In this article, we shall take you through all the possible entries into the Indian Air Force (IAF). The IAF consists of three branches-flying, technical (aeronautical engineering) and ground-duty. Let’s know about them one by one. A career in Indian Air Force is a lucrative option for students.

  • Ground-duty branch Both Indian men and women, aged 20-23 if graduate and 20-25 if postgraduate, are eligible to apply. Candidates below the age of 25 years must be unmarried. Air Force Common Admission Test (AFCAT) is conducted for entry into all the ground-duty branches. It is a 2-hour multiple-choice based exam covering questions from areas including general awareness, verbal ability, numerical ability, reasoning, and aptitude. It is conducted twice a year.  
  • Flying branch This branch can be joined right after completing schooling (through National Defence Academy/NDA) or after graduation. For details of the NDA exam, see our other blog post here. Graduates can seek entry through the Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE). Only unmarried Indian males, aged 19-23 can apply. There is no minimum percentage requirement in graduation for CDSE entry. However, candidates should have Physics and Maths at 10+2 level. CDSE exam is followed by a Services Selection Board (SSB) interview. CDSE is an objective exam consisting of 120 questions each from English, General Awareness and Maths. It is conducted twice a year.  
  • Technical Branch Indian men and women, who are engineering graduates or are in the final year of graduation and aged 18-28, are eligible to apply. Candidates below the age of 25 years must be unmarried.


Read the below table to understand the educational requirements:

Branches within Ground-duty branchMinimum Educational RequirementsOther Details
Administration (air traffic controllers, fighter controllers, etc.)Min. 60% aggregate in graduation (any field) or 50% in post-graduationPermanent Commission (for men); Short Service Commission (for men & women)
Accounts (internal auditor, etc.)Min. 60% aggregate in graduation (commerce) or 50% in post-graduation (commerce)Permanent Commission (for men); Short Service Commission (for men & women)
Logistics (procurement officer, inventory supervisor, materials management, etc.)Graduate/PG Diploma/PG Degree/Engineering DegreePermanent Commission (for men); Short Service Commission (for men & women)
EducationMin. 50% in post-graduation (any field)Only for post-graduates
MeteorologyMin. 50% in post-graduation (in any of streams such as science, maths, statistics, geography, geophysics, etc.), with a min. 55% in Maths and Science in graduationOnly for post-graduates

Entry Schemes under Technical BranchMinimum Educational RequirementsOther Details
University Entry Scheme (UES)Candidates must be in the pre-final year of BE/BTech degree course; min. 60% aggregate in graduation upon completion, with no backlogsOnly for men; only Permanent Commission
Aeronautical Engineering Course (further sub-branches are electronics and mechanical)Candidates should have completed engineering degrees or should be in the final year/semester of engineering; min. 60% of aggregate marks requiredPermanent Commission (for men); Short Service Commission (for men & women)

Entry for both of the above schemes are done through AFCAT