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Living the Dream: A Career as an Airman – Indian Air Force

Career as an Airman - Indian Air Force

Do you have a fighting spirit? Are you fascinated by the work, sacrifices, and lifestyles of the officers in the Armed Forces? Do you have the guts like Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman? Do you like dealing with sophisticated and high-tech gadgets and systems? If the answers to the above are yes and you are physically fit, you can check out the career options as an Airman in the Indian Air Force. If you get through, you will never regret it for a day.

Airmen are technical or non-technical personnel serving in the Air Force but are not part of the flying clan. They are responsible for ground operations involving mechanical, electrical, electronic, IT, accounting, medical, security, Air Force traffic control, logistics, recruitment work and associated duties. They are also involved in policy-making, materials procurement and training/education of the Air Force officers. There is also an Air Force music band and its members are also Airmen.

Why become an Airman – Indian Air Force?

Indian Air Force protects and secures India’s airspace from potential threats of aerial aggression of other nations, from potential terrorist attacks, and from unauthorized use of India’s airspace by any aircraft or other unmanned aerial vehicles (such as drones).

Indian Air Force gets engaged in aerial warfare when any armed conflict develops between or among nations.

The Air Force also carries out missions to put a deterrent to enemy attacks as well as for any pre-emptive measures required to neutralize threats from other nations or terrorist organizations.

Indian Air Force also has the capabilities for rapid search and rescue missions, evacuation of distressed people from dangerous territories, and airlifting people from a warzone or areas of military operations or terrorist attacks.

During full-scale wars or at other times, Indian Air Force provides air support to the Indian Army and Indian Navy. During natural calamities such as floods and earthquakes, Indian Air Force has the capability to deliver relief supplies and evacuate people.

As an Airman serving in the Air Force, you will be expected to perform an array of jobs in your specific trade. On the basis of your performance in the Joint Basic Phase Training (JBPT) at Basic Training Institute, Belgaum a particular trade will be allotted to you.

Basic combatant training is imparted to all the recruits and this includes educational training, basic discipline and manners, weapon training etc. After the successful completion of basic training, you will be trained in specific trades. PT, Parade and games are an integral part of the training and service life.

Depending on whether you are in Group X or Y, you will be associated with either technical or non-technical trades.

Technical trades in Group X include fitter trades specifically automobile, electronics, electrical, mechanical etc. Technical trades in Group Y include communication technicians and automobile technicians.

However, depending on service requirements, you may be assigned other jobs as required by your superior authorities and exigencies (jobs urgent in nature) of service.

  1. Airman (Weapon Fitter): In this trade, you will prepare, maintain and service armaments, ammunition and safety equipment of aircraft, missiles and other weapon delivery systems. You will also operate and maintain small arms and bomb destruction equipment. You will be trained to handle bombs, explosives, arms and their installation on weapon delivery platforms.
  2. Airman (Indian Air Force-Security): As an Indian Air Force (Security) tradesman, you are to undertake special operations and carry out high-level security operations.
  3. Airman (Electronics Fitter): As an Electronics Fitter you will operate and maintain Radar, Voice and Data transmission and reception equipment mounted on the latest airborne weapon delivery systems and ground-based air defense systems. You will get trained in Digital Electronics, measuring instruments, radar technology, latest electronic devices and related trade fundamentals.
  4. Airman (Structures Fitter): As Structure Fitter, you will be responsible for the maintenance and servicing of airframes and their accessories, components and controls of aircraft. Regular checks for the entire hydraulic and pneumatic system to ensure proper functioning against leaks will also be part of your duties. You will also be assigned the responsibility of marshaling, parking, picketing and ground handling of aircraft.
  5. Airman (Admin Assistant): As an Admin Assistant you will maintain and analyze records, files and information of personnel. You will also manage ration supplies, cook houses and messes.
  6. Airman (Automobile Technician): As an Automobile Technician you will drive all types of light, medium and heavy automobiles, load carriers and specialist vehicles like cranes, towing tractors, fork lifters etc. subject to service exigencies. As a technician, you will also carry out minor repairs, day-to-day maintenance and basic level servicing of the common user vehicles and specialist vehicles in the Indian Air Force inventory.
  7. Airman (Mechanical System Fitter): In this trade, you will repair and maintain mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic systems of airborne missiles, engines, automobiles and aircraft fuelling equipment. Complete aircraft ground support equipment will also be repaired and maintained by you. You will be trained in handling and preparation of bombs and explosives and in the electrical systems, workshops and mechanical trades as well as automobile mechanics.
  8. Airman (Communication Technician): As a Communication Technician you will operate, service and maintain all types of state-of-the-art communication devices, telephone exchange and radio equipment
  9. Airman (Education Instructor): As an Education Instructor you will run training programs at instructional schools and improve the education level of Air Force Personnel.
  10. Airman (Workshop Fitter-Smith): In this trade, you will undertake major structural repairs of all aircraft at central repair facilities. You will also be trained in workshop trade for material treatment, welding, heat treatment, smithy and basic machine tools etc.
  11. Airman (Accounts Assistant): As an Accounts Assistant you will record and manage the accounting of pay and allowances, equipment, logistics transactions, public fund and cash flow etc
  12. Airman (Logistics Assistant): As a Logistics Assistant, you will be involved in the procurement, storage and handling of inventory control as well as accounting of military stores.
  13. Airman (Propulsion Fitter): In this trade, you will repair, maintain and prepare for the use of the propulsion system of aircraft and other airborne weapon delivery systems.
  14. Airman (Operations Assistant): As an Ops Assistant you will operate various systems of the Air Traffic Control Centre, Air Field and Air Defence System. You will be trained in the operation of Radars, Display Units, reporting and tracking procedures of airborne weapon systems, etc
  15. Airman (Automobile Fitter): In this trade, you will be responsible for the maintenance and repair of all types of light and heavy-duty mechanical vehicles, cranes and loading equipment etc.
  16. Airman (Ground Training Assistant): As a Ground Training Instructor, you will train personnel on drills, parades, handling of arms and physical exercises. You are also responsible for organizing and conducting all games and sports activities.
  17. Airman (Workshop Fitter-Mechanical): In this trade, you will undertake repair and maintenance work of mechanical nature. You will be trained in workshop trade and practices.
  18. Airman (Medical Assistant): In this trade, you are made familiar with nursing and first-aid. You will also be involved in the management of medical stores, dispensaries and ward supervision.
  19. Airman (Environment Support Services Assistant-ESSA): This trade involves maintenance of the firefighting section. It also requires that you ensure the upkeep of hygiene of Air Force Campus.
  20. Airman (Meteorological Assistant): If you are a Meteorological Assistant, you are trained to undertake weather observation and to maintain meteorological instruments. You are also responsible for plotting of charts, taking balloon observations and compilation of weather summaries.
  21. Airman (Electrical Fitter): As an Electrical Fitter you will maintain the power supply system of latest types of aircraft, airborne missiles and associated ground systems. You will also maintain photo equipment mounted on airborne weapon systems and operate ground-based photosystems. You will get trained in the electrical trade, operation and maintenance of digital devices, electronic devices etc.
  22. Airman (Indian Air Force-Police): In the position of Indian Air Force (Police) your responsibilities involve assuming police duties and investigating of offenses. You are also in charge of maintenance of security.
  23. Airman (Musician): As a musician, you will become a part of the Air Force Band. You will be trained to play different musical instruments.
  24. Airman (GARUD): The Garud Commando Force is the Special Forces unit of the Indian Air Force. Garud is tasked with the protection of critical Air Force bases and installations, search and rescue and disaster relief. Recruitment to the Garuds is done directly through airmen selection centers via advertisements. Candidates have only one chance to become a Garud trainee and are put through a process of rigorous physical training. Wherever you are posted in the IAF, you will be part of a Garud Unit.

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What does Airman – Indian Air Force do?

Depending on which trade you are selected for, as an Airman you will be engaged in one or more of the following or related activities: –

  1. You will be engaged in operational matters and supervision of air operations activities.
  2. You will be involved in the supervision of administrative and ground operations activities.
  3. You will be assisting in infrastructure development and technical works pertaining to the IAF
  4. You will be engaged in the supervision of maintenance activities.
  5. You will be engaged in the inspection and flight safety activities.
  6. You will be involved in higher-level interaction with Civil Aviation Departments on all matters.
  7. You will be involved in planning and procurement for the IAF.
  8. You will be engaged in the implementation of policies on all in-service training and services in IAF.
  9. You will be involved in the sanctions of various types of payments under travel Regulations in respect of all categories of civilian personnel serving in Air HQ (Head Quarters) and units directly under Air HQ.
  10. You will be assisting in maintaining high operational preparedness for the defense of the Indian airspace in coordination with Army and Navy personnel.
  11. You will be responsible for assisting in the smooth functioning of the IAF as a whole

How to become an Airman – Indian Air Force: Eligibility Criteria

You can join the Air Force as an Airman if you have any level of education from Class 10 to post-graduation. However, specific trades will be allotted to you depending upon your level and discipline of education.

English is a mandate and has to be one of your compulsory subjects either in Class 10 or Class 11-12 or Diploma or Graduation. You will study Class 11-12 and in any discipline, while graduating like Physics, Psychology, Chemistry, Mathematics, IT, Computer Science, Statistics, English, History, Geography, Computer Applications, Geology, Life Science etc.

After Class 10, you can:

  • Directly join the forces
  • Go for ITI training
  • Go for a Diploma course
  • Complete Class 11-12

After Class 11-12, you can:

  • Directly join the forces.
  • Go for lateral entry into Engineering Diploma courses.
  • Complete graduation (B. A. / B. Sc / B. C. A)

After graduation, you can:

  • Directly join the forces.
  • Go for post-graduation (M. A. / M. Sc / M. C. A)
  • Go for B. Ed course.

The electrical/electronics/mechanical or IT trades that will be considered are:

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electronics and Avionics
  • Instrumentation Engineering / Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering (Design & Drafting)
  • Electronics
  • Applied Electronics
  • Electronics & Communication Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering (Foundry Technology)
  • Mechanical Engineering (Machine Tool Maintenance and repairs)
  • Electronics (Fibre Optics)
  • Electronics (Robotics)
  • Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering (Refrigeration & Air Conditioning)
  • Mechanical Engineering (Tool & Die)
  • Electronics (Microprocessor)
  • Computer Science & Technology
  • (CAD/CAM Design & Robotics)
  • Mechanical (Advance Manufacturing Technology)
  • Instrumentation and Control Engineering
  • Telecommunication Engineering/Technology
  • Information Technology
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electronics & Telecommunication Engineering
  • Industrial Electronics
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering (Production)
  • Advanced Diploma in Refrigeration & Air-conditioning
  • Mechatronics
  • Mechanical Engineering (Fabrication Tech)
  • Mechanical Engineering Electrical & Electronics Engineering
  • Computer Science & Engineering
  • Manufacturing Engineering/Technology
  • Production Engineering
  • Automobile Engineering

Educational Fees

The educational fees for becoming an Airman in the Indian Air Force can vary depending on the specific program or course of study. However, there are a few general requirements and fees that you can expect.

Firstly, to become an Airman in the Indian Air Force, you must have completed your 10+2 education from a recognized board or university. There are various educational qualifications required for different trades and branches, such as Group X and Group Y trades.

Once you have met the educational requirements, you can apply for the Indian Air Force’s recruitment process. There is no application fee for this process, but you will need to pay for the online examination.

The online examination fee is currently set at Rs. 250 for Group X trades and Rs. 100 for Group Y trades. If you pass the online examination, you will then need to appear for the Physical Fitness Test (PFT), which is free of cost.

After clearing the PFT, you will undergo a medical examination, which is also free of cost. If you are selected for training, the Indian Air Force will cover all expenses related to your training, including food, accommodation, and uniforms.

In summary, the educational fees for becoming an Airman in the Indian Air Force include the online examination fee, which is currently set at Rs. 250 for Group X trades and Rs. 100 for Group Y trades. However, if you pass the recruitment process, the Indian Air Force will cover all expenses related to your training.

Job Opportunities

Depending upon which trade you are selected for after successful completion of your basic training, you will be a tradesman in Group X or Group Y. Both Groups have technical and non-technical trades.

You may be recruited for a technical trade in Group X as an:

  • Automobile Fitter
  • Electronics Fitter
  • Electrical Fitter
  • Mechanical System Fitter
  • Structures Fitter
  • Propulsion Fitter
  • Workshop Fitter(Smith)
  • Workshop Fitter (Mechanical)
  • Weapon Fitter

You may be recruited as an Education Instructor in the non-technical arm of Group X.

You may be recruited as a Communication Technician or an Automobile Technician in the technical arm of Group Y.

You may be recruited for a non-technical trade in Group Y as an:

  • Admin Assistant
  • Accounts Assistant
  • Medical Assistant
  • Logistics Assistant
  • Environment Support Services Assistant (ESSA)
  • Operations Assistant
  • Meteorological Assistant
  • Ground Training Assistant
  • Indian Air Force (Police)
  • Indian Air Force (Security)
  • Musician

Salary of Airman – Indian Air Force

During training, a stipend of Rs. 14,600/- per month will be paid.

Group ‘X’ (Technical) Trade

Rs. 33,100/- per month (approximately) plus DA (as applicable) which, in subsequent years, may rise as per the career progression of the individual.

Education Instructor Trade (Sgt)

Rs. 40,600/- per month (approximately) plus DA (as applicable) which, in subsequent years, may rise as per the career progression of the individual.

Group ‘Y’ (Non-Technical) Trades

Rs. 26,900/- per month (approximately) plus DA (as applicable) which, in subsequent years, may rise as per the career progression of the individual.

Allowances such as Transport allowance, Leave Ration allowance (LRA), Children’s Education Allowance, Composite personal maintenance allowance (CPMA), HRA etc. are there.

Perks such as clothing, ration, accommodation, medical facilities, transport for school-going children, canteen facilities, recreational facilities, leave (60 days annual and 30 days casual in a calendar year) and Leave Travel Concession (LTC) are also provided as per the existing rules. Facilities of Group Housing Scheme and Group Insurance Cover of Rs. 37.5 Lakhs at a premium of Rs. 2300/- per month are also there for all airmen. Air Force Wives Welfare Association (AFWWA) also extends other facilities to the families of airmen.

According to the 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC), the following is the pay structure. The figures include a revised MSP (Military Service Pay) rate of Rs. 5200 a month.

Aircraftsmen/Leading Aircraftsmen may expect around Rs. 26900 as the starting basic pay a month.

Corporals may expect around Rs 30700 as the starting basic pay a month.

Sergeants may expect around Rs 34400 as the starting basic pay a month.

Junior Warrant Officer may expect around Rs 40600 as the starting basic pay a month.

Warrant Officer may expect around Rs. 50100 as the starting basic pay a month.

Master Warrant Officer (MWO) may expect around Rs 52800 as the starting basic pay a month.

Honorary Flying Officers may expect around Rs 61300 as the starting basic pay a month.

Honorary Flight Lieutenant may expect around Rs 66500 as the starting basic pay a month.

Career Progression in Airman – Indian Air Force profession

The initial period of engagement in the Indian Air Force is 20 years, and this is extendable up to the age of 57 years. Promotions up to the rank of Master Warrant Officer (MWO) exist.

The hierarchy of ranks among Airmen is as follows: Aircraftsman, Leading Aircraftsman, Corporal, Sergeant, Junior Warrant Officer, Warrant Officer, Master Warrant Officer, Honorary Flying Officer, and Honorary Flight Lieutenant.

The promotion of aircraft men to the rank of Corporal and Sergeant is based on success in promotion examinations and completion of a minimum length of service.

Policy for further promotions of aircraft men to the rank of Junior Warrant Officer, Warrant Officer and Master Warrant Officer is on the basis of merit-cum-seniority.

Remastering is a process of change of trade during the career of airmen. The individual can opt for remastering as a means of career progression or due to medical problems.

The IAF has earned its name in various peacekeeping missions around the world and is therefore tasked for many such missions abroad. There are postings to various countries on different assignments. The selection criteria are strict as per merit.

All Airmen are given financial upgradation on completion of 10 years & 20 years of qualifying service.

Service Entry Commission has the following requirements. Airmen belonging to the rank of Sergeant & above with minimum of 10 years of service and not less than 34 and upto 42 years of age get the opportunity to become a Commissioned Officer in the Indian Air Force.

Honorary Commission is granted either on Republic Day and Independence Day each year to selected MWOs/WOs in the last year of their service before retiring. On grant of Honorary Commission, they are eligible for higher scales of pay and allowances.

Post-Retirement benefits include Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS), pension, and gratuity. Specific Pre-Release Courses (PRC) are also arranged to enable Airmen to take up careers post their retirement. Besides, Airmen also get relaxation in age and reservation in government services as ex-servicemen.

The IAF is one of the best operational Air Force in the world. The Indian Air Force recruits officers every year. There is a systematic process to fill the vacancies that arise out of retirement from permanent or short service commissions. Although the increase in the number of positions depends upon Government policies and defense budget allocation towards salaries, there is a good number of recruitments every year. As far as the future is concerned, there might be a chance of an increase in the number of recruitments as India is poised to acquire modern fighter jets and advanced defense equipment, missiles, weaponry, computer and communication systems.

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