Indian Air Force Careers: How To Get Indian Air Force Jobs For Women

Indian Air Force Careers: How To Get Indian Air Force Jobs For Women
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Interested in Indian Air Force jobs? Be inspired by Indian Air Force (IAF) women officers, learn about Air Force careers, and how to find jobs for women in IAF.

Ever since India’s first woman pilot, Sarla Thukral, earned an aviation pilot license in 1936 at the age of 21, and took her first solo flight in a Gypsy Moth wearing a traditional saree, Indian women have aspired to take to the skies.

Today inspiring young women like India’s youngest commercial pilot, 19-year-old Maitri Patel from Surat, and 25-year-old Ayesha Aziz from Kashmir, are giving flight to the dreams of young girls in India.

But, what about the women in IAF? Are Indian Air Force careers a good option for Indian women and should more women join the Indian Air Force and become Indian Air Force pilots?

History Of Women In IAF

In the past, the Indian defence forces were known to be against the induction of women in combat roles and, till 1992, women could not join the Indian Armed Forces.

Today, Indian Air Force female pilots have distinguished themselves in battle. Netflix’s Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl tells the story of the only woman in the Indian Armed Forces who flew into war zones in the Kargil War.

Gunjan Saxena was one of two women Indian Air Force pilots – the other being Flight Lieutenant Srividya Rajan – who flew Indian Air Force helicopters during the Kargil War.

Gunjan Saxena Movie Poster
Image by Karan Johar on Twitter, Fair use

Despite the controversy over the movie’s depiction of the experience of women in the IAF, the Indian Armed Forces have come a long way.

Today, all wings of the Indian Armed Forces allow women in combat roles and combat supervisory roles and the Indian Air Force (IAF) inducts women in all roles, including combat and support roles.


Here’s a list of famous female pilots in the Indian Air Force along with their achievements that captured the imagination of young Indian women.

  • In the 1999 Kargil conflict, Flight Lieutenants Gunjan Saxena and Srividya Rajan became the first two women IAF officers to go to war. Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena became one of the first women to fly in a combat zone.
  • In 2016, flight cadets, Avani Chaturvedi, Mohana Singh, and Bhawana Kanth, made history when they were formally commissioned as the first Indian Air Force woman pilots.
  • In 2017, Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth joined the fighter squadron, becoming the first woman to qualify for combat missions on a fighter jet.
  • In May 2019, Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth became the first woman pilot in Indian Air Force to qualify to undertake combat missions.
  • In 2019, Shaliza Dhami who served as a Wing Commander in the IAF for 15 years, became India’s first-ever women Flight Commander.
  • In September 2020, there were 1,875 female officers serving in the IAF, including 10 pilots and 18 navigators.
  • In January 2021, IAF Lieutenant Swati Rathore became the first woman pilot to lead the flypast at the Republic Day parade.
  • In June 2021, 31 women candidates graduated from the Indian Air Force Academy and were commissioned as officers in the Indian Air Force.

So if you’re still wondering whether Indian Air Force careers are suitable for Indian women, the answer is a resounding Yes!

women in IAF
Image by Ministry of Defence (GODL-India), GODL-India


Today, women in IAF are not only being recruited as fighter pilots (although those are the jobs that make headlines) but also in several other branches that include Air Traffic Control, Technical, Meteorology, Administration, Accounts, JAG, and Logistics.

The Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy have already granted Permanent Commission to women officers and opened up some combat roles for women. The IAF allows women as officers in flying and ground duties.

How To Join Indian Air Force (IAF)

So how can you join Indian Air Force in 2021? As with all Government jobs in India, you’ll need to clear a competitive examination first.

In the case of the IAF, it’s the Air Force Common Admission Test or AFCAT exam, which is held twice a year in February and August.

You can prepare for Defence exams with a free online test series designed by experts to help you ace the actual exam, and get free online defence exam practice tests for AFCAT, Navy AA exams and more.

Watch this video for tips on AFCAT exams, including the age, eligibility, syllabus and exam pattern.


Indian Air Force Jobs For Women

Both men and women can join the Indian Air Force and get a permanent commission through a special entry via the National Cadet Corps (NCC).

You can also join the IAF as a Short Service Commission Officer by opting for an SSC Course through AFCAT, or MET Entry, or NCC Special Entry.

A Permanent Commission means you will have a career in the Indian Air Force till you retire. A Short Service Commission means you will be offered a limited period career in the Indian Air Force.

Women IAF Short Service Commission officers can fly helicopters, transport aircraft, and fighter jets with the Flying branch, or join the Technical branch, and Non-Technical branch through the AFCAT.

Read more about IAF careers as per branches and the Indian Air Force qualification for each of these Air Force jobs on the Indian Air Force website.

After the AFCAT exam, the next stage is an interview by the Air Force Selection Board (AFSB), followed by medical tests. If you pass the examination, interview, and medical tests, you’ll receive your final offer letters.

To know more about the Indian Air Force qualification details and the Indian Air Force exam date for 2021, visit the AFCAT exam website.

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Indian Air Force Medical Jobs

Another way to get Indian Air Force jobs is to apply for Indian Air Force medical jobs and join the Armed Forces Medical Services.

First, you will have to pass the NEET examination – the common entrance examination for admission to undergraduate medical courses in India.

After that, you can apply for admission to the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) in Pune and do their MBBS course to become a doctor.

The AFMC Admission Test is conducted by AFMC Pune, and 30 of the 150 seats are reserved for girls.

Indian Air Force Civilian Jobs

The Indian Air Force (IAF) also accepts applications from eligible Indian Citizens for recruitment of Group ‘C’ Civilian posts at various Air Force stations.

To apply for these jobs, you need to check for the Indian Air Force Group C Civilian recruitment 2021 notification.

Learn more about Indian Air Force careers and check for the latest Indian Air Force recruitment 2021 notifications on the Indian Air Force official website.

Before you apply for Indian Air Force jobs and join IAF, watch the commissioning of flight cadets as women flying officers by the Air Force Academy and get advice from the first woman pilots in Indian Air Force.


We wish you great success as you join the Indian Air Force to become an Indian Air Force officer and distinguish yourself in your Air Force career.

In the Glow & Lovely Career Community, you can do a free career test, practice for competitive exams with a free online mock test for government jobs, and get free career counseling and guidance from professionals.

Also read:

Free Online Tests Courses

Indian Air Force Women Officers

Indian Air Force Pilots

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