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IAF’s Rafale fleet to have first woman pilot soon

At present, the IAF has 10 women fighter pilots and 18 women navigators. The total strength of women officers serving in the IAF is 1,875.   | Photo Credit: AP

A woman fighter pilot is expected to soon join the No. 17 Golden Arrows squadron of the Indian Air Force (IAF) flying the recently inducted Rafale fighter jets, a defence source said on Monday.

The officer has been trained on the MiG-21 fighters and is currently undergoing conversion training to fly the Rafale, it has been learnt. Last week, the government informed the Parliament that there were 10 women officer fighter pilots in the IAF since the stream was opened up for women in 2016.

Early this month, the IAF formally inducted five Rafale fighter jets into service at Ambala. A second batch of four Rafales are likely to arrive in India in October.

Familiarisation sorties

Amid ongoing tensions on the disputed boundary in Ladakh, the Rafale jets, which arrived in India at the end of July and were inducted on September 10, have been flying familiarisation sorties over Leh.

They have not been deployed in Leh but are flying familiarisation sorties over Leh as they are doing in other areas, a second defence source said.

At the Rafale jets’ induction ceremony, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria had said that the ceremony also marked their “full operational induction” and that “they are good to go and deliver”. The Rafales have also undergone intense combat training with other aircraft, and also firing of advanced weaponry since their arrival, he had stated.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2020 4:10:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/iafs-rafale-fleet-to-have-first-woman-pilot-soon/article32660581.ece

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