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Air Force
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Eligibility and Course Duration Industry Size Industry Growth Individual Growth Best Colleges
The Indian Air Force (IAF) the youngest of the three defense services was commissioned on October 8, 1932, with four single-propeller engine Wapiti aircrafts, six pilot officers, two airmen and 19 Hawai Sepoys. N.A. N.A. First Officer to Air Chief Marshall NDA,CDS.
 

The Indian Air Force (IAF) the youngest of the three defense services was commissioned on October 8, 1932, with four single-propeller engine Wapiti aircrafts, six pilot officers, two airmen and 19 Hawai Sepoys. The first Indian Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Subroto Mukherjee one of the founding members of the Air Force took over on 1st April 1954. Today, the IAF is the fourth largest Airforce in the world with its forty-five squadron strength and some of the most sophisticated fighter air crafts like Mirage 2000, MIG 29, MIG 27, Jaguar, MIG 25, MIG 23 and MIG 21. The transport wing has the huge IL 76 (Gajraj), AN 32 and other smaller aircrafts.

Armed Forces offer excellent career opportunities to the adventurous young candidates. Its a career that offers immense facilities, a privileged lifestyle and of course, honour in serving the country. The major activity of the air force is that of flying combat air crafts and helicopters. Other activities include technical work such as aeronautical engineering, electronics, and computer engineering, as well as administrative, financial and planning duties. One can join the Air Force either as an Officer or Airman. The officer cadre provides opportunities for men having 10+2 (Intermediate), graduate, engineering and postgraduate degrees, in their three different branches. Women who are graduates, engineers and post graduates can join as an Officer in the Air force. The officers will be posted either as a Pilot, or a Navigator, or a Technical or a Ground Duty officer in any one of the Air Force bases. Women have opportunities only in the Officer cadre of the Air force. In the Airmen cadre, there are opportunities even for class tenth pass (Matriculate) and below candidates, 10+2 (Intermediate), Diploma, graduates, postgraduates etc in their technical and non-technical trade fields.

 
Officer

One can join the Air Force as an Officer in either one of the three branches, the Flying, Technical or the Ground branch. The officer cadre provides opportunities for men with 10+2 /Intermediate (only in the flying branch), graduates ( all three branches), engineers (all three branches) and postgraduates (all branches except the Flying branch). Women who are graduates, engineers and post graduates can join as an Officer in the Air force. Candidates short-listed after the initial selection procedure, go through a rigorous training regimen at one of the Air Force training establishments. Thereafter, they are commissioned as officers and posted either as a Pilot or a Navigator, or a Technical or a Ground Duty officer at any of the Air Force Stations.

Only the Officer cadre of the Air force provides opportunities for women. But they will be appointed only on 'Short Service Commission' i.e for a term of 10 years which you can extend up to 10 more years depending on your conduct or retire at the age of 40 whichever comes first. Only men will be granted 'Permanent Commission' from the Indian Air Force i.e will be accepted in service, for life. They can also opt for 'Short Service Commission'.

The Flying branch

includes Fighter pilots who fly combat or fighter planes carrying ammunition and missiles; Transport pilots who fly planes which carry men and materials, and Helicopter pilots who provide air support to a moving army, or are used for para-dropping men and supplies. This branch also includes navigators who fly along with the pilot and guide the aircraft by using the latest avionic equipment.

The Technical branch

consists of all the engineering sections which are responsible for the engineering equipment and weapons systems of the air force. Aeronautical engineers in the mechanical department ensure the proper maintenance of all aircraft; while those in the electronics department handle the electronic and communication equipment in aircraft.

The Ground Duties Branch

includes all the departments that provide logistical, meteorological, educational and administrative support to the flying and technical branches. This includes the Air Traffic Control Officer who provides control and advisory services to enable the pilot to conduct flights in total safety. The Fighter Controller monitors the skies for any potential threat and selects the appropriate air defense system using modern electronic equipment to intercept these threats. The logistics Officer is responsible for provisioning the aircraft with spares, fuel, armaments and so on, while the meteorological branch officers are engaged in conducting scientific research on the prevailing weather and atmospheric conditions. There are also other branches such as administration, education and accounts.

Eligibility & Physical Standards

The three branches of the Air force are Flying, Ground duty and Technical branch. The officer cadre provides opportunities for men with 10+2 / Intermediate (only in the Flying branch), graduates (all three branches), engineers (all three branches) and postgraduates (all branches except the Flying branch) in the various positions. Women with graduate (all three branches), engineering (all three branches) and post graduate degrees (all branches except the Flying branch) have openings as an Officer in the Air force. The career options and eligibility for the candidates having different educational qualifications for the Officer Cadre in the different branches of the Air force are given in the following links.

Eligibility: Intermediate (10+2)

Candidates (only Men) with 10+2 qualification, have opportunity to join only the 'Flying branch' of the Air force.

The candidates short-listed after the initial selection procedure, go through a rigorous three-year training regimen at the National Defense Academy (NDA), followed by specialized training at the Air Force Academy ( Flying training establishment). Thereafter, they are commissioned as Officers and posted as pilots at any of the Air Force Stations.

To enter National Defense Academy (NDA)

One has to take an entry level exam conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to join NDA. This exam is conducted twice a year in all major cities throughout India. Apart from the UPSC written Exam, the candidates have to go through a Pilot Aptitude Battery Test, an Intelligence, obstacles and Group Test by Services Selection Board, Medical Exam etc to join the NDA. Entrance to the NDA is solely based on merit.

Basic requirements to join the NDA:

  • Age -19 to 23 years
  • Marital Status - Single
  • Nationality - Indian
  • Gender - This is applicable to both men and women.
  • Educational Qualifications - One should have completed his/hers B.E. (four years) to join the Flying branch.

One should have passed their 10+2 with Physics and Mathematics. You can, however send applications during your 10+2, provided you meet the eligibility criteria at the time of joining the Academy.

Eligibility : Engineer

An Engineer (men and women), can join the Air Force in either of the three branches i.e the Flying, Technical or the Ground branch. He/ She can choose the suitable branch and is required to mention the preference while filling up the application form.

Flying Branch

As an engineer, you enter the Flying branch through the Air Force Academy, one of the most prestigious training establishments of the Indian Air Force. Here you are trained and prepared for your responsibilities as a pilot. You are trained either as a Fighter pilot, or a Helicopter pilot, or a Transport pilot in the Flying branch.

Eligibility criteria for Flying Branch:

  • Age -19 to 23 years
  • Marital Status - Single
  • Nationality - Indian
  • Gender - This is applicable to both men and women.
  • Educational Qualifications - One should have completed his/hers B.E. (four years) to join the Flying branch.

The following are the three modes of entry for Engineers to join the Flying Branch:

Combined Defense Services Examination (CDS)

One can take the Combined Defense Services Examination (conducted by UPSC) to join the Flying Branch of the Indian Air Force. Men can join the Air Force through this mode of entry and will be given a Permanent Commission. Candidates qualifying the written test are interviewed by the Service Selection Board and if finally selected, depending on their merit list ranking, are sent to Air Force Academy, Begum pet, Hyderabad for orientation training.

National Cadet Corps

As a senior division 'C' Certificate holder of the National Cadet Corps, you can apply to the Flying Branch of the Indian Air Force. Men can join the Air Force through this mode of entry and will be given a Permanent Commission.

Women (Short Service Commission)

If you are a woman, you are eligible for a Short Service Commission to the Flying Branch.

Ground Branch

An Engineer can join as an officer in the Meteorological department of the Ground Branch on Permanent commission, for service for life (only for men) or Short Service commission for a service of 10-20 years (for men and women). In this department, you would handle the latest satellite imagery and state-of-the-art monitoring equipment and render specific advice to the operators on all aspects of weather.

Eligibility Criteria for Meteorological department of the Ground branch:

  • Age -20 to 25 years
  • Marital Status-Single
  • Nationality-Indian
  • Gender-This is applicable to both men and women
  • Educational Qualifications-At least 50% in your M.Tech. in Atmospheric Science from IIT, Delhi. 

Technical Branch

An Engineer can apply as an officer in any of the Aeronautical engineering streams such as Electronics and Mechanical of the Technical Branch via Direct Entry Scheme or University Entry Scheme either on Permanent commission (only for men) or Short Service commission (for men and women). One can join the Technical Branch through Direct Entry Scheme, only after completing engineering. Both men and women can use this mode of entry to apply to the Indian Air Force. One can join the Technical Branch through University Entry Scheme, when you are still in your final or Pre-final year of Engineering. You will be entitled to a stipend during your final year. Those selected for Permanent Commission would receive a Flying Officer's basic pay as stipend, while those selected for Short Service Commission would receive half that amount. The basic pay of a Flying Officer is Rs. 8250/- per month. The University Entry scheme is open only to men.

Common Eligibility criteria for the Aeronautical Engineering Streams of the Technical Branch:

  • Age - 18 to 28 years
  • Marital Status- Single
  • Nationality- Indian
  • Gender- The 'Direct entry scheme' is applicable to both men and women but the 'University entry scheme' is applicable only to women.

Aeronautical Engineering (Electronics)

Permanent / Short Service Commission

As an Aeronautical Engineer in the Electronics stream, one will be responsible for the communication and signals required on the Air Force station and also be in charge of the execution of preventive maintenance and servicing of aircraft. With further in-service training, one could also move to the repair and overhaul divisions of the Indian Air Force.

Educational Qualifications

To apply you must have an Engineering degree (in case of Direct Entry) or should be in your pre-final/final year of Engineering (in case of University Entry Scheme) In any of the streams listed below :

  • Electronics
  • Telecommunications
  • Electrical
  • Electrical Communication
  • Electronics and Communication
  • Computer Science and Engineering A combination of the above mentioned subjects.

Eligibility: Graduates

Graduate's (men and women) can join the Air Force in either of the three branches i.e the Flying, Technical or the Ground branch. He/ she can choose the suitable branch and is required to mention the preference while filling up the application form.

Flying Branch

As a graduate, you enter the Flying branch through the Air Force Academy, which is one of the most prestigious training establishments of the Indian Air Force. Here you are trained and prepared for your responsibilities as a pilot. You are trained either as a Fighter pilot, or a Helicopter pilot, or a Transport pilot in the Flying branch.

Eligibility criteria for Flying Branch:

  • Age -19 to 23 years
  • Marital Status - Single
  • Nationality - Indian
  • Gender - This is applicable to both men and women.
  • Educational Qualifications - One should have completed his/hers B.E. (four years) to join the Flying branch.

The following are the three modes of entry for graduates to join the Flying Branch:

Combined Defense Services Examination (CDSE)

One can take the Combined Defense Services Examination (conducted by UPSC) to join the Flying Branch of the Indian Air Force. Men can join the Air Force through this mode of entry and will be given a Permanent Commission. Candidates qualifying the written test are interviewed by the Service Selection Board and if finally selected, depending on their merit list ranking, are sent to Air Force Academy, Begumpet, Hyderabad for orientation training

National Cadet Corps

As a senior division 'C' Certificate holder of the National Cadet Corps, you can apply to the Flying Branch of the Indian Air Force. Men can join the Air Force through this mode of entry and will be given a Permanent Commission.

Women (Short Service Commission)

If you are a woman, you are eligible for a Short Service Commission to the Flying Branch.

Technical Branch

To join as an officer in the Technical Branch, you can apply for any of the Aeronautical engineering streams such as Electronics and Mechanical, through the Direct Entry Scheme.

Aeronautical Engineering (Electronics)

As an Aeronautical Engineer in the Electronics stream, you will be responsible for the communication and signals required on the Air Force station. You will also be in charge of the execution of preventive maintenance and servicing of aircraft. With further in-service training, you could also move to the repair and overhaul divisions of the Indian Air Force.

Eligibility Criteria for Aeronautical Engineering (Electronics) division of the Technical Branch:

  • Age - 18 to 28 years
  • Marital Status - Single
  • Nationality - Indian
  • Gender - Applicable to both men and women.
  • Educational Qualifications:
    B. Tech. in Radio Physics and Electronics from Calcutta University.
    B.Sc. Physics with Electronics from Bombay University OR B.Sc. with Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry. 

You must also possess the following qualifications:

* AMIE or equivalent qualification in Electronics/ Electrical/ Telecommunication/ Radio Engineering/ Avionics/ Associate Membership Examination of Aeronautical Society of India with Avionics Communication. * A minimum of two years practical experience in the discipline of Electronics in a recognized servicing or manufacturing organization.

Aeronautical Engineering (Mechanical)

After you join the Indian Air Force as an Aeronautical Engineer in the Mechanical stream, you could be placed at a position that requires you to be involved with preventive maintenance and servicing of aircraft or of common user and specialist application vehicles. You could also be involved in the safety and maintenance of firearms and ammunition at an Air Force Base.

Eligibility Criteria for Aeronautical Engineering (Mechanical) division of the Technical Branch :

  •  Age - 18 to 28 years
  •  Marital Status - Single
  •  Nationality - Indian
  •  Gender - Applicable to both men and women.
  •  Educational Qualification
    You should have completed B.Sc. with Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry. 

In addition, you should also possess the following qualifications:

* AMIE or equivalent qualification or Associate Membership Examination Part II and III of Aeronautical Society of India with Group I (Design and Production) or Group II (Maintenance, Repair and overhaul) subjects. * A minimum of two years practical experience in the discipline of Electronics in a recognized servicing or manufacturing organization.

Ground Duty Branches

To join as an officer in the Ground Branch, you can apply for any of the divisions of the branch such as the Administrative, Accounts and Logistics division. The Ground Duty Branch is the Mechanism that steers the Indian Air Force by managing human and material resources.

The common eligible criteria for the Divisions of the Ground Duty Branch :

  • Age - 20 to 23 years
  • Marital Status - Single
  • Nationality - Indian 
  • Gender - This is applicable to both men and women.
  • Educational Qualifications
    A graduate degree( B.Com in case of Accounts Division) with a minimum score of 60%

Administrative Branch

As an officer in the Administrative Department, you will be responsible for the efficient management of both human and material resources. Some of the officers of the Administrative Branch are selected to carry out the duties as an 'Air Traffic Controller' maintaining an orderly flow of traffic and airspace management or a 'Flight Controller' where you will be posted to an Air Defense radar unit and will be responsible for close contact and supervision between the air and radar for effective airspace management.

Accounts Branch

As an officer in the Accounts Branch, you are responsible for efficient management of funds as well as disbursement of pay and allowances to Air Force personnel. You will also act as internal auditor to ensure a zero-defect audit from outside agencies. To be an officer in the Accounts Branch one must be a graduate in Commerce B.Com/ B.Com (Honours) with minimum score of 60%

Logistics Branch

As an officer in the logistics department, you will undertake material management of all Air Force resources. From clothing to aircraft equipment, you will ensure efficient supervision of inventories and availability of necessary items to all operators and users.

Eligibility : Post Graduate

As a post graduate (men and women) , one can join as an officer in the Air force only in the Technical and Ground duty branch. In the Technical Branch, an M Sc Electronics holder subject to certain specifications, can join as an Aeronautical Engineer in the Electronics stream.

Technical Branch

Aeronautical Engineering (Electronics)

As a post graduate you can join the Technical Branch as an Aeronautical Engineer (Electronics). One will be responsible for the communication and signals required on the Air Force station and in charge of the execution of preventive maintenance and servicing of aircraft. With further in-service training, you could also move to the repair and overhaul divisions of the Indian Air Force.

Eligibility criteria

  • Age - 18 to 28 years
  • Marital Status - Single
  • Nationality - Indian
  • Gender -Applicable to both men and women. 
  • Educational Qualifications - M.Sc. Electronics from any of the following universities:
    Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Gujarat, Lucknow, Calcutta 

Ground Duty Branches

After completing your post graduation, both men and women can enter any of sub branches of the Ground Duty Branch such as Administrative, Accounts, Education, Logistics and Meteorological Branches on Permanent Commission (only for Men) or Short service Commission (both for men and women).

Common Eligibility criteria for Administrative, Accounts, Education, Logistics and Meteorological divisions of the Ground Duty Branch :

  • Age - 20 to 25 years
  • Marital Status - Single 
  • Nationality - Indian 
  • Gender - Applicable to both men and women. 

Administrative Division

As an officer in the Administrative Department, you will be responsible for the efficient management of men and material resources. Some of the officers of the Administrative Branch are selected to carry out the duties as an 'Air Traffic Controller' maintaining an orderly flow of traffic and airspace management or a 'Flight Controller' where you will be posted to an Air Defense radar unit and will be responsible for close contact and supervision between the air and radar for effective airspace management.

Along with the eligibility criteria common to all the divisions one must have the following Educational Qualifications

  • M.B.A. or post graduate Diploma in Business Administration 
  • Two year full time or three year part-time from an Institute recognized by the All India Council for Technical Education with a combination of any two of the following subjects at a B.A. / B.Sc. level:
  • English, Psychology, Defense Studies, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics
  • Law Graduates (3 / 5 years) with 50% and above (the age limit is relaxed up to 26 years).

Accounts Division

As an officer in the Accounts Branch, you are responsible for efficient management as well as disbursement of pay and allowances to Air Force personnel. You will also act as internal auditor to ensure a zero-defect audit from outside agencies.

Along with the eligibility criteria common to all the divisions� one must have the following Educational Qualifications

  • M.Com.
  • AICWA / Chartered / Registered / Incorporate / Accountant with M.Com. (Age limit is relaxed up to 27years.)

Education Division

As an officer in the Education Branch, you will be responsible for the successful implementation of various educational programs organized at the Air Force bases. You will also be in charge of structuring libraries to ensure all requisite study material is available for officers undertaking in-service courses.

Along with the eligibility criteria common to all the divisions one must have the following Educational Qualifications

  • M.A./ M.Sc. in any of the following subjects: English, Psychology, Defense Studies, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, Computer Science
  • M.Ed. (The age limit is extended to 27 years)
  • M.B.A. or post graduate Diploma in Business Administration
  • Two year full time or three year part-time from an Institute recognized by the All India Council for Technical Education with a combination of any two of the following subjects at a B.A. / B.Sc. level: English, Psychology, Defense Studies, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics
  • Ph.D. (The age limit is extended to 27 years)

Logistics Division

As an officer in the logistics department, you will undertake material management of all Air Force resources. From clothing to aircraft equipment, you will ensure efficient supervision of inventories and availability of necessary items to all operators and users.

Along with the eligibility criteria common to all the divisions� one must have the following Educational Qualifications

  • M.B.A. or post graduate Diploma in Business Administration
  • Two year full time or three year part-time from an Institute recognized by the All India Council for Technical Education with a combination of any two of the following subjects at a B.A. / B.Sc. level:
    English, Psychology, Defense Studies, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics
  • Law Graduates (3 / 5 years) with 50% and above (the age limit is relaxed up to 26 years).

Meteorological Division

As an officer in the Meteorological Branch, you would be required to render specific advice to the operators on all aspects of weather. With the latest satellite imagery and state-of-the-art monitoring equipment, you would be able to forecast changes in weather-both long and short term.

Educational Qualifications

You may apply if you have scored a minimum of 50% in any of the following courses:

  • M.Sc. in any of the following subjects:
    Physics, Applied Physics, Meteorology, Geophysics with Meteorology and Oceanography, Oceanography with specialization in Meteorology
  • M.A./ M.Sc. in any of the following subjects:
    Mathematics, Applied Mathematics
  • M.Tech. in Atmospheric Science from IIT, Delhi.

Selection

The selection procedure for picking the candidates is quite strict and elaborate. The four steps involved are:

  • Scanning of Application
  • Testing Officer like Qualities
  • Conducting Medical Examinations
  • Preparing All India Merit List

Scanning of Application

After checking all eligibility wise application forms for the three branches, you will receive a call letter with further instructions.

If you have applied to the Flying Branch through the NDA or CDSE, your applications will be sent for processing to UPSC. There after you will receive a call letter for writing the UPSC Exam. Men after clearing the UPSC Exams take the pilot aptitude battery test (PABT). If you are a woman applying for the Short Service Commission or applying as an NCC Senior Division 'C' Certificate Holder, you skip the UPSC Exams, and move to the next step i.e PABT, after your application has been processed. PABT comprises a written test in which a candidate's perception and grasp of the subject is gauged. This is followed by two machine tests for checking the basic co-ordination and psychomotor skills.

If you have applied to the Ground Duty Branch, your application will be sent to the Air Headquarters for short-listing. Then the candidates need to undergo an officer intelligence-rating test.

If you have applied to the Technical Branch, you will be required to take the Engineering Knowledge Test (EKT). If you pass the EKT, you move to the next step

Testing Officer like Qualities

After you have successfully cleared Step 1, you will receive a call letter to report to any one of the Air Force Selection Boards (AFSB) located at Dehradun, Varanasi and Mysore. At the Air Force Selection Boards, you undergo a number of psychological tests, an interview and group activities, which are collectively called the Officer Like Qualities (OLQ) Tests.

The Psychological Tests are written tests that are conducted by a Psychologist.

The Group Tests are interactive indoor and outdoor tests. We expect active physical participation from you.

The Interview involves a personal conversation with our Interviewing Officer.

All of the above are screening tests. If you do not make the passing grades, you are routed back home the same day. If you have applied through NDA/CDSE (for Flying Branch) there is no screening; you are tested for your second/third choice of Army and Navy.

At the conference held on the last day, all the assessors, i.e. the Psychologist, Ground Testing Officer and the Interviewing Officer, discuss your performance. Based on your performance, you will be selected for the next step.

Conducting Medical Examinations

If you have applied for the Flying branch and are found suitable by the Selection Board, you would be sent to the Air Force Central Medical Establishment, New Delhi or the Institute of Aviation Medicine, Bangalore for a thorough medical examination.

If you have applied for the Technical or Ground Duty Branches and are found suitable, you would be asked to return home and await a call for a medical examination depending upon your position in the merit list.

Preparing All India Merit List

An All India merit list is compiled on the basis of your performance at the group tests as well as the medical examination. If you qualify the merit list, depending upon vacancies, you are instructed to go to the training academy.

Source

Indian Air force Official site

Application

Flying branch

The time of release of advertisements varies for the different modes of entry for the Flying Branch.

Ground Duty Branches

The time of release of advertisements varies for the Air Traffic Controller/Fighter Controller and other Ground Duty Branches are as below :

Source

Indian Air force Official site

Remuneration

Air Force not only offers you an adventurous and challenging career, but also takes care of all your needs including basic accommodation, health care, recreational areas, education facilities for your children etc.

Even before you are commissioned as an Air Force officer you start earning a monthly stipend of Rs. 8000/- during your training period at any of the Air Force Training Establishments. And on successful completion of your training you receive the retrospective D.A. for the complete training period.

Once you are commissioned as a Flying Officer, besides getting an attractive pay package, you and your family enjoy an excellent way of life. Depending on your branch, you start your career with the following emoluments on the grant of Permanent Commission:

The other benefits include living accommodation with 2-3 bed rooms (depending upon the rank), Insurance cover of Rs 10 lakhs at low premium rates, an annual leave of 60 days and 20 days causal leave,liberal Leave Travel Concessions to you and your family, Liberal loans for purchase of cars, computer or a house from the Air Force Group Insurance Society, Medical Facilities including specialist services to you and your family, Ration, Schooling facilities and opportunities for higher learning and facilities for recreational as well as competitive sports and other adventure activities.

After retirement, you are offered a large number of benefits like pension, medical facilities, use of the canteen etc.

The following is the pay you get according to your rank and branch chosen:

Gross Annual Income (approx.)

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