Vice admiral is a senior naval flag officer rank, equivalent to lieutenant general and air marshal. A vice admiral is typically senior to a rear admiral and junior to an admiral. In many navies, vice admiral is a three-star rank with a NATO code of OF-8, although in some navies like the French Navy it is an OF-7 rank, the OF-8 code corresponding to the four-star rank of squadron vice-admiral.
The rank insignia for a vice admiral often involves three stars, but this is not always the case. In the navy of Iraq, vice admiral insignia involves one star. In the navies of Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, China, Cuba, Iran, Mexico, North Korea, and Russia, vice admiral insignia involves two stars, and in the navy of Turkey, vice admiral insignia involves four stars.
In the Royal Australian Navy, the rank of vice admiral is held by the Chief of Navy and, when the positions are held by navy officers, by the Vice Chief of the Defence Force, the Chief of Joint Operations, and/or the Chief of Capability Development Group.
In the Royal Canadian Navy, the rank of vice-admiral (VAdm) (vice-amiral or Vam in French) is equivalent to lieutenant-general of the Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force. A vice-admiral is a flag officer, the naval equivalent of a general officer. A vice-admiral is senior to a rear-admiral and major general, and junior to an admiral and general.
The rank insignia of a Canadian vice-admiral is as follows:
- On the navy blue mess dress jacket and the navy blue service dress tunic: the cuff insignia is one wide gold braid below two standard size gold braids, the superior one includes the executive curl.
- On tropical white mess dress and tropical white service dress tunic: three silver maple leaves, beneath silver crossed sword and baton, all surmounted by a St. Edward's Crown located on gold shoulder boards.
Two rows of gold oak leaves are located on the black visor of the white service cap. From 1968 to June 2010, the navy blue service dress tunic featured only a wide gold braid around the cuff with three gold maple leaves, beneath crossed sword and baton, all surmounted by a St. Edward's Crown located on cloth shoulder straps.
Vice-admirals are addressed by rank and name; thereafter by subordinates as "Sir" or "Ma'am". Vice-admirals are normally entitled to a staff car; the car will normally bear a flag, dark blue with three gold maple leaves arranged one over two.
A vice-admiral generally holds only the most senior command or administrative appointments, barring only Chief of Defence Staff, which is held by a full admiral or general. Appointments held by vice-admirals may include:
- Vice-Chief of Defence Staff (VCDS);
- Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (DCDS);
- Commander of an operational command (such as Canadian Joint Operations Command);
- Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy;
- Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) of Defence in various capacities;
- Commander of, or representative to, a multinational force, alliance, or treaty organization.
In France, vice-amiral is the most senior of the ranks in the French Navy; higher ranks, vice-amiral d'escadre and amiral, are permanent functions, style and position (in French rang et appellation) given to a vice-amiral-ranking officer. The vice-amiral rank used to be an OF-8 rank in NATO charts, but nowadays, it is more an OF-7 rank.
The rank of vice-amiral d'escadre (literally, "squadron vice-admiral", with more precision, "fleet vice-admiral") equals a NATO OF-8 rank.
In the ancien régime Navy, between 1669 and 1791. The office of "Vice-Admiral of France" (Vice-amiral de France) was the highest rank, the supreme office of "Admiral of France" being purely ceremonial.
Distinct offices were :
In India, vice admiral is a three star admiral.
In the Philippines, the rank vice admiral is the highest-ranking official of the Philippine Navy. He is recognized as the flag officer in-charge of the navy. The rank vice-admiral in the Philippines, has the same ranking in the U.S Navy.
Before World War II, the vice admiral was the highest rank in the Polish Navy. Jozef Unrug was one of the only two officers to achieve the rank. The other was Jerzy Świrski. Poland had only one sovereign sea port, Port of Gdynia, and was slowly building a small modern navy that was to be ready by 1950. The navy was not a priority for obvious reasons. At present, it is a "two--star" rank. The stars are not used; however, the stars were used in between 1952 and 1956 and are still used in the vice admiral's pennant.
In the Royal Navy the rank of vice-admiral should be distinguished from the office of "Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom", which is an Admiralty position usually held by a retired "full" admiral, and that of "Vice-Admiral of the Coast", a now obsolete office dealing with naval administration in each of the maritime counties.
In Vietnam, the equivalent to vice admiral is the phó đô đốc.
- Vice admiral is a three-star rank in the navies of NATO and Commonwealth countries, including (since 2001) the Royal Navy. (Refer UK DCI (Joint Service) 125/2001)
- Deachman, Bruce; McCulloch, Sandra (9 November 2009), "Royals arrive in Ottawa in final leg of cross-Canada tour", Ottawa Citizen, retrieved 10 November 2009