Bhawana Kanth to become first woman fighter pilot to take part in Republic Day parade

The 28-year-old was among the first women fighter pilots, along with Avani Chaturvedi and Mohana Singh, to be inducted into the IAF in 2016

FP Staff January 19, 2021 13:18:41 IST
Bhawana Kanth to become first woman fighter pilot to take part in Republic Day parade

File image of Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kamath. Image courtesy: Twitter/@drharshvardhan

Flight lieutenant Bhawana Kanth will become the first woman fighter pilot to take part in the Republic Day parade.

Kanth, currently posted at a Rajasthan airbase and commissioned on a MiG-21 Bison fighter plane, will be a part of the Indian Air Force's (IAF's) tableau that will showcase mock-ups of the light combat aircraft, light combat helicopter and the Sukhoi-30 fighter plane.

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan took to Twitter to congratulate her on “marking the dawn of empowered women-led New India”.

The 28-year-old was among the first women fighter pilots, along with Avani Chaturvedi and Mohana Singh, to be inducted into the IAF in 2016. Hailing from Bihar’s Darbhanga, Kanth was born in Begusarai and completed her schooling from Barauni Refinery DAV Public School and college in Bengaluru, according to a report. She joined the fighter squadron in November 2017, and turned operational in March 2018.

The Republic Day parade this year will feature the newly-acquired Rafale fighter jets, with the IAF’s flypast culminating with the Vertical Charlie formation. Rafale jets will also be part of the Eklavya formation, which include one Rafale jet, two Jaguars and two MiG 29s. "The flypast will culminate with a single Rafale aircraft carrying out a 'Vertical Charlie' formation," IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Indranil Nandi said at a press conference.

A total of 38 IAF aircraft and four planes of the Indian Army will participate in the flypast on 26 January. The flypast will be divided into two blocks – the first is planned along with the parade from 1004 hours to 1020 hours and the second after the parade from 1120 hours to 1145 hours, Nandi said.

In the first block, there will be three formations. The first will be the 'Nishan' formation comprising of four Mi17V5 aircraft that will carry the national flag and logos of all three services. It will be followed by the 'Dhruv' formation by four helicopters of Army Aviation Corps. The last would be the 'Rudra' formation which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the country's victory in the 1971 war, he said, adding that it will consist of a single Dakota aircraft flanked by two Mi17V5 helicopters.

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