How to become an Airman

Airman – How to become an Airman?

An Airman in the Indian Air Force (IAF) is equivalent to a Soldier in the Army. Joining as an Airman provides ample opportunities for young men in either Technical or Non-Technical trades. There are three combatant groups to choose from: ‘X’, ‘Y’, or ‘Z’, depending on the candidate’s interests and eligibility.

In the Technical trade, an Airman’s job involves maintaining and testing aircraft and other flying-related equipment. They also maintain and overhaul ground equipment and armament.

Non-Technical Airmen provide assistance and support to various functions, including weather forecasting and maintenance of records and files for various branches of the IAF. Due to the importance of these jobs in safeguarding national security, personnel handling them must be hardworking, loyal to the nation, and of impeccable integrity.


Airman in Indian Air Force Eligibility

Eligibility Conditions
Essential Qualification and Age for becoming an Airman in Airforce varies from Metric to Graduation with some time asking for math, science and English as main subjects. It depends upon the type of entry (Trade wise) one is seeking for.

Eligibility Condition for Combatant Group ‘X'(Technical Trade)

  • Educational Qualification
    Passed 10+2 or equivalent examination with English, Mathematics, and Physics; A minimum aggregate of 50% marks.
  • Age Limits
    Between 16 years to 22 years depending on the trade
  • Marital Status
  • Nationality
  • Gender
    Only male candidates are eligible to join Indian Air Force as Airman.

A. Eligibility condition for Combatant Group ‘X'( Non-Technical Trade)-Teacher

  • Educational Qualification
    B.A. (Honours) or a B.Sc. (Honours), B.A. / B.Sc. with one-year teaching experience in a recognized educational institution, B.A. / B.Sc. with a teaching degree or diploma.
  • Age Limits
    Between 20 years to 25 years
  • Marital Status
  • Nationality
  • Gender
    Only male candidates

B. Condition for Combatant Group ‘X'(Non-Technical Trade)-Technical Instructor

  • Educational Qualification
    Passed M.A. / M.Sc. with at least II class
  • Age Limits
    Between 20 years and 27 years
  • Marital Status
  • Nationality
  • Gender
    Only male candidates

Common Eligibility for joining as an Airman in either Combatant Group ‘Y’ or Combatant Group ‘Z’ of the Technical or Non- Technical Trades

  • Age Limits
    16 years to 20 years (Group ‘Y’), 17-35 (Group ‘Z’)
  • Marital Status
  • Single
  • Nationality
  • Gender
    Only male candidates

Eligibility for Specific Trade
Technical Trades

An airman under the Technical Trades is involved in the production and testing of aircraft and flying-related equipment. He is directly or indirectly responsible for the maintenance and overhaul of armament and ground equipment.
Educational Qualification is required for this trade

  • Passed Matriculation or equivalent examination in English.
  • A minimum aggregate of 60% marks.

Non-Technical Trades
An airman in the non-technical trades assists and support officers in the Air Force.
Educational Qualification is required for this trade

  •   Passed Matriculation or equivalent examination.
  •   A minimum aggregate of 45% marks.
  •   Pass marks in English.

Mechanical Transport Driver
This trade comes under the category of Non-Technical Trades but the selection criteria for this job is slightly different from that of other Non-Technical Trades under Combatant Group ‘Y’.

Basic minimum requirements for all candidates
To join the Air Force as an airman, the aspirant should be at least 152.5 cm. tall. There are, however, some trades that have different requirements.

i. Mechanical Transport Driver and Certain Technical Trades

  • Minimum height – 165 cm.
  • Minimum leg length – 99 cm.

ii. IAF Police

  • Minimum height – 175 cm.

iii. Ground Training Instructor and Musician

  • Minimum height – 167 cm.

Clear Medical Record
The aspirant should have a clear medical record, with a history clear of any of the following diseases

  • Mental Sickness/Fits
  • Diseases/Skin Ailments
  • Surgical Deformity


  • Minimum Expanded Chest (75cm)
  • Minimum Range Of Expansion (5cm)


To become an Airman in the Indian Air Force, there are some minimum visual standards that aspirants must fulfill to qualify. They must have a minimum corrected vision of at least 6/12 in each eye or 6/6 in the healthier eye and 6/18 in the weaker eye with spectacles with power not exceeding + / -5.50 Dioptres, inclusive of astigmatism in any meridian, with the full field of vision and Minimum CP-IV unsafe color vision. However, there are other detailed visual and color standards that are specific to different trades.


Aspirants should have normal hearing ability, i.e., they should be able to hear forced whisper from a distance of 6 meters in each ear individually.


Healthy gums and a good set of teeth are also important criteria.

It is advisable that candidates reporting for the medical exam must ensure a high level of personal hygiene and bring the latest prescription and spectacles for the corrected vision to avoid any delay.

How to become an Airman?

Aspiring candidates must follow the given steps to become an Airman in the Indian Air Force:

Step 1:

The first step is to apply for the vacancies that are advertised in leading newspapers from time to time. It is important to ensure that you fulfill all the basic and specific requirements of the job/trade that you are applying for. Only after checking all the eligibility-wise application forms will you receive an Admit Card that will contain all the relevant details like the date, time, and venue of your examination. The subjects tested on will depend on the trade you have applied for.

Step 2:

There will be a written test, and the subjects will depend upon the trade one is selected for:

Technical Streams: Four papers- English, Mathematics, Science and Intelligence, and General Awareness. Non-Technical/MTD Streams: English and Intelligence and General Awareness.

Note: The examination is based on the CBSE (X/XII) syllabus

Education Instructors: The pattern of the paper is in keeping with the basic minimum educational qualification required. Followed by an interview after the examination.

Step 3:

After clearing the written test, one has to go through a medical examination conducted by a Medical Officer of the Armed Forces. The aspirant will either be declared ‘Fit,’ ‘Unfit,’ or ‘Temporarily Medically Unfit’ (TMU).

Step 4:

On successfully clearing the selection process, the name of the candidate will feature in the All India Merit List displayed at the Airmen Selection Centers where the tests were conducted. A call letter will be sent requesting you to report to the Airmen Selection Center for enrolment. Here, apart from the enrolment formalities, the candidate should take a Trade Aptitude Test to determine the right trade for him. Depending upon the score as well as the position in the Merit List, candidates will be assigned to one of the streams in the Technical or Non-Technical Trades.

After completing the enrolment formalities, the candidate will be sent to the Administrative Training Institute for 26 weeks for Basic Combatant Training. Thereafter, the candidate will be sent to one of the Training Institutes for specialization in the trade assigned to him.

Airman Salary

During the training period, an airman gets a fixed stipend of Rs.5,700/-pm. On completion of training, he starts getting a regular salary as depicted below.

RanksPay BandGrade Pay
Pay Band – 1
Air Craftsman (AC)Rs. 5200 – 20200Rs. 2000/-
Leading Air Craftsman (LAC)Rs. 5200 – 20200Rs. 2000/-
Corporal (Cpl)Rs. 5200 – 20200Rs. 2400/-
Sergeant (Sgt)Rs. 5200 – 20200Rs. 2800/-
Pay Band – 2
Junior Warrant Officer (JWO)Rs. 9300 – 34800Rs. 4200/-
Warrant Officer (WO)Rs. 9300 – 34800Rs. 4600/-
Master Warrant Officer (MWO)Rs. 9300 – 34800Rs. 4800/-


Apart from the basic pay scale, Indian Air Force Airmen are eligible for several allowances and benefits that add to their overall compensation package. In addition to the basic pay, they are entitled to a Military Service Pay of Rs. 2000 per month and various other allowances, including Dearness Allowance, Transport Allowance, Composite Personal Maintenance Allowance, High Altitude Allowance, Field Area/Modified Field Area Allowance, and more. The Dearness Allowance is calculated on the sum of Pay Band, Grade Pay, and MSP.

The Indian Air Force provides a host of perks and benefits to its Airmen and their families to ensure a high quality of life. These include free accommodation, medical facilities (including specialist services), free ration and clothing, an attractive life insurance cover of up to Rs. 5 lakhs at a nominal subscription fee, easy loans, children’s education, and access to a range of recreational activities.

One of the most significant benefits for eligible Airmen is the opportunity to apply for selection as officers in the Flying Branch between the ages of 19 to 20 years. Serving Airmen can also apply for selection to officer’s rank in the Ground Duty Branches (other than Medical Branch) as per the rules. After retirement, Airmen are entitled to a pension, medical insurance, gratuity, and canteen facilities. Additionally, the Air Force offers relaxation in age and reservation in government services as an ex-serviceman.


Airman Career Prospects


With time and expertise, an airman can achieve the following given ranks during his stay in the Air Force.

  1. Aircraftsman – AC (Start of the Career)
  2. Leading Aircraftsman – LAC
  3. Corporal – CPL
  4. Sergeant – SGT
  5. Junior Warrant Officer – JWO
  6. Warrant Officer – WO
  7. Master Warrant Officer – MWO

Deserving candidates can also be promoted to the Honorary rank of Flying Officer before getting retirement.

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