KDF Salaries, Ranks, and Allowances in 2024

The Kenya Defence Forces serves under Kenya’s Ministry of Defense established in 1964. The force has three main branches, which are the Kenya Navy, Kenya Army, and Kenya Air Force. It also has different ranks, and the salaries depend on the ranks and how long one has served. The ranks, on the other side, will depend on the officer’s level of education and years of experience. Today, we’ll discuss in detail the KDF salaries, ranks, and allowances.

Keep reading if you want to know how much our men and women in uniform pocket monthly in terms of salaries and allowances.

The Ranks

KDF salaries and allowances are based on the ranks of the officers. So, the ranks are important when it comes to monetary appreciation. 

Here are the ranks in the Kenya Defense Forces

Non-Commissioned Officers

Also referred to as NCOs, they are officers who did not pursue any commission. They basically earn their position through promotions they get. These are the ranks of the NCOs from the lowest to the highest.

  • Cadet: These are the officers still in training.
  • Private: This is the most junior rank in KDF. To qualify for this rank, an officer has to pass the 1st training. They are paid from kes. 
  • Lance corporal: If a private serves the KDF for three years or passes phase, they become a lance corporal. They are mostly responsible and in charge of up to 4 soldiers, where this group is known as a section. 
  • Corporal: An officer attains this rank after they have served in the military for about 6 to 8 years. An officer will be promoted to this depending on their leadership skills. A corporal manages a bigger team of soldiers than a lance corporal. They also manage military equipment such as guns and tanks. 
  • Sergeant: If the corporal serves well in the corporal rank for 12 years, they will be promoted to sergeant. A sergeant may be given a responsibility to govern over 35 soldiers.
  • Senior sergeant: An officer gets this rank if they serve well under the sergeant rank. At this point, an officer is given a team of up to 120 soldiers. They are in charge of decision-making in the team and the equipment, too.
  • Warrant Officer II: This officer will have the responsibility of overseeing the training, discipline, and prosperity of over 120 soldiers.
  • Warrant Officer I: This is one of the highest ranks in the KDF. The officer gains this position after 18 years of great service in the military. This warrant officer is in charge of commanding more than 650 officers.

Find Out: List Of Marketable Courses To Pursue In Kenya

Commissioned Officers

These officers join the military after training at the Kenya Military Academy located in Nakuru County. 

  • Cadet: This is the lowest rank among the commissioned officers. They attain this position after completing their training in the Kenya Military Academy.
  • Second lieutenant: This is a rank that is held by an officer for about three years. The officer has to pass special training to become a second lieutenant.
  • Lieutenant: An officer will be promoted to lieutenant after three years of excellent service while under the second lieutenant rank.
  • Captain: These officers are in charge of up to 120 officers. They mainly deal with decision-making and planning.
  • Major: This is one of the highest positions an officer can attain in the military. It is achieved after serving for 8-10 years. Similar to a captain, a major will have a charge of up to 120 officers.
  • Lieutenant Colonel: This officer is in charge of up to 650 officers that are in 4 – 5 subunits. 
  • Colonel: They are not field officers and are in charge of advising senior officers. They also serve as staff officers that are between brigades or even battalion-level fields.
  • Brigadier: They are field officers in charge of a staff director or a brigade.
  • Major General: They are sometimes referred to as two-star generals. They are in charge of the promotions of the other officers.
  • Lieutenant general: This person oversees corps-sized formations. It’s also considered as the second most important rank in the military.
  • General: This is the highest rank in the military, and only one person holds this rank.

Find Out: The 12 Best Paying Companies In Kenya

The Salaries

The salaries of the Kenya Defense Forces are reviewed every four months. Here is a table summary of the salaries of some of these officers:

RankMonthly Salary Range (Ksh)
Cadet (in training) 7,172
Private19,000- 30,000
Lance corporal26509 – 50,000
Corporal32,250 – 70,000
Senior Sergeant50,220
Warrant Officer II100,000
Warrant Officer I120,000
Captain78,182 – 110,000
Major102,106 – 150,000
Lieutenant colonel130, 735 – 180,000
Colonel152,000 – 300,000
Lieutenant general632, 984 – 800,000
Vice Chief of defense forced927, 500 –  900,000
Chief of Defense forces1,120,000
Commissioned Officers Salaries

Kenya Air Force Ranks

This is the branch of the KDF in charge of Kenyan aerial safety. It is divided into two: the officers and the airmen.

Here are the ranks of the Air Force commissioned officers:

  • Air Marshall: They are the highest rank in the Air Force and are responsible for decision-making, policy formulation, and directing the whole Air Force department.
  • Air Vice Marshall: They are the second rank in the Air Force and they also oversee regions and the running of the whole Air Force.
  • Air Commodore: They are assigned units within the Air Force and are responsible for the readiness of these units.
  • Group Captain: They are also in charge of some groups and certain wings in the Air Force.
  • Wing Commander: They are in charge of larger wings and groups in the air force. They plan the operations of these wings and take charge of their operations.
  • Squadron Leader: As the name suggests, they take charge of a squadron. A squadron consists of many Air Force officers and equipment.
  • Flight Lieutenant: They are charged with commanding units of aircraft as well as handling some difficult flying tasks. Some of them might be given positions as flight commanders, operational planners, and instructors.
  • Flying Officer: They also take some significant responsibilities while they gain experience in aviation. They may acquire some positions such as junior flight commanders or flight assistants.
  • Pilot Officer: For commissioned Air Force officers this is an entry-level position. Their responsibilities include initial training where they learn the basics of aviation and they also assist officers in the higher ranks.

Kenya Air Force Salaries

The table below shows how much those in Kenya Air Force earn monthly:

RankMonthly salaries in KES
Air vice Marshall927,500
Air commodore906,014
Wing commander157,317
Squadron leader130,735
Flight lieutenant102,106
Flying officer73,182
Leading aircraftman II19,941
Kenya Air Force Salaries

Kenya Navy Ranks

They are the naval branch of the KDF and are headquartered in Mombasa. Like the rest of the branches, these, too, have their ranks and different payslips. 

Here are the ranks of the Kenya Navy branch:

  • Junior seaman
  • Leading seaman
  • Able  seaman
  • Midshipman
  • Lieutenant
  • Commander 
  • Captain
  • Admiral
  • Commodore
  • Commander of Navy

Kenya Navy Salaries

Different ranks in the Kenya Navy branch also have different salaries. The amount of salary an officer gets depends on the rank they have in this branch of KDF. 

Here is a summary table of Kenya Navy ranks and their monthly salaries:

RankMonthly Salary in Ksh.
Commander of Navy902, 432
Commander 130,735
Able seaman32,250
Leading seaman26,509
Junior seaman19,941
Kenya Navy Monthly Salaries

KDF Allowances

KDF officers don’t just receive a salary; they also have other allowances not included in the salaries mentioned above. They have free health coverage and also live on tax-free meals.

The government ensures that they are well taken care of beyond their salary remuneration. However, this does not mean they are exempted from tax. Their salaries are subject to tax no matter the rank an officer is carrying.

These allowances are not publicly published so it might be impossible to give the approximate amounts. Note that some of the higher ranked officers may receive working cars or even houses.