Indian women broke yet another glass ceiling in an age when practically nothing much remains beyond their means anymore. This morning belongs to flight cadets Avani Chaturvedi from Madhya Pradesh, Bhawana Kanth from Bihar and Mohana Singh from Rajasthan, who are currently undergoing stage-II training on Kiran Intermediate Jet Trainers at Hakimpet Air Force Station in Hyderabad.
The three women, in their early 20s, created history as India’s first women fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force (IAF), as they were commissioned from the first batch on Saturday.
All of them cleared the first stage of training and has about 150 hours of flying. Once they pass out at the Combined Graduation Parade Spring Term 2016 today, the three will begin advanced training on advanced jet trainer – British built Hawks at Bidar in Karnataka. It will take another 145 hours on the Hawks before they actually get into the cockpit of a supersonic fighter. Fighter pilot training takes place in three stages.
Last October, the government decided to open the fighter stream for women on an experimental basis for five years. But combat roles in the Army and the Navy are still off limits due to a combination of operational concerns and logistical constraints. 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.