Uniforms, Ranks, and Insignia of the Armed Forces
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