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Career as Air Force Officer

Indian Air Force is one of the major air arms in the world and can boast of the best trained men and material force, engaged in defence to guard the country's skies against external aggression from air. Aircrafts are the major constituent of the Air Force, used both for defence and offence. Hence, the entire service is engaged in the flying of aircraft and the pilot is the key person in the organization. For operational readiness of the flying machines, an infrastructural strength of highly trained and qualified man power is required.

Job Profile

Career as Air Force Officer

Flying Branch

  • Flying Branch has following four categories of aircraft flyers: Fighters & fighter bombers, Bombers, Transport, and Helicopters. Pilots usually specialise in one type of aircraft.
  • Pilots are employed exclusively in flying duties, however, they may also be assigned other duties.
  • Fighter Pilots are trained in air fights to shoot down enemy aircraft and attack ground targets in enemy territory. They fly at 2 to 2.5 times the speed of sound. Fighter bombers can match this speed today. Bombers drop bombs, missiles and other explosives on enemy targets. They are equipped with electronic devices, radars and cameras for pinpoint bombing and target acquisition.
  • Navigators in these aircrafts direct Pilots to the site by navigational equipments, radars and other optical devices and release the bombs. They assist the Pilots in navigation.
  • Transport Pilots carry men, material and explosives to required places. They also carry army personnel, their weapons, guns and light vehicles from one theatre of war to another.
  • Navigators in transport aircrafts chart the route, supervise loading of men and equipment, work out fuel requirements and check the flight path with maps during the flight.
  • Helicopters are used for carrying personnel and material including hardware and ration to those places and heights and terrains where it is not possible to make an airfield or road but a helipad can be made. Helicopters are used to support both Airforce and Army and if needed even Navy as it can land on the ship's deck.

Other than the officers in flying branch, the Ground Duty branch is constituted of the following branches:

  • Technical Branch
  • Logistics Branch
  • Administrative Branch 
  • Accounts Branch
  • Administrative Officer 
  • Education Branch
  • Air Traffic Controller/ Officer 
  • Meteorology Branch
  • Fighter Controller 
  • Medical Branch

Technical Branch

The engineers work in either of the two areas:

  • Aeronautical Engineers in Mechanical Branch - AE (M) are responsible for aircraft and its weapon system. They are concerned with the operational readyness of aircrafts so that these machines can deliver the maximum punch to the enemy when needed.
  • Aeronautical Engineers in Electronic Branch - AE(L) maintain most sophisticated electronic networks of communications from ground to air and vice versa.
  • Install, maintain, operate defence radar systems; operate other electronic gadgets, sophisticated computers ; maintain and operate other ground defence electronics equipments

Administrative Branch

  • Administrative officer is responsible for personnel management and administration of the Air Force bases
  • Motivates the work-force to deliver the desired result through a high order of operational preparedness, necessary for the Air Force.

Air Traffic Control Officer

  • Provides control and advisory services in order to enable the pilots of military and civil aircrafts to conduct their flights with total safety in all weather conditions.

Fighter Controller

  • Counters enemy threats from the air by using modern electronic counter-offensive equipment.

Logistics Branch

  • Logistics officer is responsible for the logistic support in IAF.
  • Responsible for provisioning of aircraft spares, mechanical transport, fuel, armament and explosives, flying and other clothing items, rations and other items essential for day to day running of the organisation and sustaining its manpower.
  • Accomplishes supply management efficiently and in a cost effective manner.

Accounts Branch

  • Accounts officer analyses the cost and fund requirements
  • Monitors the expenditure and unit funds
  • Plans and forecasts the budgetary requirement of the Air Force. 
  • Functions as a financial controller with diversified activities.

Education Branch

  • Education branch officers design training programmes which incorporate the latest technological developments.
  • In training institutions they teach a variety of subjects like Science, Computer Technology, Military Science, etc.
  • Responsible for guiding the personnel in furthering their academic qualifications.
  • Organise and run the Air Force Schools for children of Air Force personnel.

Meteorology Branch

  • Meteorology branch officer undertakes day-to-day scientific work in the Air Force, using the latest state-of-art technology.
  • Accurate weather forecasting is one of the important tools of success in any operation and for the IAF. Success of an Air Operation largely depends on meticulous planning which incorporates the prevailing weather conditions in the area of operation.

Medical and Dental Branch

  • Officers from Army Medical Corps are seconded to Air Force. Air Force runs some hospitals and clinics where even Army and Navy personnel are entitled for treatment and vice versa.

Physical requirements

  • For flying branch, minimum height requirement is 162.5 cm, leg length 99-120 cm. Candidate should not be colour/night blind or wear glasses.
  • Vision - Visual acuity (min) Distant Vision (corrected) Better eye 6/6, worse eye 6/18, Myopia of not more than minus 5.5 D including astigmatism.
  • To be passed as fit, a candidate must be in good physical and mental health and free from any disability likely to interfere with the efficient performance of duty.

Employment Opportunities

  • After successful completion of training, the candidates are inducted in the rank of Flying Officer and become entitled to the pay and allowance of the rank
  • Air Force offers good career prospects though it varies from branch to branch
  • Each higher rank carries with it extra emoluments
  • Grant of higher rank from Wing Commander and above is by selection
  • Officers have good chances for promotion

How do I get there?

  • Std XII

    Stream:ScPCM

  • Selection Exam

    NDA*>SSB**

  • Training

    NDA>AFA***

  • Goal

    Air Force Pilot****

  • Std XII

    Stream:Sc PCM

  • Graduation

    BTech/BEAero******/******#

  • Selection

    AFCAT*******
    >SSB**

  • Training

    AFA***
    >AFTC

  • Goal

    Aeronautical
    Engg Officer

  • Std XII

    Stream:Sc PCM

  • Graduation

    BE/BTech
    Pre Final******

  • Selection Exam

    AFCAT*******
    >SSB**

  • Training

    AFA***
    > AFTC

  • Goal

    AF Tech
    Officer

  • Std XII

    Stream:Any

  • Grad/Postgrad

    Any*****

  • Selection Exam

    AFCAT*******
    >SSB**

  • Training

    AFA***

  • Goal

    AF Ground
    DutyOfficer*****

  • Std XII

    Stream:Sc PCM

  • Graduation

    Any/BE/BTech(*#)

  • Entrance

    CDSE>NCC/AFCAT*******

  • Training

    AFA***

  • Goal

    Air Force Pilot****

*National Defence Academy , Pune, trains cadets for the 3 services. A competitive examination is held twice in a year, in February & September, for a 3 year training course commencing in January and July. Only unmarried male candidates age between 16 1/2 and 191/2  years are eligible.XI with Physics & Maths.

*#Graduates/Engineers can be selected for training as Air Force Pilots through the following routes:-

  • Combined Defence Services Exam(CDSE) Age 20-24 yrs(permanent commission)
  • NCC special entry: Pass NCC Air Wing Senior div C certificate .Age 20-24 yrs (boys and girls) Grad Any/ BE/BTech 60% or Section A & B examination of Associate Membership of Institute Engineers (India) or Aeronautical Society of India from a recognised University with a minimum of 60% marks or equivalent. 
  • Short Service Comission Entry is for Men & Women. Age 20-24 yrs For CPL holders 25 yrs. Graduate degree Any/BE/BTech  Cleared Section A & B examination of Associate Membership of Institute Engineers (India) or Aeronautical Society of India from a recognised University with a minimum of 60% marks or equivalent. Exam: AFCAT

** Service Selection Board : Air Force Selection Boards located at Dehradun, Varanasi, Gandhinagar, Mysore and Kancharapara conduct following tests in order to ascertain your suitability and gauge your potential as an Officer in the Indian Air Force.

Stage 1

  •  Officer Intelligence rating Test
  •  Picture perception and Discussion Test

Those who qualify take the following tests

Stage 2

  •  Psychological Tests ( Paper pencil tests)
  • Group Tests to test mental & Physical fitness
  •  Interview

Pilots have to clear the  Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT)which comprises three tests viz Instrument Battery Test (INSB), Sensory Motor Apparatus Test (SMA) and Control Velocity Test (CVT). Instrument Battery Test (INSB) is a paper pencil test and other two are machine tests.

*** Air Force Academy, Begumpet, Hyderabad imparts training to Flying, Technical and Ground Duty Branch-Administrative, Logistics, Accounts, Education or Meteorology branch officers for a year. The training curriculum is aimed at exposing the trainees to professional subjects related to their branch and rigorous military training.

 

****  Fighter/ Helicopter/ Transport pilot

*****Ground Duty Branches are
Administrative Branch (Permanent Commission (for Men) / Short Service Commission (for Men & Women)Graduate 60%/ PG 50% in any discipline/section A & B examination of Associate Membership of Institution of Engineers (India) or Aeronautical Society of India .

Accounts Branch-Permanent Commission (for Men) / Short Service Commission (for Men & Women) BCom minimum 60% marks in aggregate.

Logistics Branch -Permanent Commission (for Men) / Short Service Commission (for Men & Women) Grad any discipline60% marks in aggregate or PG any discipline/section A & B examination of Associate Membership of Institution of Engineers (India) or Aeronautical Society of India 60%.

Education Branch Permanent Commission (for Men) / Short Service Commission (for Men & Women) PG any discipline with 50% marks in aggregate..English/Physics/Maths/Chemistry/Statistics/International Relations/International Studies/Defence Studies/ Psychology/
Computer Science/IT/MBA/MCA/ Mass Communication/ Journalism/Public Relations.

Meteorology Branch -Permanent Commission (for Men) / Short Service Commission (for Men & Women)PG Degree with 50% marks in aggregate and Maths & Physics in Graduation with minimum of 55% marks in both subjects. Subjects: Any science subject/ Mathematics / Statistics / Geography / Computer Applications / Environmental Science / Applied Physics / Oceanography / Agricultural Meteorology / Ecology & Environment / Geo-physics / Environmental Biology.

****** Technical Branch Entry
University Entry Scheme. Candidates are selected in Final year (60%no backlog) Adv: June/December Permanent Commission (for men) / Short Service Commission (For men and women)
******# Aeronautical Branch is for Men(permanent Commission) & Men & Women( Short service) . Age 20-26 yrs Unmarried below 25 yrs. BE/BTech , AFSB test.

For Aeronautical Engineering (Electronics)BE/BTech/Integrated ME/MTech/Section A and B examination of Associate Membership of Institution of Engineers (India)/Section A and B examination of Aeronautical Society of India/Graduate membership examination of the Institute of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers by actual studies

BE/BTEch /BSc in Computer /Electrical &Computer/Electrical and Electronics /Electrical / Electronics/Communication/ Telecommunication/Instrumentation & Control/ IT with 60% marks.

For Aeronautical Engineering(Mechanical) BE/BTech/Integrated ME/MTech/Section A and B examination of Associate Membership of Institution of Engineers (India)/Section A and B examination of Aeronautical Society of India with min 60% aggregate.

BE/BTech in Aerospace/Aeronautical Engineering/Aircraft Mainternance Engineering/Mechanical (Automation/ Production/Repair and Maintenance)Mechatronics/Industrial Engineering.

******* AFCAT(Air Force Common Admission Test)For all entries other than NDA and CDSE and for all branches, candidates have to undergo the AFCAT held twice a year in February and August. The test is conducted all across India by the Indian Air Force

 

 

 

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Content on this page is by Career Expert
Mrs. Kum Kum Tandon
MA (Psychology), M.Ed, Diploma in Educational Psychology, Vocational Guidance & Counseling (NCERT, Delhi) | View Complete Profile
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