In a first, Indian Army to induct women pilots next year
First Published Jan 12, 2021, 7:46 PM IST
In a significant move, the Indian Army has decided to induct women officers into its Aviation Corps' flying branch from next year. Anish Singh reports.
In a significant move, the Indian Army has decided to induct women officers into its Aviation Corps' flying branch from next year.
Addressing media persons during the annual press conference in New Delhi, Army chief Gen MM Naravane said, "Last month, I had initiated a proposal that women officers can be recruited to Army aviation. And three directorates concurred. Next course which will begin in July this year, they will be inducted for training purposes in flying branch and after one year they will be able to join in operational duties."
So far women are recruited for Air Traffic Control which is a ground duty.
The Army Aviation Corps was raised on November 1 in 1986. The Corps have officers and jawans from all arms of the Army, including a significant number from the artillery.
After its raising in 1986, the Army Aviation Corps proved its impeccable combat credentials during ‘Operation Pawan' in Sri Lanka against Tamil Tigers in 1987.
The Corps had also played a significant role during the Kargil War in 1999.
Army Aviation Corps' choppers are being used for reconnaissance, observation, casualty evacuation, essential load drops, combat search and rescue, thus adding an invaluable air dimension to the Army's capabilities.
During peacetime, the helicopters participate in Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief operations across the country.
Women fighter pilots in Indian Air Force
In 2015, the government gave its nod for induction of women fighter pilots in Indian Air Force.
Bhawana Kanth, Mohana Singh and Avani Chaturvedi were the trainees in the first batch who qualified for the fighter stream.
The decision to allow women to fly fighter planes was taken on an experimental basis for five years.
So far 10 women officers have been commissioned into the fighter stream of the IAF since the stream was opened up, Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik had informed Parliament in September last year.
In a written reply to Rajya Sabha, he had said that the strength of women officers serving the IAF as on September 1, 2020, is 1,875.
Currently, there are a total of 111 women pilots serving in the IAF, including those who fly transport planes and choppers.
Women pilots in Indian Navy
As per the Indian Navy, the first batch of women pilots was operationalised for maritime missions on the Dornier Aircraft in October last year. They have been operationalised by the Southern Naval Command (SNC) at Kochi.
"The three of them have graduated as ‘Fully operational Maritime Reconnaissance (MR) Pilots’, from their training course -- the Dornier Operational Flying Training (DOFT) Course," the Navy had said in a statement.
The Navy does not have any women fighter pilots while there are women observers on choppers.
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