The Indian Air Force (IAF) had created history on 18th of June by inducting 3 women fighter pilots for first time. These three women fighter pilots are Flight Cadets Bhawana Kanth of Bihar, Avani Chaturvedi of Madhya Pradesh and Mohana Singh of Rajasthan.
They were officially commissioned as fighter pilots in the IAF in presence of Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar at a ceremony held at Air Force Academy, Dundigal, in Hyderabad.
They are scheduled to complete their formal training in Spring Term-2016 at the Air Force Academy in Dundigal on Hyderabad's outskirts.
Importantly, in October 2015, the Indian central Government decided to open the fighter stream for women on an experimental basis for five years.
These three women fighter pilots were inducted in IAF after all of them cleared the first stage of training in the three stages process. Now they have about 150 hours of flying. These female fighter plane pilots would also get to fly supersonic warplanes, but before that they will have to go to Bidar in Karnataka for their stage-III training for a year on the Hawk advanced jet trainers. It will add 145 hours of flying before they actually get into the cockpit of a supersonic fighter in the third stage.
According to Defence minister Manohar Parrikar “It is also a golden day as for the first time these women are going to join the fighter pilots. This will inspire more women to take up most challenging task in the armed forces. Our long-term objective is to work towards gender parity in the armed forces”. However he also said that, “There are still a lot of technical and administrative difficulties in several areas in taking more women. We need to create a lot of infrastructure for women, especially in air force and navy wings. Yet, we will work towards creating more opportunities for them”.
Women pilots were first included in IAF for choppers and transport aircrafts during the early 90’s. At present, combat roles for women in the Indian Army and the Indian Navy are still off-limits due to a combination of operational concerns and logistical constraints.