Indian Air Force: First batch of women fighter pilot commissioned, to fly Sukhoi and Tejas jets next year

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Hyderabad | Updated: June 18, 2016 1:20:24 PM

History was scripted today when Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh today became the first women fighter pilots to be formally commissioned by the Indian Air Force.

Flying officer Avani Chaturvedi after being inducted in IAF fighter squadron (Image Source: ANI)Flying officer Avani Chaturvedi after being inducted in IAF fighter squadron (Image Source: ANI)

History was scripted today when Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh today became the first women fighter pilots to be formally commissioned by the Indian Air Force.

The graduation parade was a landmark in IAF history as the first three women pilots were commissioned in the fighter stream of the flying branch.

Each has cleared the first stage of training and has about 150 hours of flying. After getting their wings tomorrow 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.

Batting for gender parity in the armed forces, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who was chief guest at the combined graduation ceremony at Air Force Academy, Dundigal on the city outskirts, termed the event as a “milestone” as it also the first time that women have been given a combat role.

“It is a golden letter day…,” he said, asserting that “step-by-step”, “total gender parity” will be achieved in the armed forces in the coming years.

“There are technical and administrative difficulties which we are likely to face in certain areas, so, step by step we will see that this parity is achieved. Number will depend on how many we can accommodate depending on our infrastructure,” Parrikar said.

Expressing happiness, the three women pilots, who successfully completed pre-commissioning training by the Flight Cadets of various branches of IAF, said they consider themselves “fortunate” and were excited to take on their duties.

The trio will go to Bidar in Karnataka for their stage-III training for a year on Hawk advanced jet trainers, before they get to fly supersonic warplanes.

Parrikar, who reviewed the passing out parade, conferred ‘President’s Commission’ on behalf the President to 130 Flight Cadets, including 22 women trainees, who were commissioned as Flying Officers.

Here are updates of Indian Air Force’s historic day

11.30 am: I am really very proud of her and wish her all the luck: Mother of IAF fighter pilot Mohana Singh

11.28 am: Feel confident& good definitely. All our instructors were very supportive – Avani Chaturvedi,IAF fighter pilot

Also Read: Indian Air Force chief Arup Raha on Sweden visit, flies Gripen fighter aircraft

10.22 am: First batch of three female pilots who were inducted in IAF fighter squadron, address the medi

10.20 am: Some countries are showing interest in buying missiles like Akash and Brahmos: Manohar Parrikar, Defence Minister

9.35 am: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar reviews the passing out parade at the Indian Air Force Academy in Hakimpet

9.30 am: First batch of female pilots inducted in IAF fighter squadron at Air Force Academy

8.30 am: Passing out parade underway at the Indian Air Force Academy in Hakimpet

Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha had earlier told ANI that after being commissioned, they would go to the advanced jet training, and later proceed to the regular squads.

Raha, on the occasion of International Women’s Day yesterday, announced that the nation will see its first batch of female fighter pilots on June 18.

In February 2016, President Pranab Mukherjee had announced that all military combat roles will be opened to women in the future.

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