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How to join Indian air force after 12th - Check Selection Process & Eligibility

How to join Indian air force after 12th - Check Selection Process & Eligibility

Edited By Nikita | Updated on Feb 20, 2024 10:16 AM IST

The Indian Air Force is the air arm of the Indian Armed Forces. In terms of people and planes, it is ranked fourth in the globe. The primary mission of The Indian Air Force includes securing Indian airspace and conducting aircraft combat during the armed conflict in the country. Thousands of Indian students apply for it every year in hopes of getting a chance at it.

How to join Indian air force after 12th - Check Selection Process & Eligibility
How to join Indian air force after 12th - Check Selection Process & Eligibility

Many students aspire to join the Indian Air Force but are unsure about how to join Air Force after the 12th. There are various routes to understand how to join Indian Air Force after the 12th. Candidates should be aware that a career in the Indian Air Force is not restricted just to fighter aircraft piloting only but there is more to it – Flying branch, Technical branch, Ground staff.

Read more - Indian Airforce Airman

Three Branches In The Indian Air Force

The Flying Branch: Combat and missile-carrying pilots (Fighter Pilots); men and material-transporting pilots; helicopter pilots who offer air support to a marching army.

The Technical Branch: They are in charge of the Air Force's engineering equipment and weaponry systems.

The Non-Technical Branch: Contains divisions that support the flying and technical branches with logistical and meteorological assistance, as well as instructional and administrative.

To understand how to join Air Force after the 12th, we first need to know what skills and personal qualities would be essential to join the Defense Services.

Also Read - The Best Ways to Join Indian Air Force

Skills and Personal Qualities Required To Join The Indian Airforce

Courage: In the Indian Air Force, one needs to venture out of their comfort zones and let go of the fear that prevents them from doing things that they normally would not. Armed Forces personnel have been known to face physical hazards on the battlefield and in peacetime. If you often think about air force jobs after the 12th, then courage is one important quality that you should have.

Respect: Respect is certainly one of the important characteristics that any individual should possess in the Indian Defence Services. It is because you work in teams, you have diverse officers from diverse ranks and backgrounds around you with different life experiences.

Physical and mental fitness: Individuals spend a lot of time in difficult environments. Being physically and mentally healthy is a must. When it comes to the recruiting process, the endurance and fitness levels of the candidates are given specific consideration.

Leadership: An officer in The Indian Air Force not only commands his unit but also performs many other things. Excellent leadership skills are very important in order to make sure that his team follows his instructions and completes the mission.

Loyalty: A soldier's loyalty to his squad and to the nation is paramount. To be loyal means to be true to one's commitments, obligations, or duties.

Discipline: Discipline is a way of life characterised by adherence to a set of predetermined rules. Individuals in the Indian Army require discipline since it aids in character development and adds to a cohesive unit. Members of the units would most likely be unable to work as a unified team during deployments, drills, and training if there was no discipline. Having discipline is one of the important answers to how can I join the Air Force after the 12th.

Ability to take quick decisions: The capacity to make rapid judgements in times of crisis or conflict is a must for all officers. There might be life and death circumstances, therefore making the proper decisions and planning for the ultimate objectives is important.

We shall now look at the different ways of how to join the Indian Air Force after the 12th.

Also Read - What are the Best Career Options In India

How to Join Indian Air Force After the 12th

There are two categories on how you can join the Indian Air Force, details for which have been given in the table below.


Selection Procedure

Educational Qualification

Age Limit

National Defence Academy (NDA)

Written test

SSB Interview

PABT & CPSS test

10+2 passed or appeared with Physics and Mathematics

Between the ages of 15.5 and 18.5 years at the time of filling form

Between the ages of 16.5 and 19.5 years at the time of joining

X & Y Group

IAF STAR online test

Medical test

Group X

At least 50 per cent 12th (Mathematics, Physics, and English)

Group Y

Minimum of 50 per cent in class 12 in any subject

Should not be more than 21 years

Now that we have taken a brief look at how to join Air Force after the 12th, let us understand these ways in detail.

How to Join Indian Air Force After 12th - National Defence Academy (NDA)

The NDA exam is the only entryway to enter the Indian Air Force after 12th at an officer position. It is administered by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to recruit unmarried male candidates into Army, Navy, and Air Force. It is held twice a year (NDA exam one and NDA exam two), mostly in the months of April and November. The application form comes out in the month of January.

There are Two Stages to Clearing the NDA:

  • Written test: The written test is considered as the first round of selection. It is a 900 marks test that is further divided into two sections - Maths and General Ability test.

  • SSB (Service Selection Board) Interview: The SSB interview round will be open to those who meet the cut-off marks in the written test. The interview comprises two rounds primarily called the Psychological Aptitude test and the Intelligence test.

Read More - AFCAT Exam 2024

Candidates who are applying for Air Force particularly will have to qualify for the Pilot Aptitude Test (PABT) and Computerised Pilot Selection Test (CPSS).

To be accepted into the Indian Air Force under NDA recruitment, after securing the cut off marks in the written test and appearing for different levels of interviews and tests, the individual will have to undergo a medical examination.

Age Limit: Applicants must be between the age of 15.5 and 18.5 at the time of filling out the application. If you are joining the academy, you should be between the age of 16.5 and 19.5.

Educational Requirement: 10+2 passed or appearing with physics and mathematics.

Getting selected for NDA is one of the ways to join the Indian Air Force after 12th.

Also Read -

How to join Indian Air Force after 12th- X & Y Group

This category is for individuals who want to understand how to join the Indian Air Force after 12th as Airmen. Group X is for candidates who have the technical knowledge and have finished their 10+2 with Science and Maths or are Diploma holders. Candidates with non-technical qualifications belong to Group Y.

The Indian Air Force Group X and Y receive thousands of applications each year from male applicants who have completed their class 12 and want to know how to join Air Force after 12th. It is a highly respected profession that offers a good salary, employment stability, and a decent number of privileges, benefits, and allowances.

  • Candidates are selected on the basis of an online test STAR conducted in two phases, accompanied by a physical efficiency test and a medical assessment. The IAF STAR is a computer-based MCQ test.

  • The online method is used for the first phase. The online test is objective in style, including bilingual questions (English and Hindi).

  • The Group X test will last 60 minutes and cover topics such as English, Physics, and Mathematics.

  • It will take 45 minutes to complete the Group Y test, which will include questions on English language, reasoning, and general awareness.

  • After the result of Phase I, shortlisted applicants will be issued a new admit card for the Phase - II test which will be held at an Airmen Selection Centre. After clearing the Phase- II tests, candidates will be issued a medical appointment letter at respective Airmen Selection Centres.

Age Limit: The applicants' age should not be more than 21 years.

Educational Requirement:

Group X (Except Education Instructor Trade):

  • At least 50 per cent in Mathematics, Physics, and English in class 12 is required.

Group Y (Except IAF Security and Musician Trades)

  • Candidates must have a minimum of 50 per cent in their 12th class in any subject area.

Also Read- Career as an Indian Air Force Airman

For millions, joining the Indian Air Force and earning the wings to live a life of glory and pride is a dream. Through the above article, we have tried to give you answers to how I can join Air Force after the 12th. This ambition may be fulfilled in a variety of ways, including joining the Indian Air Force as an officer or as an Airman, by clearing the required tests and interviews as is mentioned in the above article.

This job requires a lot of strength, perseverance, critical decision-making skills, leadership skills, and so on. You will have to bear all the odds throughout your training, most of which might be hard, both physically and mentally. Therefore, make a mindful decision, gather all the required information and make the right decision for your career. All the best!

Author- The author of this article is Nikita Kukkar, who is a Counselling Psychologist, with extensive experience in Career Counselling of high school students.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

1. How many candidates apply for the NDA Exam?

Approximately, four to five lakh candidates every year apply for the NDA exam.  

2. Can 12th appearance apply for the Air Force?

Yes, you can apply while you are in 12th grade. But you need to have a certificate while at the training centre.

3. What is the salary for Air Force Y group?

The salary for Air Force Y group is between Rs. 26,000 (Basic salary).

4. Is the Airforce X exam tough?

Air Force “X” exam consists of English, Physics, and Maths of 10+2 level and the time duration is of 60 minutes. It also has reasoning and general awareness tests. The Written Test is the first stage of the selection procedure of Air Force Group X and Y. Therefore it is a little tough and requires preparation.

5. Which is the highest post in the Air Force?

The highest post in the Air Force is marshall of the Air Force is the highest.

6. What is the qualification is required for air force?

For the NDA category, students need to pass 10+2 with Physics and Mathematics. They also need to appear for the written test, SSB Interview and PABT & CPSS test.


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