They are a part of a group of 17 officers of the Indian Navy which has four women officers and three officers of the Indian Coast Guard (13 officers of Regular batch and 04 woman officers of Short Service Commission batch).
These officers underwent training in anti-submarine warfare and exploitation of airborne avionic systems, tactics employed in air warfare, air navigation, flying procedures. (Credit: Indian Navy)
For the first time in the history of Indian naval aviation, two women officers have been selected to join as “Observers” (Airborne Tacticians) in the helicopter stream. They are the crew of the Multi-role Helicopters – presently the Seakings and will later on the crew of MH-60R anti-submarine helicopters.
It means that they will be the first women airborne combatants and they would be operating from warships. According to the Indian Navy, entry of the women was earlier just restricted to the fixed-wing aircraft. And these fixed-wing aircraft would take off and landed ashore.
Who are the two women who made the cut?
The officers — Sub Lieutenant (SLt) Kumudini Tyagi and SLt Riti Singh are selected as “Observers’’.
They are a part of a group of 17 officers of the Indian Navy which has four women officers and three officers of the Indian Coast Guard (13 officers of Regular batch and 04 woman officers of Short Service Commission batch). They were awarded “Wings” on graduating as “Observers” on Monday (Sept 21, 2020) at a ceremony at INS Garuda, Kochi.
Rear Admiral Antony George NM, VSM, Chief Staff Officer (Training) who presented the awards and the coveted wings to the graduating officers.
Also, the ‘Instructor Badge’ was awarded to six other officers this included five from the Indian Navy including a woman and another from Indian Coast Guard. These six have graduated as Qualified Navigation Instructors (QNI).
While complementing the officers, Rear Admiral Antony George “ highlighted the fact that it is a landmark occasion wherein for the first-time women are going to be trained in helicopter operations which would ultimately pave way for the deployment of women in frontline warships of Indian Navy.”
These officers underwent training in anti-submarine warfare and exploitation of airborne avionic systems, tactics employed in air warfare, air navigation, flying procedures.
“They would serve on-board Maritime Reconnaissance and Anti-Submarine Warfare aircraft of the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard” said the Indian Navy.
Lieutenant Hitesh Singh, 91st Regular Observer Course was awarded the Uttar Pradesh Trophy on being adjudged ‘First in the Overall Order of Merit’.
Lt Anuj Kumar was awarded the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command Trophy for being adjudged ‘Best in Flying’.
Lt Hitesh Singh was also awarded Sub Lt RV Kunte memorial Book Prize on being adjudged ‘Best in Ground Subjects’.
And, SLt Kreeshma R, from 22nd SSC Observer Course was awarded the Book Prize for being adjudged ‘Best in Overall Order of Merit’.
Indian Navy has always in the forefront
Last year, Sub Lieutenant (SLt) Shivangi from Muzaffarpur, Bihar, got into the naval cockpit. And this made her the first woman pilot of the Indian Navy who got to fly fixed-wing Dornier surveillance plane.
The Indian Navy’s aviation branch always had women officers who have been around and operating as air traffic control officers. They have also been there as `observers’ in the aircraft, responsible for communication and weapons.
Last year, the Indian Navy had also selected its first lady officer for an international posting as a Defence Attache (to Moscow), whose area of expertise is in the construction of warships and their maintenance.