Thursday , 14 June 2018

Guardians of the Indian Skies

Manu Anand


“Two stars on the shoulder are better (and brighter) than a thousand in the sky” is a saying that is uttered very commonly in the Indian Air Force. The compassion for doing something for the motherland is a dream for many. The feeling of serving the motherland creates a unique passion in them and makes them do anything for their country.

What do they do: The Indian Air Force safeguards Indian airspace; provides air support in times of war, tactical airlift capabilities, infantry and artillery transportation services to Indian army and navy and operates Indian space or disaster relief activities during natural calamities. They are the prime contributors to the United Nation peace keeping forces.

Career: A career in Indian Air Force is highly attractive but requires the deepest sense of motivation, dedication and discipline. An aspiring youth can join the air force and become a valiant soldier. A pilot officer can even become an air chief marshal, most of them make it to air commodore. Grants of higher rank from wing commander and above is by selection.

Eligibility: There are four points of entry in the IAF for officer level posts:

After 10+2: Those having passed 10+2 (science) with physics and maths can join as an officer in the Indian Air Force by appearing for the National Defence Academy (NDA) and Naval Academy (NA) Examination that is conducted by the UPSC twice a year.

After graduation: Men and women graduates who are shortlisted after the initial selection procedure (such as AFCAT exam,) are commissioned as officers.

After engineering: Candidates are commissioned as officers in the technical branch in their final or pre-final year of engineering through the University Entry Scheme.

After post graduation: Post graduates can obtain jobs in ground duty. Candidates must apply before the age of 28 but they do not qualify for the flying branch.

There is also a special entry into the Air Force through the NCC (National Cadet Corps). A senior officer in the NCC, who holds a ‘C’ certificate can directly apply to the Air Force and join its flying branch with permanent commissions.

Airforce Academies in India: The Indian Armed Forces have set up numerous military academies across India for training its personnel, such as the National Defence Academy (NDA). While technical and other support staff are trained at various ground training schools, pilots are trained at the Air Force Academy, Dundigul in Hyderabad.

Commission in the Air Force: One can join the Air Force as an officer in either one of the three branches – flying, technical or ground.

Officer cadre: Officer cadre provides opportunities for men with 10+2 (only in flying branch), graduates (all three branches), engineers (all three branches) and postgraduates (all branches except flying branch).

Only the officer cadre of the Air force provide opportunities for women. But they will be appointed only on Short Service Commission .

Flying branch includes fighter pilots who fly combat or fighter planes carrying ammunition and missiles, transport pilots who fly planes which carry men and materials and helicopter pilots who provide air support to a moving army or are used for para-dropping men and supplies. This branch also includes navigators who fly along with the pilot and guide the aircraft by using the latest avionic equipment.

Technical branch consists of all engineering sections responsible for engineering equipment and weapons systems of the air force. Aeronautical engineers in the mechanical department ensure proper maintenance of all aircrafts while those in electronics department handle electronic and communication equipment in aircrafts.

Ground duties branch includes technical branch, logistics branch, administrative branch, accounts branch, administrative officer, education branch, air traffic controller, officer, meteorology branch, fighter controller and medical branch.

Skills required: Aspiring candidates must possess officer-like qualities, physical robustness, desire to serve the nation, disciplined outlook, ability to accept and follow orders, readiness to move at short notice, sense of adventure, and the ability to withstand strain and travelling.

Air Force Officer after 10 + 2: The only way for a higher secondary student to join the IAF is by appearing for the NDA entrance exam conducted by the UPSC.

Officer Ranks: Air chief marshal, air marshal, air vice marshal, air commodore, group captain, wing commander, squadron leader, flight lieutenant and flying officer.

Salary: An IAF officer starts with a salary of approximately `50,000 to `60,000 per month. Higher ranks carry extra emoluments

Perks: All ranks of IAF get common facilities like free accommodation, free medical care for self and family, free education for two children, canteen facilities and group insurance. After retirement there are benefits like pension, medical facilities and use of canteen.

You are where the action is.

A career in Indian Air Force undoubtedly brings prestige of the highest order and that is why the selection procedure is based on high standards of mental and physical abilities and agility. However, this does not go in vain as the career that follows is quite envious for others. As an officer in the Indian Air Force you strategise, lead and manage. Trained in diversified fields and environments you are ready for all challenges that the fast-paced life in the air force has in store for you. Air force provides one with the most modern facilities and gives one an unparalleled way of life.


Director Alpha Mindz

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