How To Become An Officer In The Indian Air Force?

A career in the IAF is full of challenges which make country’s youth part of that wing of defence under which rests the responsibility of the air security of our nation’s geographical territory. For this purpose, the IAF recruits youth from across the different fields of streams and train them. Let’s know how the IAF conduct this recruitment exercise through this present piece of writing.

The IAF recruits and train youths of the country turning them a fighter pilot, missile technologists, meteorologists, air traffic controller, logistic experts to educationists and doctors etc.

The responsibilities to be fulfilled in the IAF are replete with different capabilities, different qualifications, and special opportunities for the youth of the country to do something miraculous and adventurous. This guarantees of a prosperous and prestigious social life full of challenges. This is the reason why the Indian Air Force is the gem of the Indian crown.

The different branches of Air Force

Air Force has several branches in which the recruitments of officers are done. It has three main branches which are:-
  1. Flying,
  2. Technical and
  3. Ground duty.

Apart from these, there are the other branches too such as:
  1. Logistics,
  2. Accounts,
  3. Metrology,
  4. Education,
  5. Administration,
  6. Medical and
  7. Dental.

Who can be an Air Force officer?

A person can become an officer in the Air Force through any of the four channels:-
  1. Through 10+2 channel:
    The entrance at this stage is done direct. This stage is only for males. Under the procedures of this recruitment channel, the candidates have to appear at the UPSC examination. This examination is conducted twice every year with centres of this examination located in every big Indian city. The age limit for appearing at this examination is 16 and ½ years to 19 years at the time of the beginning of the training. He must be a pas out from 10+2 examination with physics and mathematics as his subjects. The candidates appearing at the 10+2 examination can also apply provided he completes the course before joining the academy. The short listed cadets after the NDA are sent for specialised training in the flight training establishment. Afterwards, the cadet officers are authorised as the commissioned officers and posted as pilots at the Air Force Stations.

  2. Through Graduate channel:
    Young, enthusiastic and committed males and females could take entry into any branch of IAF. There are three methods to mark entry by the country's youth into the flying branch:

    • Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE) conducted by the UPSC
    • NCC Special Recruitment for which the NCC ‘C' certificate is a must.
    • Short Service Commission which has a 14 years duration of service condition.

The candidates entering the Air Force Service through the medium of CDSE and NCC are awarded permanent commission whereas, no extension of service is allowed for the males or females entering into this service with the 14 year employment condition through the SSC.

Age limit

For all the above three categories of candidates, the age limit is in between 19-23 years at the time of the commencement of the academy's training.


Three year degree course in any of the stream with the minimum of 60% marks. Mathematics and physics at 10+2 or BE/B-Tech with 60 % marks. Those candidates can also apply who had obtained 60 % in the last semester and no obstruction of any sort had come in the ways to their studies.

When the test is Advertised?

Advertisement of flying branch is published every year in the month of March and September. For the aeronautical engineering, electronics and the aeronautical engineering mechanical of the technical branch, entry is conducted through direct procedure for both permanent and short service commission. At the time of the beginning of the training, the candidate's age should be between 18-28 years. The academic qualifications for the both are though different. . As for example the academic qualifications for the candidates for electronics with 60% marks should be BE/B-Tech in electronics/Tele Communications/Electricals/Electrical Communications/Electronics and Communications/Instrumentation/ Computer Science and Engineering or the combination of these subjects or diploma in electronics from the Madras Institute of Technology or B-Tech in Radio Physics and electronics/Optics and Opto-Electronics or physics (with electronics)/ electronics/computer science/MSc in computer applications/MSc with math at the graduation level or MSc in electronics and Radio engineering on the subjects of physics and electronics etc. Its advertisements are published every year in February and August.

Mode of tests for the ground duty

A common entrance test has to be given for the permanent commission or for the short service commission on ground duty which includes departments of administration, accounts, logistics etc. The candidate's age must be from 20 to 23 years. The officers selected for the administration branch are for performing the duty of traffic controller and fighter controller. For this there must at least be 60% marks obtained at the graduation level or 50% at the PG level or 50% marks in the All India Council for Technical Education recognised MBA or PGDBA. The maximum age limit is 26 years for the law graduates.

Selection of candidates

The selection process in the Air force is carried across in four phase:
  1. sorting out of candidates,
  2. evaluating the officer like qualities,
  3. medical test,
  4. preparing the All India Merit List.

For sorting and entry of the cadets after the passing out from the required examination, the candidates are sent call letters from the Dehradun, Varanasi and Mysore Air Force Selection Boards. Several psychological tests on the candidates are carried out here such as group activities, interviews, and conference which are called the officer like qualities. For the candidates of the flying branch, the very first day- pilot aptitude battery test (phase I), the second day- phase I and psychological test, third day-group test, fourth day- group test, the fifth –interview and the sixth day-conference are held up whereas for the technical branch's candidates, the 1st day-intelligence test, /psychology test
The same procedure is adopted for the ground duty too. If you are found suitable, medical tests are conducted in the Air Force Central Medical Establishment, New Delhi or Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Bangaluru. If you are deemed fit for the technical or ground duty, you shall be asked to go home back and wait for the call of the medical test. Or you are likely to be sent for the medical test straightaway. At the end of it all, on the basis of your performance at the SSB, All India Merit List is prepared and on the bais of the vacancy available at the Air HQ, candidates are sent for training in the Air Force Institutes after the completion of which, the candidate is appointed and authorised as commissioned officer on any of the Air Force Stations.

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