Young people in the Indian Air Force (IAF) can join. The IAF provides opportunities to all the candidates who have passed the 10th, 12th, undergraduate and postgraduate exams.

There are also other special entry schemes like NCC Entry or University Entry Scheme (UES).

Let’s take a look at the Indian Air Force’s branches.

Indian Air Force Branches

The Indian Air Force has the following branches:

Flying Branch:

There are pilots in the Flying Branch. Both men and women can become pilots. Individuals of this branch fly aircraft during operation and war. There are three types of pilots: fighter pilots, helicopter pilots and transport pilots.

Ground Duty Branch:

Ground Duty is related to branch control towers and weather related tasks. Officials of Ground Duty Branch are expected to maintain coordination with the pilot and keep them informed of the weather conditions. Ground Duty Branch has two separate branches:

Ground Duty (Technical Branch):

Technical branch aircraft and other equipment of the Air Force.

Ground Duty (Non-Technical Branch):

Non-technical branch involves logistics, accounting, education, administration and medicine.

ways to join the Indian Air Force

After the 10th (Any stream)

The IAF recruits for various civilian posts such as Multi Tasking Staff (MTS), Stenographer, Content Assistant (Material Assistant), Lower Division Clerk (LDC), Watchman, Cook, Carpenter, Messenger, Mali, Fitter, Vendor, Barber, Tin And Copper Smith, mechanic, tailor, painter etc.

Candidates must have passed 10th standard for recruitment on these posts or diploma in respective field. In some positions, eligibility is limited to only 10th class whereas in some others, ITI is necessary. It should also be noted that candidates who pass 12th standard are given preference.

After 12th (10 + 2) (Any stream)

Candidates can enter the Indian Air Force after passing the 12th standard. All the men, who have passed the 12th standard examination, can join National Defense Academy (NDA) by passing the written examination and SSB interview. After completing the training, the candidates join the IAF. The examination for the NDA is conducted twice by the UPSC every year.

After graduation

Candidates can join the Combined Defense Service (CDS) examination after graduation and join any branch of IAF. The CDS exam is conducted twice a year by the UPSC. Candidates may also be eligible for Air Force Common Admission Test (AFCAT) to be selected in the IAF. After selection, candidates are trained in one of the training institutes of the IAF and then they are appointed as officers.


After completing post-graduation, candidates can join the technical or ground duty branch. If the candidates have a degree in Aeronautical Engineering or Electronics, they can join the IAF.

Entry into the Meteorological Branch Any Science Stream / Mathematics / Statistics / Geography / Computer Applications / Environmental Science / Applied Physics / Oceanography / Meteorology / Agricultural Meteorology / Ecology and Environment / Geo Physics / All in Post-Graduation in Environmental Biology Papers are only possible after getting a minimum 50% marks in the papers.

At the same time, there should be minimum 55% marks in the subject of mathematics and physics in graduation.

NCC ( The National Cadet Corps ) Entry

The National Cadet Corps (NCC), also known as the Forth Line of Defense, in defense services provides the opportunity to join the IAF. If the candidates have completed NCC training and received certificate ‘C’ from Air Wing NCC then they are eligible to join the IAF.

University Entry Scheme (UES)

( Last year of BE / B.Tech degree )

The University Entry Scheme (UES) is for those candidates who are currently in the year before the last year of BE / B.Tech degree. It is important for the candidates to ensure that there should be no backlog in any paper in the last semester during SSB interview. On completion of the degree, candidates will get minimum 60% marks in all the papers.

Now, it is clear that candidates can get admission in the IAF from class 10th till post-graduation. Age limit plays an important role in joining the IAF, so candidates should know about the age limit before applying for the Indian Air Force.

Exams : –

NDA Entry:

This is the first opportunity which you get to join the Air Force. Though limited to flying branch, and exclusive to boys, this is an excellent opportunity which boys get after class 12th to join IAF. They spend three years in National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, Pune, which is like a feeder institution for Air Force Academy, Dundigal. Candidates get a three-year common training at NDA, and are then shifted to AFA for basic Flying Training, prior to commissioning then they are allocated their aircraft type and given further training at the designated flying training school. The exam for this is conducted twice every year, by UPSC.

The advertisement for NDA is released twice a year in the months of une and December by UPSC.

Candidates are to apply as per the advertisement.

The written tests are conducted by UPSC only.

CDSE Entry:

Again an exclusive entry for men, after graduation and meant only for flying branch. CDSE is an exam conducted by UPSC, twice every year.

The training is conducted in AFA, and then the candidate is moved to the specialized flying training establishment. This entry too is meant for all the three forces, just like NDA.

The advertisement for CDSE in the months of July and November by UPSC.

Candidates are to apply as per the advertisement.

The written tests are conducted by

UPSC only

NCC Special Entry:

Once again an exclusive entry for men aiming for the flying branch. Training procedure almost same as CDSE. 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.

Air Sqn NCC Senior division ‘C’ certificate holders are to apply online through NCC Special entry.

The notification comes along with the AFCAT notification.

UES Entry (Discontinued):

University Entry Scheme is meant for engineering student of pre final year, for the technical branch of IAF. This is entry for men and the training is in AFA, followed by Air Force Technical College in Bangalore. The advertisement is released along with AFCAT.

AFCAT Entry:

This is the biggest test conducted for inducting officer in IAF. This test inducts both men and women as officers in all the three branches of IAF, i.e. Flying, Technical and Ground Duty.

AFCAT is conducted twice every year by the Air Force and includes an added test called EKT (Engineering Knowledge Test) for Technical branch aspirants. The eligibility and training differ according to each branch.

Since AFCAT 2 2017, the exam is conducted Online by the CDAC, earlier it was conducted offline by the Indian Air Force. Here are general details regarding this test.


For all entries other than NDA and CDSE and for all branches, candidates have to undergo the AFCAT.

The test is conducted twice a year in February and August.

Advertisements inviting applications for AFCAT are out in June and December. Candidates are to apply as per the advertisement.

The test is conducted all across India by the Indian Air Force.