How to Join Indian Air Force?

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How to Join Indian Air Force

Touch the Sky with Glory’ is the heartfelt motto of the esteemed Indian Air Force (IAF). Being the fourth-largest Air Force in the world, the charm of IAF is unparalleled amongst the youthful citizens of the country. Did you get inspired by the phenomenal and laudable efforts of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, an Indian Air Force Fighter Pilot who was held captive for around 60 hours by the Pakistan army during the ‘Air Strike’ 2019? Do you abide by the soulful motto of IAF and are interested in starting your career in Air Force? Through this blog, we will bring you a detailed guide on how to join Indian Air Force including varied entrance exams as well as the selection process.

Appear For the Written Examinations

The first step of your dream to join Indian Air force is to give the prospective written examination which you can fulfil the eligibility criteria for. We have elaborated the different entrance exams specified for those aspiring for Indian Air Force in the following paragraphs:

National Defence Academy

The NDA Exam is conducted twice a year by the Union of Public Service Commission (UPSC) and can be your gateway to join Indian Air Force after class 12th. Once the candidates qualify the exam, they are provided with an option to choose any of the three armed forces i.e., Army, Navy or Air Force. Candidates will be assessed through two stages, first being the written examination and then the SSB (Service Selection Board) interview. Let’s take a look at the eligibility and NDA exam pattern elucidated in the following table:

Eligibility  Students must have qualified class 12th;
only unmarried males candidates falling the
age gap of 16 ½ to 19 ½ can apply 
Exam Pattern  NDA is an objective exam with a total of
900 marks. There will be 2 sections:
mathematics and general ability test.  

Combined Defence Services

Many of us often get allured about serving the country while pursuing a bachelor’s degree but you might feel clueless about how to join the Indian Army after graduating. For such aspirants, the best entry ticket is to qualify the CDS exam. Similar to NDA, the CDS also selects candidates for all the three forces and they are given a choice to opt for their desired force. Just as NDA, CDS is also held twice a year and is divided into 2 stages and qualifying both of them would be compulsory for the aspirants. Those who clear the exam will have to qualify the final interview by SSB. The table mentioned below provides a brief glimpse about the CDS Exam Pattern and its eligibility: 

Eligibility Criteria  Undergraduate degree, only for unmarried male candidates 
Exam Pattern  The exam consists of 3 sections like
English, General Knowledge, Elementary Mathematics 

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Air Force Commission Test (AFCAT)

The undergraduates wanting to enter esteemed positions of the Indian Air Force can also appear for the AFCAT (Air Force Commission Test). Falling amongst one of the most prestigious government exams after 12th science, through AFCAT exam you can be recruited for the class-1 gazetted post in Ground Flying Duties (non-technical and technical). The exam is held twice a year and both male and female candidates can apply for it. Although the set eligibility criteria differ for one position to another, let’s take a look into the entry requisites and exam details to know more about how to join Indian Air Force: 

Eligibility Criteria  Bachelor’s degree
(disciplines differs for technical and
non-technical branches)
AFCAT Exam Pattern 4 major sections like Verbal and Numerical
Ability, General Awareness and Military Aptitude  

Don’t Forget to Check Out Our Exclusive Blog on AFCAT Syllabus!

[Bonus] National Cadet Corps

The young and passionate individuals who possess a certification under the NCC at school or college level can also manifest their dream of acquiring a prestigious post under the Indian Air Force. NCC is one special entry ticket under the process of how to join Indian Air Force. The cadets do not have to appear in a written examination and just have to qualify the SSB interview. Candidates must keep in mind that they must have authorized certification issued by the official authorities of Indian Govt. for the particulars entry position (technical/non-technical). Moreover, it is necessary for both male and female candidates to have a bachelor’s degree (in the discipline specified). 

Clear Stage I & II of Air Force Selection Board (AFSB)

Once the aspirants get shortlisted through any of the above-mentioned entry gateways, they will receive a call letter from the official authorities. Afterwards, the candidates will have to assemble at the AFSB centres. To completely evaluate your skills to fulfil the role of an Airways Officer, candidates have to go through two tests such as: 

Stage I Testing

  • Officer Intelligence rating test
  • Picture perception and Discussion Test

Stage II Testing

  • Psychological Test
  • Group tests involving outdoor and indoor activity
  • Interview
  • Those applying for Flying Branch have to qualify Computerised Pilot Selection System

Give Medical Examination

The determined candidates qualifying every stage of the selection process will be sent for an intricate medical examination. In the process, they will be closely observed making sure that the aspirants meet every set criteria of the medical requirements. Your centre for the medical evaluation will be either the Air Force Central Medical Establishment, Delhi or the Institute of Aviation Medicines, Bengaluru. 

Wait For the All India Merit List

Being a candidate, this concluding stage doesn’t require your direct involvement. A merit list of all the selected candidates is prepared by the officials. They are closely evaluated on all of the above-mentioned parameters, be it medical examination, interview or written test. Along with all these criteria, the number of vacancies for a particular region is also taken into consideration after which a final merit list of shortlisted applicants is released.

Related Read: Aerospace Engineering

Thus, we hope that this blog has briefed you about the whole process of how to join Indian Air Force. If you are confused about what’s the right career path for you, reach out to our experts at Leverage Edu and we will help you sort out your interests and aspirations and take the right step towards an informed career.

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