330. First Indian Women fighter pilots

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All the Indian women should celebrate this proud moment. The three women, in their early 20s, created history as India’s first women fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force. India’s first women fighter pilots – Bhawana Kanth, Avani Chatuvedi and Mohana Singh – were commissioned in the Indian Air Force. Each has cleared the first stage of training and has about 150 hours of flying. After getting their wings today as flying officers, they will train for six months on the Advanced Jet Fighter – the British-built Hawk – they will be assigned fighters and their squadrons.

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. Women pilots were first included in 1991, for choppers and transport aircrafts.

According to Bhawana it was her dream to fly like a free bird since her childhood which inspired her to join IAF. Avani was inspired by Army officers in her family and had few hours of flying experience in the flying club of her college, which inspired her to join the IAF.  Mohana  aspired to make her parents proud by becoming a fighter pilot and fly the best of the fighter in the IAF. She dreamt of being part of the future combat missions and fight for the nation when duty calls for guarding the nation’s skies.

According to official sources, it takes Rs 15 crore to train a fighter pilot.  Air Chief Arup Raha has reportedly said that the woman fighters would get no preference and will be assigned as per requirements of the force. Despite having encountered bad weather, thunder, lightning, uncertainties and hazards of flying, nothing could deter these three flying cadets from achieving their goal. The strength of women officers (all the three wings combined) comprises 5.4% (3,177) of the total strength (59,380).

 

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