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Ukraine – Air Force flags and markings

Last modified: 2024-06-01 by martin karner
Keywords: ukraine | airforce | roundel | aircraft marking |
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Consolidated Air Force Detachment of the Armed Forces

image located by William Garrison


English: Ukrainian flag of the "consolidated detachment" of Ukrainian Air Forces
In September 2014, the process of filling a new detachment of Ukraine's Air Forces with volunteer fighters has started. These servicemen were soon engaged in the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO). Servicemen are stationed near the city of Avdiivka Donetsk region. Despite heavy shelling and extreme hardships, they continue to defend an important foothold close to the Donetsk airport.
Exhibition Ukrainian flags-relics at St. Sophia Square in Kyiv (23–25 August 2015)
William Garrison, 16 August 2022

Aircraft Markings – Overview

[early roundels] image by Nozomi Kariyasu, 31 May 2024

The nationality of the air force aircraft is identified by a circle, square, cross, star, or other shape painted on the fuselage. France was the first country to create a nationality marking (roundel) painted on the wings and fuselage of military aircraft, which could be called a "national flag in the sky" in 1912. The roundel was a concentric circle with blue in the center, white and red on the outside, and the same design is still used today. It is said to have originated from the circular cap badge cocarde, a circular ribbon of the same colors as the tricolor flag that was attached to hats during the French Revolution.
The following year, in 1913, Serbia and Romania adopted the roundels, using the colors of their national flags and following the French roundel. In the same year, in Asia, the Republic of China adopted a star-shaped roundel instead of a circle based on the five-color flag, which was the national flag at that time. The year 1914 saw the spread of the practice of placing roundel on military aircraft in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Around the same time, the directional rudders were also painted with vertical fin flashes in the national flag design. Later, the fin flash was repositioned from the rudder to the vertical tail.
During wartime, the color and design of the roundel of the home country were sometimes changed to make them easier to distinguish from those of the enemy. During World War II, the change in British roundel was particularly noticeable. In Europe, where it fought against Germany, the white circle was removed from the wing roundel, and in Asia, where it fought against Japan, the red circle was removed. The United States also frequently changed it roundels during the war, removing the red circles to make them easier to distinguish from the Japanese and to prevent misfiring by friendly forces.
After World War II, many new countries were born and new roundels were created. The Vietnam War prompted the U.S. Air Force to introduce a smaller, less visible, less colorful nationality mark, and many countries followed suit. As with flag designs, military aircraft markings have often been changed after political upheavals, such as the overthrow of a government.
Nozomi Kariyasu, 19 May 2024

Getting independent from Russia in 1917 brought Ukraine almost to chaos, No less then four local air corps were formed, and if you add foreign corps that joined the "celebration", it is quite understood that no one found the time to put thing in order concerning marking. [cos98] reported various markings but I suspect that each report is made upon a single photo and there were much more variations.

There was "Povitrovvi Fl'ot" (Ukrainian People's Republic Air Fleet) and there was the Aviation Regiment of the Ukrainian Galician Army of the Western Ukrainian People’s Republic and there was the Army of the Don Republic and there was the Red Ukrainian Air Fleet.

[cos98] reported that the Povitrovvi Fl'ot used: white disc with yellow blue rings, yellow outlined trident, yellow (fully colored) trident, chequered 2x2 blue yellow square, blue trident on yellow square bordered blue. Ukrainian Galician Army is reported to have a yellow-blue roundel and yellow skull and bones on white disc bordered blue. Don Republic used blue triangle on white disc. Red Ukrainian Air Fleet used the Red Army marking. Website ( show a yellow-blue roundel and national flag as fin flash.
In 1991 Ukraine Air Force ( adopted new markings consist of blue yellow roundel ( and yellow trident on red shield as fin flash ( Those markings are used until today.

However, incorrectly [cos98] shown those markings are in 1991–1992, reports show that from 1992 onward markings are a yellow shield on a blue disc, both as roundel and fin flash. I thing that the base for this mistake is that in 1992, the Ukraine air force sent a MiG-29C for series of displays and air-shows in USA and Canada. As needed by this occasion, the plane was re-painted in blue-yellow finish and trident-on-shield-on-disc markings ( As far as sources show, this was the only plane that had such markings. As expected, the media was overwhelmed by the sight of the former enemy best fighter come to a such visit, and spread the photos everywhere (I found 12 websites show photos of this plane). This was probably enough to come to conclusion that those are the new Ukrainian marking. However, there were 6 years between this visit and [cos98] in which other photos were published, including another well painted MiG-29UB that visit the UK in 1996 with proper marking ( so this could be fixed ...

Dov Gutterman, 27 June 2004

Regulation of aircraft markings by the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine (in Ukrainian).
located by Zachary Harden

Air Force Aircraft Marking

image by Željko Heimer

According to L'Album 2000 [pay00] – Airforce Aircraft Marking – Yellow and blue roundel.
Željko Heimer, 13 May 2003

Naval Aircraft Marking

image by Željko Heimer

According to L'Album 2000 [pay00] – Naval Aircraft Marking – Yellow and blue roundel with a black anchor in the blue disk.
Željko Heimer, 13 May 2003

Fin Flash Marking

image by Zachary Harden

This website shows 4 August 2015 as the date it was adopted, along with relevant specs.
Zachary Harden

Former version (until 2015)

image by Željko Heimer

According to L'Album 2000 [pay00] – Dark blue roundel with yellow trident symbol.
Željko Heimer, 13 May 2003