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Career in Indian Air Force



The Indian air force (IAF) is one the divisions of the Indian armed forces, who takes the responsibility of defending the airspace of the nation. The air force department involves in airborne warfare, during the times of war. The department of IAF also holds the responsibility of being an active participant in UN’s peacemaking missions. Indian Air Force owes the pride of being the fourth top air force among the globe, and the first three positions are being owned by US Air Force, Russian Air Force and China’s People Liberation Army Air Force, respectively.

Indian Air Force has three divisions of recruitment, viz., Officers, Airmen and Non Combatants. The eligibility and the selection process will vary according to the importance of the particular division. Being a sportsperson is a big advantage to become a member of Indian Air Force. Mostly, bachelor male sportsmen are always given the first preference, due to the physical needs of the place. The sportsman quota comes under the Group Y trade.

Broadly the Air Force has three branches with further sub-streams:

(a) Flying Branch

  • Fighters
  • Transports
  • Helicopters

(b)  Technical Branch

  • Mechanical
  • Electronics

(c)  Ground Duty Branch

  • Administration
  • Accounts
  • Logistics
  • Education
  • Meteorology

Flying Branch 

The various modes of entry into the Flying Branch are:

  1. As a Graduate 
  2. NDA (National Defence Academy): As a Graduate/ Engineer, you enter the Flying branch through the Air Force Academy. 

The following are the three modes of entry for Graduates/ Engineers to join the Flying branch: 

  • CDSE (Combined Defence Services Examination ) For Men Only

Men can enter through this mode of entry and will get a Permanent Commission.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Age - 19 to 23 years (at the time of commencement of course)
  • Nationality – Indian
  • Marital Status - Single
  • Gender - Men only
  • Educational Qualifications

Graduate (Three Year Course) in any discipline from a recognized University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) / BE / B Tech (Four Year Course).

Final Year/semester students are also eligible to apply, provided they produce Degree certificate issued by the University as per the date stipulated in the advertisement.

No Percentage Bar for CDSE entry.

Advertisement Schedule: Advertisements are released by UPSC in the months of June and October

Technical Branch
Modes of entry into Aeronautical Engineering Branch the are:

 General Eligibility for Aeronautical Engineering Branch are (applicable for men and women):

  • Age - 18 to 28 years (at the time of commencement of course)
  • Nationality - Indian
  • Marital Status - Candidates below the age of 25 years should be unmarried

Entry into the Technical Branch is through two schemes, both via AFCAT

1.            University Entry Scheme (UES)

  • For candidates studying in Pre-Final year of B-tech/BE degrecourse
  • For men only. Grant of Permanent Commission.
  • Educational Qualifications: The candidate must be currently studying in Pre-final year of BE / B.Tech degree course with choice of subject as mentioned above. There must be No backlog / arrears of papers of previous semesters at the time of SSB Testing. On completion of degree, minimum 60% of marks in aggregate in all papers put together are mandatory.

Advertisement Schedule: December every year (through AFCAT)

2.     Aeronautical Engineering Course

  • After completion of Engineering degree or while in your final year/semester of Engineering
  • For both Men and Women. Permanent Commission (for men) / Short Service Commission (For men and women)
  • Marks - Must have scored a minimum of 60% marks in aggregate in all the papers put together in any one of the qualifications listed
  • Final year students are eligible to apply provided they do not have any present backlog at the time of SSB testing and they produce provisional/ original degree issued by the University as per the date stipulated in the advertisement.

 Advertisement Schedule - Advertisements for AFCAT are released by the IAF in the months of June and December.

Educational Qualification for Aeronautical Engineering Branch – Depending upon your stream of Engineering and subjects studied, you could join one of the sub branches of the Technical branch. Check the educational qualification required for the sub branches.

Aeronautical Engineering (Electronics)  

Aeronautical Engineering (Mechanical) 

Ground Duty Branches 
(For Graduates/ Post Graduates)
Managing human and material resources, the Ground Duty Branch is the mechanism that steers the Indian Air Force.
General Eligibility Criteria for Ground Duty Branches

  • Age - 20 to 23 Years for Graduates and 20 to 25 years for Post Graduates (at the time of commencement of course). Upper age limit relaxed upto 26 years for Law Graduates (3 Years Course), upto 27 years for CA / ICWA / M Ed / Ph D.
  • Marital Status - Candidates below the age of 25 years must be Unmarried.
  • Nationality - Indian
  • Gender - Both men and women. 

As a Graduate/ Post Graduate you can join as an officer in any of the following Ground Duty Branches

(a)    Administration Branch

Permanent Commission (for Men) / Short Service Commission (for Men and Women)

  • Responsible for the efficient management of both human and material resources. Some of the officers of the Administration Branch are selected and trained to carry out the following duties also:
  • Air Traffic Controller  – Involves maintaining an orderly flow of traffic and airspace management.
  • Fighter Controller  – Involves close contact and supervision between the air and radar for effective airspace management.

Educational Qualifications

  • Graduation degree in any discipline with a minimum 60% marks in aggregate in all papers put together

OR

  • Post Graduation degree / equivalent diploma in any discipline with a minimum 50% marks in aggregate in all papers put together.

(b)    Accounts Branch

  • Permanent Commission (for Men) / Short Service Commission (for Men & Women)
  • Responsible for efficient financial management of funds.You will also act as internal auditor to ensure a zero-defect audit from outside agencies.

Educational Qualifications

  • Graduate Degree in Commerce (B Com) with a minimum 60% marks in aggregate in all papers put together

OR

  • Post Graduate Degree in Commerce (M Com) / CA / ICWA with a minimum 50% marks in aggregate in all papers put together. 

(c)    Logistics Branch

  • Permanent Commission (for Men) / Short Service Commission (for Men & Women)
  • Responsible for materials management of all Air Force resources. You would ensure efficient supervision of inventories, and involve in procurement processes of various ranges of equipment.

Educational Qualifications

  • Graduation degree in any discipline with a minimum 60% marks in aggregate in all papers put together

OR

  • Post Graduation Degree/ equivalent diploma in any discipline with a minimum 50% marks in aggregate in all papers put together. 

As a Post Graduate you can join in the following Ground Duty Branches.

(d)  Education Branch

  • Educational Qualifications - Post Graduate Degree in any discipline with a minimum of 50% marks in aggregate in all papers put together.

(e)  Metrology Branch

As a Meteorology Branch Officer you would be involved handling the latest satellite imagery and state-of-the-art monitoring equipment, you would render specific advice to the operators on all aspects of weather.

Educational Qualifications

Post Graduate Degree in any Science Stream/Mathematics/Statistics / Geography/ Computer Applications/Environmental Science/Applied Physics/ Oceanography/ Agricultural Meteorlogy/ Ecology & Environment / Geo- physics / Environmental Biology. All candidates should have scored a minimum of 50% marks in aggregate in all papers of Post Graduation put together and should have studied Maths & Physics in Graduation with minimum of 55% marks in both subjects.

Advertisement Schedule: Advertisements for AFCAT are released by the IAF in the months of June and December

NDA (National Defence Academy)

The valiant boys could be part of the Indian Air Force family by applying for NDA (National Defence Academy) 

Candidates, short-listed for Indian Air Force after the initial selection procedure, go through a rigorous three-year training regimen at the National Defence Academy at Khadakwasla, followed by specialised training at one of the AF Training Establishments. On successful completion, they are Commissioned as Permanent Commission Officers and posted as pilots at any of the Air Force Stations.

You can join NDA by taking the exam conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). This exam is conducted twice a year in all major cities throughout India.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Age - 16 ½ to 19 years (at the time of commencement of course)
  • Nationality - Indian
  • Gender  - Men only
  • Educational Qualifications - 10+2 with Physics and Mathematics. Students appearing in final year are also eligible to apply.
  • Advertisement Schedule -  May and December. (Advertisement is released by UPSC. Visit www.upsc.gov.in)

After you have cleared the selection procedure, you are sent to one of the Air Force training establishments. Here you undergo scientifically planned rigorous physical and academic training that is aimed to gear you for life in the Indian Air Force.

All Air Force training establishments are equipped with the state-of-the-art infrastructure and best of the facilities including institutes, swimming pools, squash courts etc. Once you join these training establishments, the IAF takes care of all your requirements like messing, lodging etc. and also gives you a monthly stipend during the last one year of training.

  • Even before you are Commissioned as an Air Force Officer you start earning a monthly stipend of Rs. 21,000/- during last one year of your training period at any of the Air Force Training Institutions.
  • The following Pay / Allowances would be applicable on grant of Commission to Flying Officers:-
    1. Pay in Pay Band ( Common to all Branches ) - Rs 15,600 Per Month ( The officer will be placed in PB 3 - 15600-39100 )
    2. Grade Pay :- Rs 5400 PM
    3. Military Service Pay :- Rs 6000 PM
    4. Dearness Allowance @ 72 percent :- Rs 19440 PM
    5. Kit Maintenance Allowance :- Rs 500 PM
    6. Transport Allowance :- Rs 3200 + DA ( major cities) / 1600 + DA ( Other cities)
  • In addition the following allowances are admissible to the newly Commissioned Officers in Flying and Technical Branches
    1. Flying Allowance @ Rs 11250 PM to Flying Branch Officers.
    2. Technical Allowance @ Rs 2500 PM to Technical Branch Officers.
  • Gross Monthly Emoluments :The first monthly pay package of Flying Officers in all the branches would be as under (This does not Include other allowances based on place of posting except Transport Allowance of major cities which is included)

 

Flying Branch

Technical Branch

Ground Duty Branch

Total Emoluments (in Rs)

63694/-

54944/-

52444/-

As you grow in rank and stature in the Air Force, your income and other entitlements also increase in harmony with your enhanced responsibilities.

Selection Process

STEP 1 – RESPOND TO ADVERTISEMENT FOLLOWED BY WRITTEN TEST

  •  
    1. For NDA and CDSE
  • The advertisement for NDA is released twice a year in the months of May and December and for CDSE in the months of June and October by UPSC.
  • Duly filled applications are to be sent to UPSC as given in advt.
  • The written tests are conducted by UPSC only. For details visit www.upsc.gov.in
  • For all entries other than NDA and CDSE and for all branches, candidates have to undergo the AFCAT.
  • The test is conducted twice a year in February and September
  • Advertisements inviting applications for AFCAT are out in June and December. Candidates are to apply as per the advertisement.
  • The test is conducted all across India by the Indian Air Force

 AFCAT – Air Force Common Admission Test.

 

  1.  NCC entry
  2. Air Sqn NCC Senior division ‘C’ certificate holders are to apply through DG NCC/ respective NCC Air Squadron. They would then appear for AFCAT

 

STEP 2 - SSB (Services Selection Board) TESTING

If you have successfully cleared Step 1, you will receive a Call letter to report to any one of the Air Force Selection Boards located at Dehradun, Varanasi, Gandhinagar and Mysore. At the Air Force Selection Board (AFSB), you undergo following tests in order to ascertain your suitability and gauge your potential as an Officer in the Indian Air Force.

1. Stage I Testing

  • Officer Intelligence rating Test
  • Picture perception and Discussion Test


Stage I is a screening test. Those who qualify Stage-I are eligible to undergo Stage II testing. Stage I disqualified candidates are routed back after announcement of results

2. Stage II Testing

All Stage I qualified candidates undergo following tests as part of Stage II testing during next three to four days

  • Psychological Tests are written tests that are conducted by a Psychologist.
  • Group Tests are interactive indoor and outdoor activities which are a combination of mental and physical work.
  • Interview involves a personal conversation with an Interviewing Officer.

These tests will be explained to you in detail before they are conducted at the Selection Board.

The following is the schedule for OLQ Tests:

 

FLYING

TECHNICAL

GROUND DUTY

Day 1

Phase I testing – Officers Intelligence Rating Test & Picture Perception and Discussion test

Day 2

Group tests

Group tests   

Group tests   

Day 3

Group tests

Group tests   

Group tests   

Day 4

Interview

Interview

Interview

Day 5

Conference

Conference   

Conference   

Day 6

PABT*

 

 

Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT) is a unique test. It is aimed at assessing a candidate’s aptitude to be trained as a pilot. PABT is being used as an independent selection device to induct potential officers into Flying Branch of Indian Air Force. PABT comprises three tests viz Instrument Battery Test (INSB), Sensory Motor Apparatus Test (SMA) and Control Velocity Test (CVT). Instrument Battery Test (INSB) is a paper pencil test and other two are machine tests. The Instruments Battery Test (INSB) comprises two parts. This test assesses assimilation of the briefing and the ability of an individual to read and interpret the dials of an instrument panel of an aircraft. The candidates who score the minimum laid down criteria are subjected to the machine test. The machine test includes Sensory Motor Apparatus Test (SMA) and Control Velocity Test (CVT). These tests measure the psychomotor co-ordination skill of the individual. These tests are conducted on a single day and administered only once in life time.

At the Conference held on the last day, all the Assessors i.e. the Psychologist, Ground Testing Officer and the Interviewing Officer, discuss your personality and decide on whether to recommend you or not. Those recommended by the AFSBs will be required to fill up certain documents at the Boards and subsequently move to the next step.

STEP 3 - CONDUCT OF MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS

If you are recommended by the Selection Board, you will be sent for the medical examination either at Air Force Central Medical Establishment (AFCME), New Delhi or Institute of Aviation Medicine, Bengaluru.

STEP 4 - PREPARING ALL INDIA MERIT LIST

An All India Merit List is compiled on the basis of your performance in the written test and AFSB interview, subject to being medically fit. Based on the vacancies available in various branches / sub branches, joining instructions are issued to join one of the Training establishments.

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