Creating history, the first batch of three female pilots — Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh were inducted in Indian Air Force fighter squadron on Saturday.On successful completion of their training, the trio were formally commissioned by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. Being the first to break barriers, they were the cynosure of all eyes at the parade in their immaculate turnout. On completion of their Stage III training at Bidar in adjoining Karnataka next year, they will get to fly fighter jets like the Sukhoi and Tejas.
1. CREATING HISTORY
The achievement of the three is a significant milestone for the Indian military, as this is the first time it has permitted women into combat roles. 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. “Joining the Indian Air Force for flying was a dream instilled by parents and grandparents,” says Ms. Mohana Singh, whose father is with the IAF and grandfather is still serving as a flight gunner in the Aviation Research Centre. The three will begin advanced training on advanced jet trainer Hawks. It will take another 145 hours on the Hawks for almost a year before they would actually get into the cockpit of a supersonic fighter.
2. Avani Chaturvedi
Avani was born in Madhya Pradesh's Satna district. She did her schooling from a small town named Deolond which is located near Rewa. She joined the IAF after completing her B Tech in Computer Science from Banasthali University, Jaipur.Her father is an executive engineer working for the state government. Her mother is a home maker. "My dream is to become a good fighter pilot on whom seniors can always rely when it comes to flying for live operations. I want to fly the best fighter aircraft and learn more and more each day," she says.
3. Bhawana Kanth
A native of a remote village in Darbhanga district, 24-year-old Bhawana Kanth has made Bihar proud by becoming one of the three first women fighter stream pilots in India's history.After completing her secondary education from Vidya Mandir, Kota, she joined BMS engineering college, Bangalore for doing BTech in medical electronics. After B Tech, she joined air force service commission.
4. Mohana Singh
Singh is from Jhunjunu, Rajasthan. Her father is in the IAF and her mother is a teacher. She completed her schooling from Air Force School, New Delhi and did her BTech (Electronics & Amp Comm) from GIMET, Amritsar.Having her father and grandfather in the defence forces, made Singh aspire to join the ranks and continue the family legacy.