First batch of three female fighter pilots commissioned

Creating history, the first batch of three female pilots — Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh were inducted in Indian Air Force fighter squadron on Saturday.

On successful completion of their training, the trio were formally commissioned by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. Being the first to break barriers, they were the cynosure of all eyes at the parade in their immaculate turnout. On completion of their Stage III training at Bidar in adjoining Karnataka next year, they will get to fly fighter jets like the Sukhoi and Tejas.

Ms. Avani from Satna in Madhya Pradesh was inspired by her brother who is in the Army and said she always wanted to conquer the skies and hence joined the Flying Club in her college.

Ms. Mohana Singh from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan boasts of a grandfather who was a Flight Gunner in the Aviation Research Centre and father who is a Warrant Officer in the IAF and is all excited to continue the family legacy of working in the armed forces.

Ms. Bhawana Kanth, who hails from Darbhanga in Bihar and daughter of an officer in the Indian Oil Corporation, dreamt of flying planes from her childhood days and opted for the fighter stream after her Stage I training.

All excited, the trio chorused that while getting commissioned into the IAF meant an achievement, getting trained to fly fighter jets was a dream come true. While they did nurse their hobby with a passion, they said without family support and constant motivation they could not have realized it. As for the training, they said it was the same as it was for men. “We are giving out 100 per cent all the time. The challenges and rigours of the training schedule are the same,” they said, in voices that showed their grit.

Creating history

The achievement of the three is a significant milestone for the Indian military, as this is the first time it has permitted women into combat roles.

Last October, the government decided to open the fighter stream for women on an experimental basis for five years. But combat roles in the Army and the Navy are still off limits due to a combination of operational concerns and logistical constraints.

“Joining the Indian Air Force for flying was a dream instilled by parents and grandparents,” says Ms. Mohana Singh, whose father is with the IAF and grandfather is still serving as a flight gunner in the Aviation Research Centre.

The three will begin advanced training on advanced jet trainer Hawks. It will take another 145 hours on the Hawks for almost a year before they would actually get into the cockpit of a supersonic fighter.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 6, 2021 4:21:08 PM |

Next Story