• Flying high: Meet India’s first batch of female fighter pilots

    A historical occasion for the Indian Air Force today as the first ever batch of women fighter pilots get formally inducted into the forces. The commissioning ceremony took place at the Indian Air Force Academy in Hakimpet in Telangana saw Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in attendance. Avani Chaturvedi, Mohana Singh and Bhawna Kanth are the three pilots who were selected  by the IAF, and after months of rigorous training they now join the fighter squadron.

    The ceremony marked the completion of training by the flight cadets, with three woman part of this, it was a breakthrough event. Though, this is a first step taken by the IAF on the command of the Defence Ministry for five years, the Air Force will decide how to take ahead the idea of hiring more women, over the coming months.  

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    “We are lucky to have been the first three women fighter pilots. It could have been anyone else,” the women said while addressing the media after being commissioned reports TOI.  While Avani Chaturvedi hails from Madhya Pradesh, Mohana Singh is from Rajasthan and Bhawana Kanth comes from Bihar. All of them are in their early twenties. Each cadet now has around 150 hours of flying under her belt.

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    The trio will now be heading to Bidar in north Karnataka where they will undergo their final training for a year. The three pilots will be taught to fly Hawk jet-powered trainer aircraft and will finally be entering the fighter cockpit in June 2017.

    It was in October 2015 that Parrikar issued a statement approving the induction of women as fighter pilots in the IAF, a move that is largely seen as a positive step towards gender equality in the armed forces.

    Feature Image Credit: The Hindu