Country Listing

Libya Table of Contents


Uniforms, Ranks, and Insignia of the Armed Forces

Figure 15. commissioned Officers Ranks and Insignia, 1987

Figure 16. Enlisted Personnel Ranks and Insignia, 1987

When the army and navy were formed, the uniforms adopted by each service reflected British military and naval tradition. Modifications have occurred over the intervening years, however, and in early 1987 Libyan uniforms were similar to those worn by military personnel of a number of Middle Eastern Arab countries.

The standard field uniform for Libyan paratroopers (Army commandos) is a two-piece camouflage uniform made of waterrepellent cotton. The shirt is similar in design to the United States Army fatigue shirt. The shirt and trousers are camouflaged in blue-green, light green, and dark brown. The standard headgear for paratroopers is a sky-blue beret. The uniforms of the air force, however, continued to resemble in both style and color the uniforms of the United States Air Force, which served as a model when the Libyan air arm was established.

Originally the rank structure of all three services was similar to that of the British armed forces, but some modifications were introduced in light of the small size of the Libyan military establishment. In early 1979, the system prescribed by law still included nine officer grades and five enlisted ranks; there were no warrant officer equivalents (see figs. 15 and 16).

Although three general officer grades continued to be authorized, they have not been used since the 1969 coup. Promoted to the grade of colonel (aqid) after assuming power, Qadhafi has maintained a ceiling on the grade level of his officers corps in keeping with his desire to avoid the ostentatious public image the generals of the monarchy had conveyed. In January 1976, the Arab Socialist Union's National Congress attempted to promote Qadhafi to major general. The Libyan leader stated that he would accept the honor as an expression of gratitude from his compatriots but would retain the title of colonel because it had become an accepted and traditional part of his name.

Data as of 1987