How To Join Indian Air Force After 12th?

If you have just passed your 12th standard, you may wonder how to join the Indian Air Force after the 12th. To be a part of the Indian Air Force, you must fulfill a list of criteria mentioned in this article in detail below. Let’s dive in!

It is a dream for many to be a part of the Indian Air Force, one of India’s three defense forces. It’s a life full of prestige and respect. However, it requires bravery and courage to handle the day-to-day tasks and save the country from external aggression when needed.

The primary target of the Indian Air Force is to secure Indian airspace and conduct combat during any conflict that may arise.

Thousands of candidates apply to join the IAF annually. However, only a few clear the exam and can join the defense forces at various positions.

Branches of the Indian Air Force

There are different branches of the Indian Air Force. Such as the flying branch, ground staff, and technical branch.

Flying Branch

In this branch, you are provided training as a helicopter, fighter, or transport pilot. You have to take part in peace and wartime missions.

Technical Branch

As a part of the technical branch, you are supposed to manage the team to investigate the aircraft properly before takeoff. In addition, they check on the most sophisticated equipment used in the machinery of the flights.

Non-Technical Branch

The ground duty branch is also known as The non-technical branch. They manage various things such as

  • HR management
  • Finance management
  • Marketing management
  • Operation management
  • Business Analytics
  • IT management
  • CAT,
  • Communication management.

How to Join Indian Air Force After 12th?

An aspirant must clear the NDA examination after the 12th standard to join the Indian Air Force. It’s a challenging exam. Therefore, you must prepare diligently. Check here for some preparation tips for the NDA exam.

There are certain factors that a candidate needs to fulfill set by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

What is the NDA examination?

NDA or the national defense Academy examination is organized by the UPSC annually twice: NDA I and NDA II. It provides a chance for the candidates to join the country’s defense forces.

The National Defence Academy and Naval Academy exam is a 2-step examination. The first step is to take the written exam and the second is the personality test conducted by the SSB (Service Selection Board).

Written Examination

This exam is of 900 marks and is divided into two categories: Maths and General Ability test. Students must clear this round to get to the next one.

SSB Interview

The Service Selection Board interview is a challenging and long process. There are again two rounds: the Intelligence test and the Psychological Aptitude Test.

Candidates willing to take the exam can click here for further exam schedule details.

Note: for the Air Force, candidates must pass the Pilot Aptitude Test and Computerised Pilot Selection test!

Educational Qualifications

A candidate must have passed the 12th standard with physics and maths as the main subjects.


Only male candidates were allowed to apply for the examination. But, after that, the Supreme Court passed an order on September 22, 2021, that allows women to appear for the UPSC NDA examination.

Physical Requirements

Every candidate applying to the Air Force must maintain themselves physically and mentally. Specific medical standards are set by the National Defense Academy and the Naval Academy 2020.

Height and Weight Requirements

Note: weight requirements are the same for females and males as mentioned by the authorities.

Height (cms) Weight (kgs) [18-22 years]
152 47
153 47
154 48
155 49
156 49
157 50
158 50
159 51
160 52
161 52
162 53

Sitting Height

  • Maximum height: 96 cm.
  • Minimum height: 81.50 cm.

Leg Length

  • Maximum length: 120 cm
  • Minimum length: 99 cm

Thigh Length

  • Maximum length: 64 cm
  • Minimum length: NA

Visual Requirements

Here are the visual requirements for joining the Indian Air Force after the 12th.

  • The distance vision of a candidate must be 6/6 in the better eye and 6/9 in the bad one.
  • Myopia must not be more than 2.5D.
  • Hypermetropia must not be more than 3.5D.
  • No one with spectacles is allowed.
Title Requirements
Astigmatism +0.75 Cyl (within + 2.0 D.Max)
Color vision CP – I (MLT)
Corrected with glass 6/6 (only for Hypermetropia)
Limits of Myopia Nil
Limits of Hypermetropia +2.00 D Sph


The candidate applying for the exam must be either:

  • A Citizen of India
  • A Subject of Nepal or
  • A subject of Bhutan, or,
  • Tibetan refugees who came to India before 1 Jan. 1962 (permanent settlement).
  • A person of Indian origin who migrated from the following countries with the intention of permanent settlement: Pakistan, Sri Lanka, East African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zaire & Ethiopia, and Vietnam.

Age limit

The age limit is between 16.5 to 19 years when filling in the application form.

How to Apply For Indian Air Force After 12th?

As mentioned above, candidates must appear for the NDA examination. For that, it is a must to fill in the application form. Here is a step-by-step process to fill out the form:

  1. Visit the official website of UPSC.
  2. Tap on the application form of NDA and NA.
  3. Enter complete details such as name, Aadhaar number, date of birth, nationality, etc.
  4. Choose your branch; Air Force amongst the other two options being Indian Army and Navy.
  5. Click Next and verify the information entered by you. Remember to double-check, as any mistake can lead to the cancellation of your candidature during document verification.
  6. After submitting, you will get a registration ID sent to your email.
  7. For submitting the application fees, you can choose from different payment options such as credit card/ cash/ debit card or net banking.
  8. Select the nearest exam center for convenience.
  9. The next window asks you to upload a photograph and signature.
  10. The minimum size is 20 KB, and the maximum size is 300 KB.

That’s all!

What After Clearing the NDA Exam?

After clearing the NDA examination, the authorities follow a selection process. A candidate must follow some essential steps afterward:

  • After clearing the NDA written examination, the next step is to clear the SSB interview.
  • All qualified candidates must take the Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT). This test analyses a candidate’s aptitude required to be a good pilot.
  • After clearing this exam, candidates are called for the medical test. This is the final round.
  • After the medical test, a merit list is prepared by calculating the score obtained in the NDA written exam, SSB interview, and the medical test.
  • If candidates make it to the merit list, they are sent to the training camps for three years at Air Force Academy, Dundigal.
  • On completion of this training, another year of training is mandatory. It takes place at the Air Force Academy, Hyderabad.
  • After completing this training, candidates are charged as Flying Officers in the IAF.

Skills Required for Joining the Indian Air Force

A candidate who wishes to join the Air Force must possess the following skills:


An individual needs to have courage in the Indian Air Force. There can be situations where you have to handle internal or external aggression. At those times, you must be brave and take steps as guided by the authorities. In addition, there are various physical risks during air combat or on the battlefield. Therefore, a candidate must be prepared beforehand for such situations.

Physical and mental fitness

In the Indian Air Force, a candidate must be physically and mentally fit. At the time of recruitment, several medical tests are taken to ensure a candidate’s fitness. As evident, a person who is not physically or mentally will not be an asset to the Indian Air Force.

Therefore, you must take care of your health both physically and mentally.


All the defense forces run with dedication and discipline. This is the very foundation of the Indian Air Force. A candidate must be disciplined as it helps character development and improves the whole unit’s work. Moreover, the training and the job involve drills, early practices, deployments, and more. These requirements ask for a person to be dedicated and disciplined.

So if your daily routine is lousy, it’s time to make a sincere change.

Decision-Making Ability

There are various circumstances during the job or training where a person is expected to make a quick decision. It can be during any war or simple training. Therefore, you must make decisions instantly in case of any emergency or conflict. This skill is one of the most critical skills as there are many times when it is a life or death situation in the Indian Air Force.


It is of utmost importance to maintain decent and respectful behavior toward one another. It is also one of the core aspects tutored in the training session at the Air Force Academy. You are surrounded by officers of different ranks and backgrounds with varying life experiences than your own. Some have been part of significant wars, terrorist attacks, and much more. Therefore, you must maintain decorum throughout your job.


Joining the Indian Air Force is a matter of great prestige and respect. There are various career obstacles and challenges, but it is all worth it when you wear the uniform and represent your country. Moreover, there are different perks and allowances given to the personnel of the Indian Air Force.

We hope you found the answer to the question of how to join the Indian Air Force after 12th from this article.

If you have already decided to join the forces, you must start your preparations for the NDA examination immediately. The competition is rising yearly, and you must give your best.

For the best NDA books, you can visit here.

Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

Ques.1 Can I join Air Force after the 12th?

Ans. Yes, you have to take the NDA and NA exams. After clearing the rounds, you will be eligible to join the Indian Air Force.

Ques. 2 Is joining Air Force hard?

Ans. There are various difficult challenges in basic training. The candidates are tested physically, emotionally, and mentally. Therefore, you prepare yourself to be disciplined, dedicated and have strong willpower.

Ques. 3 Is Maths compulsory for Air Force?

Ans. Yes, maths is mandatory in the 12th standard to join the Air Force.

Ques. 4 Which stream is best for Air Force?

Ans. You must take the science stream with subjects namely maths, physics, and chemistry.

Ques. 5 Which subject is most important for Air Force?

Ans. Maths and Physics are the most important subjects for joining the Air Force.

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