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Career Library

Indian Air Force


Indian Air Force established in the year 1932. Since then it has become an indispensable part of the Indian defense services. Currently, it has seven commands, five of which are functional and two are non-functional. It has shown tremendous progress and advancements over the years and has served the country at the times of need be it during wartime or during disasters. An evidence of its strength and commend ability comes from the fact that it was named Royal Indian Air Force in 1945 as a result of the recognition of its services and achievements in World War II. India has a credible air power which is counted as one amongst the best in the world. It is considered to be the seventh powerful air force of the world. Currently, it is served by 1.8 lakh personnel, more than 500 transport aircrafts and helicopters, and more than 600 combat aircrafts. This strength makes it the fourth largest Air Force of the world.

Career Opportunities in the Indian Air Force

  • Flying Branch
    This branch deals with pilots, be it fighter pilots, transport pilots or helicopter pilots. They work not just during wartime, but during peace as well. These are the ones who are involved in raiding enemy bunkers, troops, air force stations, artillery sites, do surveillance, provide support to the infantry, help in disaster relief programs.
  • Technical Branch
    This branch of Indian Air Force handles the technical and mechanical needs and requirements of the Air Force, which are an important asset of the nation. From maintenance to performing to replacing the faulty parts as well as giving suggestions and designing efficient machines also comes under this section of the Air Force.
  • Ground Duty Branch
    This is the branch of the Air Force, which looks into the logistics, administration, accounting, education as well as meteorology departments. They are the ones who manage human as well as financial resources allotted to the Air Force. One can work as an internal auditor, fighter controller, air traffic controller, handling the latest satellite imagery, supervision of inventories, etc.

How to Pursue a Career in the Indian Air Force

Stream Graduation After Graduation After Post Graduation
path 1
Clear Class XII in Science Stream (Mathematics and Physics) Pass the National Defense Academy (NDA) Exam to join the Indian Air Force --
path 2
Clear Class XII in Science Stream (Mathematics and Physics) Pursue graduation in Any Discipline (Open to pre-final year students if they have the required Certificate) Pass the CDS/AFCAT Exam and UPSC Eligible to join through NCC Special Scheme Entry provided you have "C" Certificate -
path 3
Clear Class XII in Science Stream (Mathematics and Physics)Pursue graduation in B.Tech/BE for 4 years Give the EKT Exam to get enrolled into Indian Air force -
path 4
Clear Class XII in Science Stream (Mathematics and Physics) Pursue graduation in B.Tech/ BE for 4 years and apply in Pre - Final YearGive the UES Exam to get enrolled in Indian Airforce -

Important Facts

  • One can appear for CDS while in final year of graduation as well.
  • Most of these exams are conducted twice a year.
  • Not all these exams are open for females.
  • For NDA age range is 16.5 years to 19 years.
  • NDA is open only to male unmarried candidates.
  • One needs to be a citizen of India or Nepal/Bhutan/Tibet refugee to apply.
  • Age range for entrances after graduation is 20-26 years.
  • Minimum 60% aggregate in graduation is needed.
  • Apart from educational criteria, physical as well as medical standards as set by Indian Air Force should also be met to be eligible.

Leading Institutes

Top Indian Airforce Training Institutes
College Location Website
National Defense College Khadakwasla www.nda.nic.in
Air Force Academy Dundigal, Andhra Pradesh www.indianairforce.nic.in/show_page.php?pg_id=80

Indian Air Force Entrance Exams

College Tentative Date Important Elements Website
NDA April- May and Sept- Oct. Written – Objective & MCQ (negative marking)   Part 1 is a Math based paper Part 2 is a General Ability Test (English, Physics, Chemistry, Math, General Knowledge, History, Geography and Current Events). The duration of both the papers is 2 and half hours each.  
  1. Interview- SSB
  2. Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT) (appear once in lifetime)- Include written and machine tests to evaluate you on the basis of your ability to read instruments, control of your actions and mental strength
  3.Medical Examination    
Institution Tentative Date Important Elements Website
Combined Defence Service Examination (CDSE) (Enginners/ only for graduates, male only) June- July & Dec (Forms) Sep (Exam) Written- English, Math and General Knowledge(Objective/ MCQ) – Negative marking   SSB interview Stage 1 includes an Officer Intelligence Test and a Picture perception Test Stage 2 which will comprise of a psychological tests, group tasks and a personal interview.   Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT) www.upsc.gov.in/, http
National Cadet Corpe (NCC) Special Entry (men) June & Dec Obtain Air Wing Senior Division ‘C’ Certificate of the NCC to be eligible to enter the Air Force Flying Branch    In “A” & “B” certificate in NCC “C” Certificate then one can come directly for SSB, otherwise   Written test, SSB interview and PABT -
Short Service Commission (SSC) Men & Women February and September. AFCAT (Airforce commission admission test   Written Exam   First stage:verbal ability, numerical ability, reasoning, general awareness and military aptitude. Second Stage: 1) Intelligence Test                         2) psychological test conducted by a psychologist, group tests and a personal interview.   Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT) Medical Examination   www.careerairforce.nic.in http
University Entry Scheme (UES) (Pre- final year engg) December -AFCAT Written exam -Interview (SSB) -GD -Personal Interview -Medical www.careerairforce.nic.in
Administration Branch Logistics Branch Accounts Branch Education Branch (PG student) Meteorology Branch (PG student) June & Dec AFCAT written   SSB Interview   Personal Interview   Medical exam www.careerairforce.nic.in

Work Description

  • Fly combat or fighter planes carrying ammunition and missiles
  • Transport pilots fly planes which carry men and materials
  • Provide air support to a moving army, or for para-dropping men and supplies
  • Fly along with the pilot and guide the aircraft by using the latest avionic equipment
  • Ensure proper maintenance of aircrafts and handle the electronic and communication equipment
  • Deliver logistical, meteorological, educational and administrative support to the flying and technical branches
  • Provide control and advisory services to enable the pilot to conduct flights in total safety
  • Monitor the skies for any potential threat and select the appropriate air defense system
  • Be Responsible for provisioning the aircraft with spares, fuel, armaments, etc

Pros & Cons of a Career in the Indian Air Force

  • Provide personal and professional growth.
  • One gains knowledge about various managing and administrative skills.
  • Makes a person a disciplined being
  • Both the individual and his/her family member enjoy the perks of belonging to a defence background starting from Free healthcare, education and retirement benefits.
  • No end to your working hours.
  • One has to follow an intense routine.
  • You have to be efficient even though you are under pressure.
  • Family life takes a back seat.
Are you fit for a career in the Indian Air Force?

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