How to Join IAF After 12th

Do you want to join the Indian Air Force after completing 12th standard? If yes, this article will be of help to you. Here, I’ve provided all the details about NDA entry scheme – eligibility criteria, selection process, medical and physical standards.

Join IAF after 12th

Using the NDA entry scheme, 10+2 Science stream passed students may join the IAF as Flying Officers (after completing the required training). NDA stands for National Defence Academy.


To get into this premier Defence training institute, one must crack the NDA entrance test. This entrance test is conducted by the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) twice a year.


In order to appear for NDA entrance, you must satisfy some basic eligibility criteria. Here they are –


Eligibility criteria

Age of the candidate: Between 16.5 to 19.5 years (at the time of the commencement of the course).


Gender: Only male candidates are allowed to make use of NDA entry scheme.


Nationality: Indian.


Educational qualifications: 10+2 passed with Physics and Mathematics subjects. Students appearing for the final year are also eligible to apply.


UPSC conducts this exam twice a year. The advertisements are published on leading newspapers, official UPSC websites and other circulars. The advertisements are usually put out on June and December each year.


The road to NDA (step-by-step guide)

  1. Apply for the UPSC exam: The first step is to watch out for advertisements by the UPSC. On coming across the advertisement, apply for the exam as per the instructions mentioned in the advertisement.
  2. Crack the written test: Once your application is received, you’ll be called to appear for a written test. UPSC conducts this written test. Clear this test to move on to the next stage.
  3. SSB (Services Selection Interview): It is a tricky selection test. The SSB Interview can be divided into two main stages – stage 1 and stage 2. To clear the SSB Interview, a candidate must score a minimum qualifying marks in each stage of the interview.
  4. PABT (Pilot Aptitude Battery Test): This test is specially meant for IAF Flying Branch aspirants. PABT gauges the candidate and helps instructors determine whether the candidate is ‘pilot material’ or not.
  5. Medical examination: Candidates who clear the SSB Interview and PABT are then sent for medical examination. They’ll be sent to AFCME (Air Force Central Medical Establishment) or Institute of Aviation Medicine for medical examination.
  6. Final merit list: An All India level merit list is prepared in the end. The list is prepared on the basis of candidates’ performance in written test and SSB Interview, subject to being medically fit. Based on the number of seats for IAF cadets at the NDA, top ranking candidates will be given joining instructions.


Once in NDA, the cadets will be given three year training. After completing training at NDA Khadakwasla, Pune, they’ll be sent for specialized training at one of the training establishments.


After completing 1 year long specialized training, they are commissioned as Permanent Commission Officers and posted as pilots at any of the Air Force stations.


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