There is no ambiguity regarding the fact that Defense happens to be one of the selected class of careers wherein you, apart from leading a highly adventurous and unordinary life, also get an opportunity to contribute your share in securing our motherland for rest of the country. This quite naturally involves lots of respect being inculcated in the way civilians happen to treat you. Despite being a career of such importance, not only to one as an individual but rather for the whole country in general, less light is thrown on the different career modes available as well as the modus operandi to get into it. In the light of the said facts, here I shall try to elucidate the options related to the Indian Air Force.
Entry into the Indian Air Force can be broadly subdivided into two Tiers:
As an Officer
As an Airman (Air Warrior)
Indian Air Force entry as Officers
This again can be classified on the basis of medical and non-medical entries and for the sake of brevity let us take the Medical Entry first:
The only mode of selection of Medical Officers in the Defense forces in general and the Indian Air Force, in particular, is through the exam of Armed Forces Medical College or the AFMC
The screening is conducted after the 12th board examinations followed by a more comprehensive evaluation in the form of an interview finally culminating in the fitness test.The specified age limit is from 17 to 22 years. The pass outs are eligible to be posted in any of the 3 branches of the Defense forces.
Indian Air Force Pilot Entry
Indian Air Force, if considered as an entity which is solely responsible for providing the Air warfare and tactical support to the country (if the need be), then pilots (Fighter, Transport as well as the helicopter pilots) happen to serve as the backbone of it and all the other branches are more or less employed in order to support or assist them. Again the entry is both on the levels of post-Higher secondary and also after graduation.
For entry via the former mode, candidates are required to appear in the coveted National Defence Academy examination which is a written test followed by a rigorous five-day long test by the Service Selection Board or the more popular acronym SSB, finally culminating in separating the cream from the coffee for the medical evaluation.This in itself happens to be a very stringent to an extent that almost 1/3rd of the total eligible candidates are rejected. The age constraint is from 16 ½ to 19 years.
At the graduate level the Combined Defence Services Examination paper in both the cases is set by the UPSC itself keeping the qualifications of the candidates taking the examination in consideration. A peculiarity of the SSB for the Airforce stream alone happens to be the PABT or the pilot’s aptitude battery test which happens to be a once in a lifetime opportunity wherein, the candidate is checked for having the proper nervous control necessary for flying an aircraft. PABT is used by the militaries all around the globe for the selection of pilots. After the successful passing of the SSB and the fitness test, the candidates are trained at various facilities of the Indian Air Force. The commission is of permanent nature.
Indian Air Force Technical Entry
With the age limit of 20 till 26 years, the selection is done on the basis of the Air Force Common Admission Test or the AFCAT. The written test is made to gauge the knowledge of the candidates in the requisite stream (Indian Air Force rather specifies a list of subjects out of which a certain minimum has to study by an individual in order to select a stream out of mechanical or electronics). This test is also followed by the SSB (without the PABT) and the Medical examination. The commission is of temporary nature, called the SSC (short service commission).
Indian Air Force Ground duty entry
The graduates of the requisite streams can appear for the screening examination followed by the SSB and the fitness test before getting recruited for the ground duty streams ofAdministration, Accounts and Logistic branches whereas only post graduates are eligible for Education(M.Ed) and Meteorology ( M.Sc physics) streams.
Entry into the Indian Air Force as an Air Warrior
The entry is after the higher secondary till an age limit of 17 to 21 years. The exam can either be of centralized nature or by the rally recruitment to include the natives of a particular region depending upon their strength in the Indian Air Force. These both involve a written test followed by an interview. The finally selected candidates are examined for fitness at the medical facilities situated in various defense establishments.
To sum it up, ..for those who want to serve their nation and want to be ‘delighted to touch the sky.Indian Airforce provides exciting career opportunities.’Lead a lifeless Ordinary’!