IAF's first women fighter pilots will fly jets like Sukhoi and Tejas next year

Initially, six women cadets were competing for the honour after the induction of women pilots was announced in October by IAF, on experimental basis.

FP Staff June 18, 2016 11:55:58 IST
IAF's first women fighter pilots will fly jets like Sukhoi and Tejas next year

A defining moment marked the commissioning ceremony of Indian Air force Academy (IAF) Hakimpet, when the Air force for the first time inducted first women fighter pilots into its squad, ANI reported.

Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh on Saturday created history when defence minister Manohar Parrikar commissioned them as India's first women fighter pilots.

The IAF academy in Hakimpet Hyderabad held its graduation day parade, an event to marks the successful completion of pre-commissioning training of IAF's flight cadets, on Saturday, 18 June. But this year's induction parade was a watershed as in the history of Indian military as women pilots were commissioned for the first time ever.

The first women to be commissioned into fighter stream in IAF, they were the centre of attraction at the Combined Graduation Parade.

IAFs first women fighter pilots will fly jets like Sukhoi and Tejas next year

The three women fighter pilots inducted in Indian Air Force for the first time in history. IAF

However, the induction is on an experimental basis, as the Indian Air force will study the results of this step over the next five years and form a permamnent policy on women's induction accordngly, The Indian Express reported.

The Union Minister for Defence, Manohar Parrikar was also present to witness the landmark event. He reviewed the passing out parde and conferred 'President's Commission' to 129 graduating trainees of various branches including 22 women trainees.

Speaking on the event he complimented all officers on their successful induction to the squad. He said, "This is a golden day in the history of IAF. It should be an opening for more women for joining combat forces.

India's first woman IPS officer and current Puducherry governer, Kiran bedi has also congratulated the women pilots for scripting hictory. "It's a glorius day for India; I Salute their (the 3 women pilots') parents and teachers and mentors," CNN-News18 quoted her as saying.

The landmark event comes in the light of the fact that women in India are not allowed to serve on warships armoured corps or artillery, amid other combat roles that are out of their reach, CNN News18 reported.

According to a report in the DNA, the officer's inducted on the Saturday' event have cleared the first stage of their training which includes about 150 flying hours. The three women pilots will now train for six months on the Advanced Jet Fighter 'the British-built Hawk' during their stage-III training at Bidar in Karnataka. They will get to fly like fighter jets like Sukhoi and Tejas next year after completion of the training and they will be assigned fighters and their squadrons.

The newly inducted pilots have been asked by the IAF to avoid motherhood for the next four years.

Initially, six women cadets were competing for the honour after the induction of women pilots was announced in October, on experimental basis. But only Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh could make it through the final selection for the fighter stream, the Indian Express report said.

Flight Cadet Bhawana Kanth, one of the girls to pen down her name in history, belongs to Darbhanga in Bihar. Her father, an engineer at IOCL, was always encouraging of her dreams. An excited Bhawana told News18 that she always dreamt of flying and that was the reason she applied for IAF. But when she got the opportunity to apply for fighter stream, that "was the best and the biggest thing" that has happened to her, she says.

Avani Chaturvedi who also made it to the final list of inducted pilots, is an engineer and belongs to Satna, Madhya pradesh. She said her family members serving in the army inspired her to join IAF and then there was no looking back, News18 reported.

Flight Cadet Mohana Singh comes from a Air force background; her father is currently in service. Mohana says it was a dream instilled in her since childhoods. She said she wanted to take the family legacy forward by serving in the forces and inspired by her grandfather, who was a Flight Guner in Aviation research centre, she knew flying was the best option. On Mohana's induction, her overwhelmed mother told the press that she was proud of her daughter's achievements.

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