The first batch of women fighter pilots was commissioned by the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar at Air Force Academy in Dundigal near Hyderabad on June 18.
Avani Chaturvedi, Mohana Singh and Bhavana Kanth. (L-R)
The three women
– Flight cadets Avani Chaturvedi of Madhya Pradesh, Mohana Singh of Rajasthan and Bhawana Kanth of Bihar – were among others who graduated along with flight cadets of various branches of the Indian Air Force at the combined graduation parade.
With this, the Indian Air Force has become the first among the three services to allow women in combat roles.
Each has about 150 hours of flying. As Flying Officers, they will further train for six months on the Hawk Advanced Jet Fighter before getting their assigned fighters and squadrons. Avni is the daughter of an executive engineer of the state government. She did her schooling from Adarsh School in Rewa and BTech in Computer Science from Banasthali University, Jaipur.
Bhawana is from Begusarai and is the daughter of an engineer with Indian Oil Corporation Limited. She did her schooling from Barauni Refinery DAV Public School and graduated as BE in Medical Electronics from BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore. Mohana is the only one whose family is serving the IAF. She did her schooling from Air Force School, New Delhi and BTech in Electronics & Communication from Global Institute of Management and Emerging Technologies, Amritsar.
The women fighter pilots will have to clock another 145 hours on the Hawks – almost a year – before actually getting into the cockpit of a fighter which could be the ageing MiGs or the advanced Sukhoi SU-30MKI.
The decision to include women in combat roles in IAF was taken in October 2015
, two years after Pakistan opened combat roles for women in PAF.