Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar commissioned the first batch of three women pilots into Indian Air Force fighter squadron on Saturday. Therefore, in historic move, Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh became the first three women pilots to be commissioned to fly fighter jets. The three women have successfully completed their training at the Air Force Academy in Dundigal on the outskirts of Hyderabad.
The Hindu reported that Ms. Avani from Satna in Madhya Pradesh was inspired by her brother who is in the Army and said she always wanted to conquer the skies and hence joined the Flying Club in her college. Ms. Mohana Singh from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan boasts of a grandfather who was a Flight Gunner in the Aviation Research Centre and father who is a Warrant Officer in the IAF and is all excited to continue the family legacy of working in the armed forces. Ms. Bhawana Kanth, who hails from Darbhanga in Bihar and daughter of an officer in the Indian Oil Corporation, dreamt of flying planes from her childhood days and opted for the fighter stream after her Stage I training.
Women pilots were first included in 1991, for choppers and transport aircrafts.
According to official sources, it takes Rs 15 crore to train a fighter pilot. Air Chief Arup Raha has reportedly said that the woman fighters would get no preference and will be assigned as per requirements of the force.
The three will begin advanced training on advanced jet trainer Hawks.