Women Fighter Pilots in Indian Air Force Today


New Delhi: Women fighter pilots in Indian Air Force will create history for first time and are one to inspire hundreds. Indian Flying cadets are Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh. The three women, who are at present undergoing preparation at the Air Force Academy in Hakempet near Hyderabad, are the first batch of female pilots to be inducted in an IAF fighter squadron. Bhawana Kanth belongs to Begusarai in Bihar; Avani Chaturvedi is from Rewa, Madhya Pradesh and Mohana from Vadodara, Gujarat. Avani's father is an engineer and her brother is in the Army. Bhawana's father is employed with the Indian Oil Corporation. Mohana's father is a warrant officer in the IAF. Mohana, Avani and Bhawana will be rewarded by the President's Commission as flying officers of the fighter combat stream by defence minister Manohar Parrikar at the Combined Graduation Parade at Air Force Academy, Dundigal, on the outskirts of Hyderabad. They will then be shifted to either the Bidar or Kalaikunda airbase to take on "transitional" fighter training on the Hawks, which includes knowledge concentrated combat manoeuvres and armament firing spread over a year to ensure the rookie pilots can grip highly-unforgiving old fighters like MiG-21s or comparatively new multi-role ones like Sukhoi-30MKIs and Mirage-2000s.

Though the glass upper limit in the defence forces is now being steadily broken, the Army and Navy have no plans as of now to initiate women into the infantry, armoured corps or artillery, nor allow them to dish up on board warships. Even in the IAF, which has 94 women pilots flying its helicopters and transport aircraft, their entry into the fighter combat stream as short-service commission (SSC) officers has been done on an "experimental basis" for just five years.