The Indian Air Force (IAF) on 18 June 2016 commissioned first three women fighter pilots. The batch of pilots was inducted at the Combined Graduation Parade at Air Force Academy, Dundigal near Hyderabad.
With this, India joined the select few nations in the world that have women fighter pilots in their Air Forces.
The first three women fighter pilots of India are –
• Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi
• Flying Officer Bhawana Kanth
• Flying Officer Mohana Singh
However, they will get to fly fighter jets like the Sukhoi and Tejas only in 2017 after their Stage III training at Bidar in Karnataka in 2017.
• In October 2015, the Union Ministry of Defence approved the induction of women into the combat stream of Indian Air Force (IAF) on an experimental basis for five years.
• At present, around 1500 women serve in the Indian Air Force of which around 90 as pilots and about 15 as navigators.
• IAF had women in seven areas of administration, logistics, meteorology, navigation, education, aeronautical engineering mechanical and electrical and accounts.
• Earlier, the Air Force refused to allow women in fighter squadrons because of the fears of torture and rape, if they were shot down in combat.
• Combat roles in the Army and the Navy are still off limits due to a combination of operational concerns and logistical constraints.
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What: Commissioned into IAF
When: 18 June 2016