WHAT IS AFCAT EXAM?
The Air Force Common Admission Test (AFCAT) is conducted by the Indian Air Force. The exam is held twice a year in February and August, respectively, to select Class-I Gazetted Officers in Flying and Ground Duties (Technical and Non-Technical). Both male and female candidates can apply for this exam.
COMMISSIONS IN THE INDIAN AIR FORCE
The Indian Air Force (IAF) grants two Commissions for the aspirants. One is Permanent Commission (PC) and the other is Short Service Commission (SSC). The Permanent Commission (PC) is both for males & females (Accounts & Education only) while the Short Service Commission (SSC) is for both males and females. In the Permanent Commission (PC), the candidates serve till they attain the age of superannuation while in the Short Service Commission (SSC), the candidates serve for 14 years in the Flying Branch from the date of Commissioning; and for 10 years in the Ground Duty (Tech and Non-Tech). See the table below:
Type of Commission
Who Can Serve
Duration of the Service
Males and Females
Flying Branch, Ground Duty (Tech and Non-Tech) for Males while Education and Accounts Branch for Females
Up to Retirement
Short Service Commission
Males and Females
14 Years (Non Extendable)
Ground Duty (Tech and Non-Tech)
10 Years (Extendable)
ELIGIBILITY FOR AFCAT
- Nationality: Candidate must be a citizen of India
- Flying Branch through AFCAT and NCC Special Entry: 20 to 24 years as on 01 January 2021. Upper age limit for candidates holding valid and current Commercial Pilot License issued by DGCA (India) is relaxable up to 26 years.
- Ground Duty (Technical & Non-Technical) Branch: 20 to 26 years.
- Candidates under 25 years of age must be unmarried at the time of commencement of course. Widows/Widowers and divorcees (with or without encumbrances) below 25 years of age are not eligible. A candidate who marries subsequent to the date of his application, though successful at SSB or medical will not be eligible for training. A candidate who marries during the period of training shall be discharged and will be liable to refund all expenditure incurred on him by the Government. Married candidates above 25 years of age are eligible to apply, but during training period they will neither be provided married accommodation nor can they live out with family.
· Candidates must have passed with a minimum of 60% in Maths and Physics at Class 12 and Graduation in any discipline with 60% or equivalent. Or
· BE/BTech with 60% or equivalent. Or
· Candidates have cleared section A & B examination of Associate Membership of Institution of Engineers (India) or Aeronautical Society of India from a recognised University with 60%.
Ground Duty Technical Branch
Aeronautical Engineer (Electronics):
· Passed Class 10+2 with 60% marks each in Physics and Mathematics and four years degree Engineering/ Technology.
· Cleared Sections A and B of Associate Membership of Institution of Engineers (India) or Aeronautical Society of India or Graduate membership examination of the Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers by actual studies with 60% in disciplines specified by the examination authority.
Aeronautical Engineer (Mechanical):
· Candidates must have passed 10+2 with 60% in Physics and Mathematics and degree/integrated post-graduation in Engineering/Technology.
· Cleared sections A & B examination of Associate Membership of Institution of Engineers (India) or Aeronautical Society of India by actual studies with minimum 60% marks or equivalent in certain disciplines specified by IAF.
· Graduation in any discipline with minimum 60%
· Cleared section A&B examination of Associate Membership of Institution of Engineers (India) or Aeronautical Society of India from a recognised university with 60%.
· Graduate Degree (Minimum three years degree course) in any discipline from a recognised university with a minimum of 60% marks or equivalent or cleared section A & B examination of Associate Membership of the Institution of Engineers (India) or Aeronautical Society of India from a recognised university with a minimum of 60% marks or equivalent
· Graduate Degree (Minimum three years degree course) in any discipline from a recognised university with a minimum of 60% marks or equivalent or cleared section A & B exam of Associate Membership of the Institution of Engineers (India) or Aeronautical Society of India from a recognised university with a minimum of 60% marks or equivalent
· Commerce degree (Minimum three years degree course) from a recognised university with a minimum of 60% marks or equivalent
· Completed MBA/MCA or MA/MSc in English/Physics/ Mathematics/Chemistry/Statistics/International relations/ International Studies/ Defence Studies/ Psychology/ Computer Science/IT/Management/ Mass Communication /Journalism/Public Relation with 50% and 60% in graduation.
· NCC Air Wing Senior Division ‘C’ certificate acquired on or after 01 Jan 2017 is mandatory. Candidates must have passed with a minimum of 60% marks each in Maths and Physics at 10+2. Graduates with minimum three year degree course in any discipline from a recognized University with a minimum of 60% marks or equivalent.
· BE/B. Tech. degree (Four year course) from a recognised University with a minimum of 60% marks or equivalent
· Candidates who have cleared Section A & B examination of Associate Membership of Institution of Engineers (India) with a minimum of 60% marks or equivalent.
Selection Process and Exam Pattern
Stage 1: AFCAT Written Exam
No. of Questions
AFCAT (For Technical & Non Technical)
Reasoning and Military Aptitude
EKT (For Technical Branch)
Electrical & Electronics
Scheme of Syllabus (EKT 2020 – Technical Branch):
EKT (Engineering Knowledge Test) is the examination aimed at testing the basic knowledge of engineering required for the technical branch. Technical branch includes course of Aeronautical Engineering (Electrical and Mechanical).
The pattern of examination includes two parts –
- a) General Engineering (40 questions) – Modern Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Computers, Electrical, Electronics, Mechanical Engineering and
- b) Specialist Paper for each Engineering discipline (35 questions) – Computer and Electronics, Mechanical, Electronics and Communication Engineering, Electrical and Instrumentation Engineering and Aeronautical Engineering (Mechanical)
Stage 2: AFSB
Candidates who are short-listed on the basis of AFCAT/EKT will be called for further testing at one of the Air Force Selection Boards (AFSBs). The testing would consist of following stages as given below:
- Officer Intelligence Rating Test along with Picture Perception and discussion test will be conducted on the first day. Stage-I test is a screening test and only those who qualify would undergo subsequent testing. All Stage-I qualified candidates would be subjected to document check to ascertain their eligibility for the branches applied for. Candidates who either do not qualify in
- Stage-I or do not meet the required eligibility criteria would be sent back on the first day itself
- Psychological test, Group Tests and Interview would commence after document check for the next five days
For Flying Branch
- Computerised Pilot Selection System (CPSS) would be administered to recommended candidates only. This is a once in a lifetime test. Candidates who have failed the CPSS/PABT in an earlier attempt or a Flight Cadet suspended from flying training at the Air Force Academy will not be eligible to apply
Physical Fitness Test
- Candidates will be required to complete 1.6km run in stipulated time frame of 9 Min, 100 Meter run in 16 sec, furthermore 20 Pushup and Sit-ups in 1 minute, should be able to do 3 chin-ups and should be able to swim 25 meters.
Stage 3: Medical Test.
CAREER HIERARCHY IN THE INDIAN AIRFORCE
As an officer in the Indian Air Force, you start your career as a Flying Officer and can rise up to the rank of Air Marshal. Rank structure for commissioned officers is as follows:
- FLYING OFFICER (FG OFFR)
- FLIGHT LIEUTENANT (FLT LT)
- SQUADRON LEADER (SQN LDR)
- WING COMMANDER (WG CDR)
- GROUP CAPTAIN (GP CAPT)
- AIR COMMODORE(AIR CMDE)
- AIR VICE MARSHAL(AIR VICE MSHL)
- AIR MARSHAL(AIR MSHL)
- AIR CHIEF MARSHAL