Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar formally commissioned women fighter pilots along with flight cadets of various branches of the Indian Air Force at a combined graduation parade at the Air Force Academy in Dundigal on Saturday — the first in the force’s history.
Avani Chaturvedi, Mohana Singh and Bhawna Kanth— the country's first women fighter pilots — were commissioned in the fighter stream of the flying branch after each cleared the first stage of training and has about 150 hours of flying. After getting their wings 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 and will get to fly fighter jets such as Sukhoi and Tejas next year after completion of stage-III training at Bidar in Karnataka.
Avani Chaturvedi, hailing from Satna, Madhya Pradesh, comes from a family of army officers. She was inspired by her brother who is also in the army. She always wanted to fly and joined the flying club of her college.
Bhawana Kanth hails from Darbhanga in Bihar. As a child, she always dreamt of flying planes. She opted for fighter stream after successfully completing her stage I training.
Daughter of an officer in the Indian Oil Corporation, she set the goal of becoming a fighter pilot and serve the nation.
Mohana Singh comes from Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. Her grandfather was a flight gunner in Aviation Research Centre and father is a warrant officer in the IAF. Mohana is excited to continue the family legacy of serving the nation.
Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha said previously that the three Women they would go to the advanced jet training after being commissioned, and later proceed to the regular squads.
Raha announced on International Women’s Day on March 8 that the nation would see its first batch of female fighter pilots on June 18.
In February 2016, President Pranab Mukherjee had announced that all military combat roles would now be open to women.