia
File:TAF Roundel.svg|
Turkey
File:Roundel of the Ugandan Air Force.svg|
Uganda
File:Roundel of the Ukrainian Air Force.svg|
Ukraine
File:Arab Emirates AF roundel.svg|
United Arab Emirates
File:Roundel_of_Uruguay.svg|
Uruguay
File:RAF_roundel.svg|
United Kingdom
(Royal Air Force roundels)
File:Low-visibility-RAF-Roundel.svg|
United Kingdom
(low visibility)
File:Roundel_of_the_USAF.svg|
United States
File:650px-Roundel_of_the_USAF_low_visibility.svg.png|
United States (low visibility)
File:Roundel_of_Venezuela.svg‎|
Venezuela
File:Roundel of the Vietnamese Air Force.svg|
Vietnam
File:Roundel yemen.svg|
Yemen
File:Roundel of Zambia.svg|
Zambia
File:Roundel zimbabwe.svg|
Zimbabwe


Former insignia of national air forces

File:Cross-Pattee-Heraldry.svg|
Austria-Hungary,

German Empiremarker
File:Biafran_roundel.png|
Biafra
File:Czech_roundel.svg|
Czechoslovakiamarker
File:Emblem_of_aircrafts_of_NVA_(East_Germany).svg|
East Germanymarker
File:Italy-Royal-Airforce.svg|
Fascist Italy Air Force (1940-1943)
File:Finland_roundel_WW2_border.svg|
Finlandmarker (1918-1945)
File:Free French Air Forces Logo1.png|
Free French
File:Roundel_of_the_Latvian_Air_Force_until_1940.svg|
Latviamarker (1926-1940)
File:Manchukuo_Air_Force_Roundel.svg|
Manchukuo
File:Spanish Civil War nationalist roundel.svg|
Nationalist Spainmarker (first era)
File:Balkenkreuz.svg|
Nazi Germany
File:Roundel_of_the_North_Yemen_Air_Force.svg|
North Yemen
File:Roundel of Afghanistan 1983.svg|
Republic of Afghanistan
File:Chinese Air Force Roundel 1920-1921.svg|Republic of Chinamarker (1920-1921)File:Roundel of the Rhodesian Air Force.svg|
Rhodesia (1970-1980)
File:Netherlands roundel WW2.svg|
Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Air Force (1915-1950)
File:Imperial_Russian_Aviation_Roundel.svg|
Russian Empiremarker
File:Roundel of the Spanish Republican Air Force.svg|
Second Spanish Republic
File:Roundel_of_the_Serbian_Air_Force.svg|
Serbia and Montenegro / FRYmarker
File:Roundel_of_SFR_Yugoslavia_Air_Force.svg|
SFR Yugoslaviamarker
File:Roundel of the SAAF WW2.svg|
South Africa (1927-1947)
File:Roundel of the SAAF 1947 1957.svg|
South Africa (1947-1957)
File:Vietnam_Air_Force_(south)_roundel.svg|
South Vietnam
File:South_Yemen_Roundel.svg|
South Yemen
File:Red_star.svg|
Soviet Unionmarker (1922-1943)
File:URSS-Russian aviation red star.svg|
Soviet Unionmarker (1943-1991)
File:Roundel_of_the_Syrian_Air_Force.svg|
United Arab Republic (Egypt and Syria)
File:USAAC Roundel.svg|
U.S.
Army Air Corps (1926-1941)
File:Sign Slovenian Army.jpeg|
Sloveniamarker (1991-1995)
File:CroatianTrefoil.PNG|
Ustase Croatiamarker
File:Roundel_of_Zaire_Air_Force.svg|
Zairemarker


See also



References

External links




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