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How to Get into Indian Air Force after 12th

Yash Dhamija
Yash DhamijaUpdated On: August 12, 2022 01:09 am IST | UPSC NDA & NA

If you are targeting the coveted Indian Air Force jobs after 12th, you will need to appear for the NDA exam, which is conducted by the UPSC. Find all the details regarding the Indian Air Force eligibility criteria, selection process and jobs here.

Indian Air Force Selection Process

The Indian Air Force is the Indian Armed Forces' air arm (IAF). It is ranked fourth in the world in terms of people and planes. The Indian Air Force's primary mission is to secure Indian airspace and conduct aircraft combat during armed conflict in the country. Every year, thousands of Indian students apply in the hopes of being accepted. Joining the Indian Air Force requires courage and dignity, as well as a strong desire to serve the country. Many students want to join the Indian Air Force but are unsure how to do so after the 12th grade. There are several ways to learn how to join the Indian Air Force after the 12th. Candidates should be aware that a career in the Indian Air Force is not limited to fighter aircraft piloting alone, but also includes the following branches: flying, technical, and ground staff. The Indian Air Force is in charge of air defence in the country. They are primarily in charge of attacking and defending the country with the best resources available.

There is a range of career options available for the candidate after passing class 12th. Candidates can also choose to join the Indian Air Force. Getting selected for the Indian Air Force is a dream for many people and a career as an Air Force Officer is challenging and rewarding at the same time. Not to forget, the perks and pay scale that one gets after joining the Indian Air Force. The cherry on the top is the glory of a job well done will fetch you so many rewards and recognition. In addition to it, the thrill of discovering new places, getting to interact with new people and even visiting foreign locales are some of the exciting opportunities this field can offer. However, candidates must note that a career in the Indian Air Force is not limited to just flying fighter aircraft. There are many other aircraft which can be assigned to them such as transport, fly helicopters and cargo related aircraft. To know more about the Indian Air Force and how to get into this field after passing 12th is something that has been explored in this article. It will help you understand the complete procedure and requirements for getting into the Indian Air Force after 12th.

How to Get into the Indian Air Force after 12th?

Before moving further, candidates must know that the Indian Air Force is classified into three main parts namely Flying branch, Technical branch and Ground branch/ staff. Flying branch is further classified into three sub-parts i.e Fighter pilots, Helicopter pilots and Transport pilots.

Every year thousands of applicants apply for this job, out of which only 5-6% are able to ace the selection process. The selection process for the Indian Air Force includes appearing for the NDA/ NA entrance examination and a personal interview round. Those who clear all the selection rounds will be called for training at the air force academy.

What is the NDA Exam?

NDA is a common entrance exam conducted for admission to the Navy, Air Force and Army wings of the Indian Naval Academy Course (INAC) and NDA. The exam is conducted twice a year in two stages - written test and SSB Interview. NDA covers questions from General Ability Test and Mathematics.

Eligibility Criteria to Get into Indian Air Force after 12th

Candidates will have to satisfy the minimum eligibility requirement decided by the Union Public Service Commission( UPSC).

Educational Requirements: Applicants must have cleared 12th with mathematics and physics as main subjects. Those who are appearing in the final year of examination may also apply.

Age Limit: The age of candidates who are applying for the examination should be between 16½-19 years at the time of filling the application form.

Gender: Only male candidates are eligible to apply for this examination.

Find out the detailed eligibility criteria of the NDA examination here.

Physical Requirements to Get into Indian Air Force after 12th

All the candidates appearing for the exam should be physically and mentally fit in accordance with the medical standards set by the National Defense Academy and the Examination Naval Academy 2020. The parameters are as follows:

Height Requirement

The minimum height required for the Air force is 162.5 cms. 5 cms relaxation will be provided to the Gorkhas and individuals belonging to hills of North-Eastern regions of India, Kumaon and Garhwal. While 2 cms relaxation will be provided to the candidates from Lakshadweep.

Weight Requirement

Weight requirements vary with height which is mentioned in the table given below.

Height (In cms)

Weight (in kgs)

16 years

18 years

20 years





















































The candidates will also have to satisfy some special requirements provided below.

Leg Length

  • Maximum - 120.00 cms
  • Minimum - 99.00 cms

Thigh Length

  • Maximum - 64.00 cms
  • Minimum - N/A

Sitting Height

  • Maximum - 96.00 cms
  • Minimum - 81.50 cms


  • The chest should be at least 81 cms
  • The range of expansion after full inspiration should be at least 5 cms

Visual Standards Required to Get into the Indian Air Force after 12th

The visual standards required to get into the Indian Air Force after 12th are also mentioned here.

  • The distance vision of the candidates should be at least 6/6 in the better eye and 6/9 in the worse eye.
  • Hypermetropia not more than 3.5 D including Astigmatism
  • Myopia should not be more than 2.5 D
  • No spectacles for Air Force candidates

The table provided below lists the visual standards required for the Air force officers.


Air Force


+0.75 Cyl (within + 2.0 D.Max)

Binocular Vision


Colour Vision


Corrected with glass

6/6 (only for Hypermetropia)

Limits of Colour Perception


Limits of Hypermetropia

+2.00 D Sph

Limits of Myopia


Manifest Myopia

Nil Re

Near Vision

N-5 each eye

Tinoscopic Myopia


Uncorrected without glass

6/6, 6/9

How to Apply for Indian Air Force after 12th

NDA examination is conducted twice a year by the Union Public Service Commission( UPSC). The advertisement for the examination appears in the newspaper every year. Candidates can visit the official website of UPSC to fill the application form of the NDA entrance examination. The application process for the same has been given below.

  • Visit the official website of UPSC
  • Click on the application form of National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination
  • Fill all the required information including date of birth, father’s name, Aadhaar number, nationality and marital status
  • Choose your branch: Indian Army, Air Force and Navy
  • Check it you are a student of Military/ Sanik School or Son of NCO/ JCO/ Other Rank Officer
  • Proceed to the next page
  • Verify all the details provided by you
  • Once done, a registration ID will be generated which will also be sent to the registered email ID
  • Submit the application fee via credit card/ cash/ debit card or net banking
  • Choose the NDA exam centre as per your suitability
  • At last, proceed to upload the scanned images of photograph and signature
  • The minimum size of documents is 20kb and the maximum size is 300kb

Process of Joining Indian Air Force after 12th

Candidates need to appear for the NDA entrance exam to get into the airforce after 12th. They can check the complete selection process provided below.

  • Those who have cleared the NDA entrance examination will have to appear for the SSB interview
  • Selected candidates will have to appear for PABT (Pilot Aptitude Battery Test)
  • PABT is conducted to check the potential of the candidate to be a good pilot
  • Those who clear the PABT examination will be sent for the medical examinations
  • A merit list will be prepared after considering the performance of the candidate in NDA published test, SSB interview and Medical test
  • Selected candidates will be provided training for 3 years along with Naval Cadets and Miltary
  • On completion of the three-year training program, candidates will be sent to the Air force Academy, Hyderabad for further training for 1 year
  • Once the training is complete, candidates will be charged as Flying Officers in the Indian Air Force

How to Join the Indian Air Force After Your 12th Grade: Personal Qualities and Skills Needed

  • Courage: To succeed in the Indian Air Force, one must push themselves beyond their comfort zones and let go of the fears that hold them back from taking risks. On the battlefield and in times of peace, physical risks are not unknown to members of the armed forces. If you frequently wonder, "How can I join the Air Force once I finish high school?" bravery is a virtue you should possess
  • Respect: One of the most important characteristics that any individual in the Indian Defence Services should have is respect. It is because you work in teams and are surrounded by officers of various ranks and backgrounds with varying life experiences

  • Physical and mental fitness: People spend a lot of time in stressful situations. Physical and mental health are essential. When it comes to the recruiting process, the candidates' endurance and fitness levels are taken into account

  • Leadership: An officer in the Indian Air Force is responsible for many other tasks in addition to leading his unit. In order to ensure that his team follows his orders and completes the mission, he must possess excellent leadership abilities

  • Loyalty: It is extremely important, both to a soldier's squad and to the country. Being faithful to one's commitments, duties, or obligations is the definition of loyalty

  • Discipline: It is a way of life defined by adherence to a set of predetermined rules. Individuals in the Indian Army need discipline because it helps character development and contributes to a cohesive unit. If there was no discipline, members of the units would most likely be unable to work as a unified team during deployments, drills, and training. One of the most important answers to how can I join the Air Force after 12th grade is discipline

  • Ability: Ability to make quick decisions: All officers must be able to act quickly in situations of emergency or conflict. Making the right choices and organising for the end goals is crucial because there may be life-or-death situations

A good preparation strategy is required to clear the entrance examination. Those who have completed graduation can also appear for the Combined Defence Services (CDS) exam and Air Force Common Admission Test (AFCAT) to join Indian Air Force. If you have any queries, feel free to post a question on the CollegeDekho QnA Zone and get answers from the experts.

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