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Recruitment of Pilots in Armed Forces: Modes of Entry, Vacancies as on Feb, 2018, Restructuring of Pilot Cadre

Recruitment of Pilots in Armed Forces: Modes of Entry, Vacancies as on Feb, 2018, Restructuring of Pilot Cadre 

Press Information Bureau 
Government of India
Ministry of Defence
05-March-2018 15:03 IST

Recruitment of Pilots in Armed Forces 

There are four modes of entry for becoming a pilot in the Indian Air Force (IAF) [NDA, CDSE, AFCAT and NCC special entry]. A written test is conducted for NDA/CDSE (by UPSC) and AFCAT (by IAF) entries followed by SSB testing. NCC special entry candidates with valid ‘C’ certificate (Air Wing) are directly called for SSB testing. The recommended candidates undergo medical tests. The final merit list is prepared based on the candidate’s performance and medical fitness. On successful completion of flying training at Flying Training Establishments (FTEs) of the IAF, the cadet is commissioned as a pilot in the IAF.
Pilots are inducted in the Indian Navy as Permanent Commission (PC) or Short Service Commission(SSC).
  • Permanent Commission (PC) : Volunteers from serving Executive branch officers (upto 25 years of age) are selected for pilot training biannually.
  • Short Service Commission (SSC) : Short Service Commissioned officers are inducted biannually through Direct Entry Scheme.
All pilots in Army Aviation are commissioned officers. Options to join Army Aviation are as under:-
  • Volunteers who opt for Army Aviation during pre-commissioning training at IMA and OTA.
  • Volunteer Officers from any Arm of Indian Army on completion of one and half years of service.
Volunteer Officers are required to undergo the following tests:-
  • Pilot Aptitude and Battery Test (PABT)
  • Aviation medical examination
Officers clearing the PABT and medical examination undergo the Basic and Advance flying training, on completion of which they become pilots in the Indian Army.
As on 1st February, 2018, sanctioned strength and strength of pilots in
Indian Air Force (IAF) is as follows:
Sanctioned Strength Strength
4231 3855

There is a marginal shortage in strength of pilots in IAF against the
authorized establishment.

Indian Navy:

Government Sanction      735
Borne Strength 644
Vacant Posts 91

Indian Army:
The total number of pilots in Army Aviation as on date are:

Sanctioned      794
Held 602
Vacant 192

A study on Restructuring of Army Pilot Cadre was conducted and salient decisions that have been implemented are:
  • There has been an increase in Direct Commissioned Officers (DCO) both from IMA and OTA.
  • For the DCO, the lower service limit of two years of attachment period with fallback arm after commissioning has also been reduced to one and half years.
IAF ensures that the aircrew are fully utilized in a cockpit vacancy for the maximum duration which is well beyond the period required for amortization of the cost of training. It is also ensured that only limited numbers are given release such that the combat potential of IAF is not compromised at any stage
  • Setting up of an Air Force Selection Board (AFSB) at Gandhinagar in 2013.
  • The selection process into the IAF has been simplified with the introduction of the Air Force Common Admission Test (AFCAT) for non-UPSC entries. Under this format, a candidate may apply for selection in any branch for which they meet the QRs, through a single application in a selection cycle.
  • Proactive steps have been taken by the IAF to reduce the shortage of pilots, which include participation in career fairs/exhibitions, advertisements in print and electronic media, motivational lectures in schools, colleges, visuals/signage at strategic locations etc.
This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shri Harshvardhan Singh Dungarpurin Rajya Sabha today.