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How To Engineer in the Armed Forces – 101

“Ek do ek, ek do”, the march-past associated with the Indian Armed Forces, the grandeur of the weaponry and skills displayed during the Republic day parade or even the media representation of the Indian soldier guarding the border of a country he treats like his mother. They aren’t all there is to the Forces that protect this nation. On the contrary, they require minds of the highest caliber in the country for planning every move, optimizing armament utilization, and mobilizing one of the largest armies in the world. Consequently, there is a pressing need for technicians and engineers possessing skills that the common man wouldn’t. In fact, there exists a full-fledged Technical Entry Scheme that allows direct entry into any of the armed forces right after obtaining the B.Tech degree.  

Army soldiers making sure that the electricity supply in the cantonment doesn’t fail

Let’s start with the Indian Army. Their slogan being “Scholar Warrior” is evidence enough that the Army needs people with more on their resume than a seasoned trigger-finger.  

There are three technical arms in existence:

1)    Engineers: This corps requires mostly Civil engineers who are trained at CME, Pune.

2)    EME: This is the Electronics and Mechanical Engineers corps. Pre-commissioning is done at MCME, Secunderabad

3)    Corps of Signals: This arm requires primarily Computer Science, Telecommunication, and Electrical Engineers. The course is undertaken in MCTE, Mhow.

After completing your B.Tech, one can join via IMA, where he/she will be further trained for another year. In fact, even after class XII, one can get direct entry into the army through the Special Technical Entry Scheme wherein they receive a four-year training and a B.Tech degree from OTA, Gaya.

Officers and soldiers together creating a makeshift bridge for a possible vehicle/ammunition transport

The Indian Navy probably has the most opportunities any organization can offer to an engineer. No other field provides exposure to such a wide spectrum of job profiles. It is basically divided into three arms of operation – Executive, Administrative, and Engineering divisions. Obviously, we’ll focus our attention to the Engineering section of the same. Here too, B.Tech graduates can gain entry through the Direct Technical Entry Scheme. They are then pre-commissioned in INS Lonavla. Opportunities are greatest for students who have graduated in the fields of Electrical, Mechanical, Communication, Instrumentation and Control, Aeronautical, Production, and Industrial Engineering.

The Engineering corps is further sub-divided into:

1)    Engineering General Service: This branch deals with advanced systems, like propulsion systems of modern ships, submarines, and aircraft. Engineers are necessitated to work with marine engineering equipment onboard, in repair yards and maintenance units to provide a third and fourth line of maintenance. This also encompasses the Design and Production organization to upgrade existing technologies.

2)    Submarine Engineering: This division tasks the engineers with maintaining and improving high-end nuclear and diesel propulsion systems, baneful arsenals, and state-of-the-art control systems.

3)     Naval Construction Engineering: In the Naval Architecture Cadre, engineers are in demand to design warships and submarines, overseeing construction of shipyards, refit and operational support, and dry docking.

In fact, one isn’t stuck with just the B.Tech degree after joining. Every engineer is given the opportunity to complete their post-graduation in prestigious colleges within India, or abroad, based on past performance and caliber.

Constructing bridges, roads and buildings in areas of strategic importance is a major aspect in protecting every corner of the country

Lastly, we discuss engineering prospects in the Air Force. Like the above two organizations, this too has been divided into three arms for administrative purposes. Those being the Flying, Ground Duty, and Technical branches. There are two major technical entry points – CDSE and AFCAT wherein one can get into the Air Force through either the University Entry Scheme or Aeronautical Engineering Course.

The technical branch is further divided into two sub-branches:

1)    Aeronautical (Electronics) Engineering: This requires a mastery of Radar Signals. Branches such as Electronics and Communication Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Information and Communication Technology are a good fit.

2)    Aeronautical (Mechanical) Engineering: As the name suggests, this branch deals with maintenance of engines, tools, and machinery of aircraft. The fields of engineering ideally encompassed by this branch are Mechanical, Production, and Industrial engineering.

Although the first picture that comes to mind when considering a career in the Armed Forces is that of a soldier, this clearly isn’t where the list ends. On the other hand, when one contemplates their future after Engineering, the army isn’t usually their first option. But the opportunities are ample where these two realms collide.   

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