Military Wiki

Senior lieutenant (Finnish language: yliluutnantti , German language: Oberleutnant, Russian: старший лейтенант, starshy leytenant Swedish language: premiärlöjtnant ) is a military grade between a lieutenant and a captain. Sometimes a senior lieutenant is called a first lieutenant. The rank is equivalent to the NATO grade of OF-1a.


Yliluutnantti kauluslaatta.svg
Yliluutnantti l hihalaatta.svg


Yliluutnantti (premiärlöjtnant in Swedish) is a Finnish military rank above luutnantti (löjtnant) and below kapteeni (kapten), equivalent to a senior lieutenant. It is used in the Finnish Defence Forces (army, navy and air force) and the Finnish Border Guard.

The prescribed duty is a company vice-commander. Officers who have graduated as Bachelors of Military Science from the National Defence College with the rank of luutnantti usually re-enter the college after four years' tour of duty. After a study of two additional years, they are promoted yliluutnantti and return to more challenging duties. Yliluutnantti is also the highest rank available to those educated in the now-decommissioned school Maanpuolustusopisto (comparable to a military junior college). The rank of yliluutnantti may be placed in the NATO rank class OF-1, although it is not a part of the NATO system.

History and related ranks

The Army of the Finnish Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire had a rank of alikapteeni, similar in use as Prussian and Russian Stabskapitän. The rank of yliluutnantti came to Finland from Germany with Finnish Jäger troops in 1918, but General Mannerheim considered it too German and encouraged holders of the rank to use more the general rank of lieutenant instead. In some regiments officers with rank of yliluutnantti were considered to have been promoted to captain, and the rank fell in disuse until 1952 when it was taken into regular use, and ever since it has been in use in all three branches; air force, navy and the army.

Prior to the Second World War, graduates of the Defence College served with the rank of luutnantti. The rank of yliluutnantti was established in 1952, when it was felt that cadets graduating from the Defence College would be denied promotion avenues due to the large number of field-promoted company-grade officers in active service. As most of such officers held the rank of vänrikki or luutnantti, and were unlikely to advance to field grade (due to their background as NCOs and lack of academic studies), the rank of yliluutnantti circumvented the seniority issue. Due to this revision, reservists who held the wartime rank of luutnantti did not receive a promotion to captain, as would have been expected, but rather to yliluutnantti; promotions were not grandfathered.

Germany, Austria & Switzerland

A senior lieutenant is known as an Oberleutnant in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.


Russia and the USSR

Flag of Russia.svg
Senior lieutenant
in the Russian Army
RAF A F1FstLt after2010.png 11stlt.png
Rank insignia Armed Forces of the Russian Federation
Introduction 1939 to the Soviet Army
Commanding staff
Army / air force Senior lieutenant
Navy Senior lieutenant

Senior lieutenant (Russian: старший лейтенант, starshy leytenant) is used in the army, air force or navy of Russia and the former USSR.

Russian Empire

In the Russian Empire senior lieutenant first appeared in the Table of Ranks (1909—1911) exclusively as naval rank IX class, and from 1912 as VIII class. Corresponding ranks were captain in the infantry, Rotmister (derived from the German Rittmeister) in the cavalry, and yesaul in the cossacks corps. In the civil administration it was almost equivalent to the "council assessor" (Russian коллежский асессор; kolleshsky assessor).

As result of the October Revolution this rank was abolished along with all other Russian ranks and rank insignia. It was reintroduced to the armed forces of the Soviet Union by disposal of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union and the Council of People's Commissars in 1935.[1] A senior lieutenant was junior to a captain or captain-lieutenant and senior to a lieutenant.

Russian Federation

The Russian Federation inherited the rank structure of the armed forces of the Soviet Union.

If military personnel serve in a guards formation, or on a guards warship, the word "guards" is placed before the rank (e.g. "guards senior lieutenant"). For civilian or military personnel with a specific level of expertise or knowledge in the medical or judicial professions, the words "medical" or "legal" are placed before the rank (e.g. "legal senior lieutenant"). The word "retired" is added after the rank for retired officers. Police, internal troops and tax office personnel have their branch added after the rank (e.g. "senior lieutenant of police")

Russian sequence of ranks
Lower rank:

Coat of Arms of the Russian Federation.svg
Senior lieutenant
Higher rank:
(Navy: Captain-lieutenant)

Rank insignia

Some examples of rank insignia (shoulder, collar, and sleeve), used by Russia and the USSR, are shown below:

International equivalents

Country Rank designation
Army Air Force Navy
Azerbaijan Flag of Azerbaijan.svg Baş leytenant
Austria Flag of Austria.svg Oberleutnant Fregattenleutnant (Austro-Hungarian Navy)
Belarus Flag of Belarus.svg Старший лейтенант (Russian); старшы лейтэнант (Belarusian)
Belgium Flag of Belgium.svg Lieutenant Vaandrig-ter-zee
Bulgaria Flag of Bulgaria.svg Cтарши лейтенант (starshy leytenant)
Czech Republic Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Nadporučík
Croatia Flag of Croatia.svg Natporučnik Poručnik fregate
Denmark Flag of Denmark.svg Premierløjtnant
Germany Flag of Germany.png Oberleutnant Oberleutnant zur See
Switzerland Flag of Switzerland.svg Oberleutnant
Russia Flag of Russia.svg Старший лейтенант (starshy leytenant)
Ukraine Flag of Ukraine.svg Старший лейтенант (starshy leytenant)
UK Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Lieutenant Flying officer Lieutenant
USA Flag of the U.S..svg First lieutenant Lieutenant, j.g.


  1. Decree of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union and the Council of People's Commissars, from September 22, 1935, on introduction of individual military rank designation to commanding personnel of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army.

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