How to be an Air Force Officer

Indian Air Force gives an excellent opportunity to youths while serving as Air Force Officer with prestige and decorum. Air Force is an Airwing of Indian Defense Services and available at the service of the nation since its inception in 1932.  Air Force plays an important role in all the wars with Pakistan and China in the History of India. Indian Air Force plays an important role in recently launched strikes in POK after the cowardly attack of sponsored terrorists on the World’s largest Armed police Force CRPF, where the great force lost his 40+ precious lives.

            Indian Air Force inducts personnel at various ranks and qualifications and generally invites applications from the national residents to make carrier at two levels:

                      a)    Airman                    b) Officer

The airman is a basic and starting rank of the workforce in the IAF. The Airman is actually the backbone of the force which provides the force with great, educated and talented manpower. It is expected out of an Airman to handle the sophisticated Aircraft and systems by making them available every time at the doorstep of the nation. 

     The Airman is recruited as class +2 as their basic educational qualification. Once a candidate has gone through all the stages of recruitment and if successful will be sent to Airman Training School at Belgaum in Karnataka for 6 months rigorous basic training followed by another 16 months of professional training at the various institutes located nationwide. Details about the selection as an Airman will be discussed in my other blog as here in this blog we will restrict our discussion about the entry as an Air Force Officer in IAF only.

Life as an Indian Air Force Officer

             Young and energetic mind who all is willing and ready to roar in skies is welcomed here as an Air Force Officer at various entry levels. An officer is Group A, Gazetted/Commissioned post in the Defense forces and Officer is joined at Grade pay of 5400/- initially. You can make a carrier in IAF as an officer in various streams that depending on your interest and qualification.

Initially, an Air Force Officer is given a rank of Flying Officer and subsequently on promotions can reach up to the rank of Air Marshal who is chief of Air Force. Life as an Air Force Officer gives you prestige, adventure excitement, and challenge and all other facilities requiring social status. An Air Force Officer is exposed to various adventurous activities throughout the carrier such as Mountaineering, Trekking, Skydiving, Scuba Diving, Paragliding, Cycling expeditions, etc.

Rank Structure of Air Force Officer                     

Rank of an Air Force Officer

Flying Officer is the rank given to the Candidate after completion of his/her training that means,s it is the starting commissioned rank in IAF, and Air Chief Marshal is the last rank in the hierarchy which is designated as Chief of Air Force.

                  Air  Force Officer has two modes/commissions in which he can join: Permanent Commission and Short Service Commission. 

Permanent Commission

               It is one in which an Air Force officer has to serve for at least 20 years minimum and then after 20 years of service, an Officer is eligible for Full Pension + CSD canteen Facilities + Medical Facilities for self and dependent life long. 

Short Service Commission 

                It is one in which Initial engagement for an Officer to serve is for 10 years and that can be further extended up to 4 years (after approval from authority only). That means up to 14 years one can serve because, after 15 years of service, an Officer is liable to get the half pension. So to keep Forces, young in age, the concept of SSC is introduced in Armed Forces.

Examination to be an Indian Air Force Officer:  

                   You can join in Air Force as an officer by successfully passing each stage in the below-mentioned examinations conducted by the authorities under the close supervision of the authorities followed by other stages of examination:-

NDA (National Defense Academy) Examination:

            This examination is conducted by UPSC twice in a year and educational qualification for applying to this exam is 10+2 (PCM). Advertisement is published on the official website of UPSC in the month of June and December while the examination is conducted by UPSC in the months of August and February.

CDSE (COMBINED DEFENCE SERVICES EXAMINATION):

               Only Male candidates can apply under CDS exam and permanent Commission officers are recruited through this exam.

Eligibility criteria to apply for the same areas under:

Age – 20 to 24 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/ (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level)/BE/B Tech (Four Year Course). Final Year/semester students are also eligible to apply and there is no Percentage Bar for CDSE entry.

Advertisements are published by UPSC in the months of November and August.

For more details visit www.upsc.gov.in

NCC SPECIAL ENTRY :

      (Candidates can apply online through NCC Special Entry)

              As an Air Wing Senior Division ’C’ Certificate holder of the National Cadet Corps, you can apply to the Flying Branch of the Indian Air Force. Men & women can join the Air Force through this mode of entry. Permanent Commission offered for men and Short Service Commission for men and women.

Eligibility criteria to apply for same entry is as under:

Age –20 to 24 years (at the time of commencement of course). The upper age limit for Candidates holding valid and current Commercial Pilot Licence issued by DGCA (India) is relaxed up to 26 years(at the time of commencement of course).

Nationality – Indian

Marital Status – Single

Gender – Men and women.

Educational Qualifications

Graduate (Three Year Course) in any discipline from a recognized University with minimum 60% marks or equivalent with Minimum 60% marks in each in Maths & Physics at 10 + 2 level / BE/B Tech (Four Year Course) from a recognized University with minimum 60% marks or equivalent /Cleared Section A & B examination of Associate Membership of Institute Engineers (India) or Aeronautical Society of India from a recognized University with a minimum of 60% marks or equivalent.

Final Year/semester students are also eligible to apply and NCC Air Wing Senior Division ’C’ certificate and validity of the certificate would be two years before the date of the advertisement.

Advertisement for NCC Special Entry is published by the IAF on its official website in the months of June and December (Subject to Change so go through Official notifications for update).

SSC (SHORT SERVICE COMMISSION ) ENTRY:

            You can apply through AFCAT for Short Service Commission (SSC) in the Flying Branch. Short Service Commission in Flying branch is for 14 years with no further extension.

Eligibility criteria for the same s as:

Age – 20 to 24 years (at the time of commencement of course).The upper age limit for candidates holding valid and current Commercial Pilot Licence issued by DGCA (India) is relaxed up to 26 years(at the time of commencement of course).

Nationality – Indian

Marital Status – Single

Gender – Men and Women.

Educational Qualifications

Minimum of 60% marks each in Maths & Physics at 10+2 level.

Graduates (Three Year Course) in any discipline with minimum 60% marks or equivalent /BE/B Tech (Four Year Course) from a recognized university with minimum 60% marks or equivalent / Cleared Section A & B examination of Associate Membership of Institute Engineers (India) or Aeronautical Society of India from a recognized University with a minimum of 60% marks or equivalent. Final Year students are also eligible to apply.

Advertisements for AFCAT are released by the IAF on its official website in the months of June and December.

Selection process of an Air Force Officer:

               The selection of officers in the Indian Air Force is not a simple process but altogether a combination of many processes where a candidate is going to be tested for his/her intellectual, physical, medical, psychological level. The entire selection process of Officers can be structured ad combination of different parts as follows:-

         1.     Written Exams

         2.     AFSB ( Air Force Selection Board )

         3.     Medical Examination

         4.     Final Merit List

1. Written Part: 

Officers are selected in IAF through three modes/entries or examinations conducted by different authorities at different times in a year. Different types of exams through which you can make carrier in the Air Force are:

a) AFCAT: 

               Stands for Air Force Common Admission Test and it is a common test, as the name implies conducted by Indian Air Force for all the Technical and Non-Technical Entries fo Air Force Officer except those which are conducted by NDA & CDS exams. For all entries other than NDA and CDSE and for all branches, AFCAT is conducted and candidates are screened for AFSSB.

            AFCAT is held twice a year in the months of February and August. Advertisement for the same exam is published at the official website of the Indian Air Force in the months of June & December.

                      www.indianairforce.nic.in

After clearing the written part of AFCAT, candidates are called for AFSSB and other processes at various designated Air Force centers and a candidate can fill the choice of his/her center online for AFSSB and can attend SSB there.

b) NDA AND CDS:

         NDA stands for National Defense Academy while CDS stands for Combined Defense Services. Both the exams are conducted by UPSC, twice in a year and the advertisement for NDA is published in the months of June and December and for CDS in the months of July and November. Advertisement for both the exams are published by UPSC at its official website

                                www.upsc.gov.in

UPSC is the overall authority for conducting the written part of exams and preparing the final merit list basis on the overall marks obtained by candidates in exams. After clearing UPSC, candidates are called for AFSSB and process after it remains the same for these exams as of AFCAT.

c) NCC ENTRY: 

      Applications are invited online from the candidates holding Air Squadron NCC Senior division ‘C’ certificate through the official website of the Indian Air Force from time to time. Interested candidates can go through the advertisements accordingly for this NCC special entry.

2 – AIR FORCE SELECTION BOARD (AFSB):

           Candidates who are declared ‘pass’ in the first i.e. written part of the process, will be asked to attend Air Force Selection Board at Dehradun, Gandhi Nagar, Mysore or Varanasi by a call letter from the Air Force authorities. In the AFSB, candidates will be tested for their potential as per the standards by the means of different test like:

1. STAGE I

                   Officer Intelligence rating & Picture perception and Discussion Test. A candidate is screened in stage I and allowed to undergo further testing only if cleared the stage I or else sent back on day one itself.

2. STAGE II

                  For the next 3 to 4 days all the successful candidates are required to undergo testing in stage II where each one will be tested in different dimensions by a group of officers in different events like:

Group Tasks which are both indoor as well as outdoor events, a combination of both physical and mental exercises. A psychological test is conducted under the supervision of a doctor while Personal Interview with Officer will be on the last day of selection.  Candidates who have applied for the flying branch and have been recommended by the officers at AFSB, have to undergo a Computerized Pilot Selection System (CPSS) test on the fifth day of AFSB.

Candidate must be physically fit before reporting to the AFSB centers and minimum standard for which a candidate will be tested are 1.6 Km Run in maximum 10 minutes, 10 Push Ups and minimum 03 Chin Ups.

Document CheckingCandidate before appearing the board in AFSB must be in possession of the following documents, as without these documents, the candidature is liable to be canceled:-

↪Original Matriculation Certificate and Mark sheets in original issued by CBSE/ICSE/State Board (for DOB proof no other certificates will be entertained).

↪Original Graduation/Post Graduation Degree Certificates and Mark Sheet of each year/semester issued by University – only for verification of educational qualifications which make you eligible for the course. Provisional Degree Certificate must be issued by University and not by the Principal.

↪In case of final year/semester students, Final year students must bring a certificate from the Principal indicating all the below mentioned details in the certificate with stamp and seal of the Institution:-

Name of the College
Name of the University
Discipline in which Graduation/ Post Graduation obtained
Aggregate Percentage
Likely Date of Declaration of Final Result  (in DD/MM/YYYY Format)

↪Two attested photocopies of each of the above-mentioned certificates.

↪Original NCC Certificate (if applicable).

↪NOC from employers for candidates working in Central/State Governments or Public Sector Undertakings.

↪Original valid Commercial Pilots’ License, issued by DGCA, if applicable.

↪Inbound Railway Ticket/Bus Tickets. (For refund of Travelling Allowances)

↪Candidates without the documents listed above, they will not be entertained at AFSB. Candidates are also advised to bring twenty copies of recent passport size color photographs (with a negative) taken in light-colored clothes against a white background for documentation (if Recommended).

Candidates will be paid Travelling Expenditure for the first time of AFSB at any center and for that individual must be in possession of Original tickets of the journey performed. Fares will be paid equivalent as of the train journey in AC-III tier.

3 – MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS:

                  Medically fitness is prima facie requirement to be an Officer in the Security forces so all the successful and recommended candidates by the Service Selection Board officers are asked to undergo a medical test where a candidate will be tested medically in every perspective with minute attention. Medical tests for Officers recruit are conducted in one of the establishment out of Air Force Central Medical Establishment (AFCME), New Delhi or Institute of Aviation Medicine, Bengaluru. Duration for the medical tests may last for 4 to 5 days, so the candidate must be mentally prepared to stay there.

            For further details on the medical examination process and medical standards, please go through the official website of the Indian Air Force.

                               www.careerairforce.nic.in

⇛ Candidates who have met any accident or not able to join the training due to medical problems post completion of the medical at Air Force Medical Board must intimate the same to the authorities at the earliest with a proper medical proof for the same.

4 – Final Merit List

                   Final merit list is compiled by the exam conducting authority based on the overall performance of any candidate in the written as well as AFSB part. The final list will be prepared only out of those candidates who are declared medically fit by the board of officers. Temporary medically unfit candidates get some time for review in front of the board.

Temporary unfit can be declared in case of weight, Dental problems and some other minor issues can be cured easily in a given time frame and don’t create any obstacle in service for the individual. The final merit list is prepared only after the declaration of review of any candidate who was/were medically temporarily unfit. Based on the vacancies available in various branches/sub-branches, joining instructions are issued to join one of the Training establishments.

Carrier as an Air Force Officer:

             You can make your carrier as an Officer in the Air Force depending on your qualifications, you could join one of the various branches in the IAF. Broadly the Air Force has three branches with further sub-streams:

FLYING BRANCH: Fighters, Transports, Helicopters

GD (TECHNICAL) BRANCH: Mechanical, Electronics

GD (NON-TECHNICAL) BRANCH: Administration, Accounts, Logistics, Education, Meteorology

Carrer as per Qualification for the Indian Air Force Officer:

1.     For 10+2 students:

         Candidates who have cleared their 10+2 exams with PCM as subjects can apply for NDA exams through the UPSC website twice in a year. After successfully clearing the exam the candidates will be sent for 3 years of hard training at NDA Khadakwasla in Pune. After NDA flight cadets will be trained in Air Force Academy for 06 months followed by specialized training in the Flying Training Establishments.

2.     For Graduate students

         Candidates who have cleared his/her Bachelor’s degree from the various universities can make their carrier in all three branches out of Flying, GD (Technical) and GD (Non-Technical).In all three branches. Graduates can apply through AFCAT or CDS examination as discussed earlier in the same blog.

FLYING BRANCH:

          As a graduate after clearing your exams of CDS/AFCAT, if you have opted for the Flying branch and if recommended by the authorities you will be sent to Air Force Academy for 06 months for Pre Flying Training or can say Stage 0 training. After this training, you will be sent to other flying training establishments. Candidates are absorbed into the flying branch after graduation through CDS/AFCAT/NCC Special Entry.

         After completion of Stage 0 Training (only for CDS/NCC candidates), all the flight cadets from NDA+CDS+NCC schemes are trained in Air Force Academy at Hyderabad for another 06 months in Stage I training. After completion of Stage I training, all the trainees are divided into three branches based on their choices ad performance in Academy into Fighter, Transport, and Helicopter system.

    After this, the candidates are further sent to different institutes depending on the streams for stage II (24 weeks) of the Advanced phase and Stage III (24 weeks) training of the specialization phase. Candidates after passing the Stage II training get commissioned into the Air Force and after completion of Stage III training candidates can start operating in respective units/Squadrons.

For fighter streams: Stage II training of 24 weeks @ Hakimpet and Stage III training of 24 weeks @ Bidar and Kalaikunda

For Transport Aircrafts : Stage II & III training (total 48 weeks) @ Banglore

For Helicopters: Stage II training of 24 weeks @ Hakimpet and Stage III training of 24 weeks @ Banglore.

GD (TECHNICAL) BRANCH:

         After clearing CDS/AFCAT exams candidates will be sent to Air Force Academy for 22 weeks training followed by 52 weeks of training at Air Force Technical College in Bengaluru. 

Educational Qualification: BE/B.Tech degree/AMIE with a minimum of 60% marks or equivalent.

GD (NON-TECHNICAL) BRANCHES

       Candidates are absorbed into GD (Non-Technical) branch, through the AFCAT examination and after clearing the examination will be sent to One-year training at Air Force Academy. Permanent Commission is awarded only to male candidates while Short Service Commission is for both Male & Female candidates. 

For Administration Branch: for entry into ATC/Flight Controller candidate must have any Bachelor’s degree with 60% marks.

For Accounts Branch: B.Com degree of three years duration with a minimum 60% marks or equivalent.

For Logistic Branch: candidate must have any Bachelor’s degree with 60% marks.

3.     For Post Graduate students:

        Air Force Officers are absorbed into GD (Non-Technical) branch only, after their post-graduation, through the AFCAT examination and after clearing the examination will be sent to One-year training at Air Force Academy. Candidates after post-graduation can be absorbed only in the Non-Technical branch of Education and Meteorological branch. Permanent Commission is awarded only to male candidates while Short Service Commission is for both Male & Female candidates. Eligibility criteria for different streams in Non-Technical branch are as follows:

Education branch:

Candidate must have in possession of a master’s degree with at least 60% marks.

Meteorological Branch:

Candidate must have in possession of a master’s degree with at least 50% marks provided Math & Physics at the graduate level with a minimum of 60% marks in each.

 Note: For other details regarding Advertisement and Eligibility criteria to make career as an Air Force Officer, please keep visiting the official website of the Indian Air Force provided in the blog earlier. Also, keep searching through the weekly employment newspaper as an advertisement is published there as well.