Meet Flt Lt Bhawna Kanth, the first woman fighter pilot at Republic Day parade
Flight lieutenant Bhawna Kanth will be the first women fighter pilot to be the part of the Republic Day parade on January 26.
She will be the part of IAF Tableaux contingent during the parade.
Talking to reporters in Delhi, she said, "Since my childhood, I have been watching Republic Day parade on television and it is a matter of pride that now I am participating in it."
Currently, Flight lieutenant Bhawna pilots the Russian-origin fighter aircraft MiG-21 (Bison) and is posted at the Nal airbase in Bikaner.
On being asked about flying other aircraft, Flt Lt Kanth said, "I would love to fly other fighter jets, including Rafale and Sukhoi."
Hailing from Bihar's Begusarai, Flt Lt Kanth was part of the first batch of three women fighter pilots of the Indian Air Force, joined in 2016.
She joined the fighter squadron in November 2017 and became operational in March 2018 after her solo flying in MiG 21 Bison.
Two Rafale fighter jets will debut at this year’s Republic Day parade for the first time.
Rafales, one each will fly in Eklavya formation and Brahmastra formation.
In Eklavya formation, it will be flanked with two Jaguars and two MiG-29s.
In 2016, India signed government to government deal with the French government for the purchase of 36 readymade Rafale fighter jets worth Rs 59,000 crore. Out of which, eight have been delivered so far and deployed at Ambala Air Force station in Haryana.
Next batch of three aircraft is expected to arrive at the end of this month.
A total of 42 aircraft are participating in this year’s Republic Day celebrations.
There will be 15 fighters, 5 Transport, 17 Helicopters, 1Vintage and 4 Army Aviation helicopters. It will culminate with Rafale fighters flying Victor Charlie(Vic) formation.
The IAF Tableaux will display the model of LCA Tejas, Light Combat Helicopter, Rohini Radar, Akash Missile and Sukhoi 30MKI.
In order to commemorate the 50th year of Indian victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war, a Bangladesh Army delegation will also be marching down the Rajpath, as a special invitee.
The IAF's vintage Dakota aircraft, flanked with two Mi-17 1V helicopters will be flying past in Rudra formation at the time when the Bangladesh contingent will be marching past the President Ram Nath Kovind's dais.
The marching contingent will be comprised of four IAF officers and 96 air warriors.