1. As an Airman under the Technical Trades, the work involves the maintenance and testing of aircraft and other equipment.
  2. The Indian Air Force provides tremendous opportunities for growth by providing free educational qualifications and training.
  3. The salary packages and the facilities provided in the job are outstanding.
  4. The service lasts for only 15–20 years. Thus it is not a permanent job but Indian Air Force helps you to get another job as you retire.
  5. Unlike civil government services and private sector, Airmen of IAF are exposed to different kinds of skills and jobs. They are therefore very versatile, competent and capable.
  6. The most pressurizing aspect is being placed under Officers who may command you to do things in undoable circumstances at times.
  7. The word ‘Airman’ specifically denotes the personnel whose rank is below a commissioned officer’s rank.
  8. One should have the ability to put up with real adverse situations as a part of the job.

Personal Details

Name – Rajendra Singh Tevatiya

Profession – Ex-NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) in Indian Air Force (IAF)

Age – 70

Gender – Male

Industry – Army & Defence

City – Dadri

Where have you been born and raised?

I was born in Khandera, near Dadri. I completed my education in Dadri. My family practiced farming. We were 7 siblings. We lived in a joint family and were part of rural India.

Who had the most influence on you and how?

My mother was really close to me. I loved her more than anyone else in the family. Naturally, she had an influence on me. However, as we belonged to a rural area we got no motivation and guidance as children regarding career opportunities and what we should do in life.

Please give a summary of your career in the Indian Air Force.

I served in the army only for 15 years. I was at the post of Airman for 5 years and a Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) for 10 years.

After that, I came in banking profession and finally retired.

Which institutes are best for the training/education for a career in the Indian Airforce?

The RIMC (Rashtriya Indian Military College) was founded with the objective of providing training to Indians who wish to become officers in Indian Armed Forces. Chail Military School of Shimla, Ajmer Military School, Bangalore Military School are also renowned.

The Sainik Schools are a system of schools in India established to prepare students for entry into the National Defence Academy (NDA).

What are the costs associated with the training/education of an Indian Airforce professional?

There is no cost you’ve to pay for the training. It’s borne entirely by the government.

What are the typical entry-level jobs in the Indian Air Force?

In my times, we’d to apply in the recruiting office located at Racecourse, New Delhi. Based on vacancies, you may be called for an entrance exam, interview, and medical exam.

After that, you’ll get one year of training which would finally place you in the job of Airman. Till date, the system hasn’t changed vastly.

What is the eligibility to apply to Airman cadre of the India Air Force?

The Airman cadre provides opportunities for men with matriculate or below, 10+2 /Intermediate, graduates, Diploma holders and postgraduates in either of the three combatant groups i.e. ‘X’, ‘Y’ or ‘Z’ of the Technical and the Non-technical trades.

Candidates shortlisted after the initial selection procedure, are allotted a suitable trade. They go through a rigorous training regimen at one of the training institutes. Thereafter, they are inducted and posted as Airmen at any of the Air Force Stations.

What is the average salary of an Indian Air Force professional?

It mainly depends on the promotions you get which directly depend on your eligibility. Promotion of Leading Aircraftsmen to the rank of Corporal and Sergeant is based on passing the promotion examinations and completion of a minimum length of service. Policy for further promotions to the rank of Junior Warrant Officer, Warrant Officer, and Master Warrant Officer is on merit-cum-seniority.

An airman starts with an average salary of 40–50k INR per month while an NCO enjoys a monthly salary of 60k INR at least. The average salary with experience is given as follows:

Starting out — 5 lacs per annum

5 years’ experience — 8 lacs per annum

10 years’ experience — 10 lacs per annum

15 years’ experience — 12 lacs per annum

20+ years’ experience — 15 lacs per annum

Please describe your work.

As an airman under the Technical Trades, the work involves the maintenance and testing of aircraft and flying related equipment. One will also be directly or indirectly involved in the maintenance and overhaul of ground equipment and armament.

As an airman in the Non-Technical trades, the work involves assistance and support to the various functions from weather forecasting to the maintenance of records and files of the Indian Air Force and all its branches.

I was in the meteorological department of this non-technical trade where our work was forecasting and reporting weather conditions.
I’d fixed working hours from 7 AM to 5 PM for 6 days a week.

Sundays were off, except in most urgent requirements.

In our holidays we used to go back to our families. These lasted for not more than 2–3 weeks.

What are some of the positives which would encourage someone to consider a career in Indian Air Force?

One gets a really good salary and all the perks associated with a government job such as subsidized grocery, governmental residence, job security, medical insurance, Ex-Serviceman Health Scheme benefits in ECHS empanelled hospitals and subsidized schooling for children.

One gets an adventurous lifestyle full of action and the opportunities to fly by the latest and fastest aircraft.

Indian Air Force has facilities like mess, canteen, gas agency, service institute, parks, gardens, shopping complex, auditorium etc. for the benefit of all personnel. Airmen pooled from all trades manage and run these facilities.

Most bases have facilities for indoor and our outdoor sports activities and people with special talents are recognized and encouraged to participate in various national & international activities.

Apart from providing promotional opportunities to deserving airmen, Indian Air Force also permits airmen to undertake higher education and appear for competitive exams as part of career enhancement opportunities. So, airmen have opportunities to become officers in IAF or get appointed to higher positions in central and state government services including IAS.

How long does a career in the Indian Air Force last?

Unlike civilian government employees, many service people in armed forces retire after 15 to 20 years of service due to health, stagnation and other issues.

So, Indian Air Force has a separate directorate dealing with helping such airmen to find alternative jobs out in the government and public sector. In my case also, I got the job in the bank because of the help of IAF.

Unlike civil government services and private sector, airmen of Indian Air Force are exposed to different kinds of skills and jobs. They are therefore very competent and capable. That is why airmen having required skills who retire early, the most are sought after in private sectors.

What are some of the challenges that you would want someone to be aware of when considering a career in the Indian Air Force??

Coming to the actual question itself, you need to understand it is a service in a military force. It comes with its own restrictions which are unique to military service viz. unnatural working hours, physical hardships, posting to isolated and hard locations and may be martyrdom in the line of duty.

The most pressurizing aspect is being placed under Officers who may command you to do things in undoable circumstances at times.

Being a wing of Military, it demands a high degree of professionalism and discipline at all time. All personnel will have to undergo medical test every year and will be categorized based on fitness. If a person’s medical fitness is below a particular category, further promotions are not possible.

Now coming to the personal life, it is good if you get time to spare after your work. Pay and allowances are at par with their civil counterparts except for some hardship allowances which comprise 5–20% respective of the place you are posted.

There is a leave of 60 days per annum, but you cannot claim it as your right as it is a privilege as per the rules.

The life is busy as a bee and sometimes so busy that there is no time to pee. At last, there are liquor and grocery items at discounted rates but you have to squeeze out free time from your busy schedule as you can’t go to job drunk.

What are the relevant skills/technologies/trends that are commanding a premium in your job profile?

Sportsmanship and Discipline is a must. One must have the ability to deal with the equipment used in the army like flying aircraft, using weapons and walky-talkies which are all taught in the training.

What kind of a person would be happy in the Indian Air Force?

A courageous and adventurous who wants to give service to the nation would be really happy in the Indian Air Force.

Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned?

This is not a permanent job. You’d surely have to do another job as you retire within 15 to 20 years. So every Indian Air Force person gets another job in the private and government sector according to his/her choice and eligibility. I got the job of a bank manager which was my last one. Now I’m a retired geriatric.

What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path like yours?

Be sincere and ready to work round the clock in adverse conditions. Don’t go for it, if you are not ready to put up in the adverse conditions. Follow the commands. Be happy at what you do. Always take care of your personal health during service so that your progress never gets hindered.

You may also like to check out our conversation with Lakhshman Mahto ((Ex-Air Force), Senior Manager at SBI).