IAF to induct first batch of women pilots on June 18

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will attend the commissioning ceremony of three women officers as the fighter pilots...

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Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will attend the commissioning ceremony of three women officers as the fighter pilots for the first time in the IAF history on June 18, at Air Force Academy in Dundigal in Hyderabad.

On the occasion, Parrikar will review the Passing out Parade and confer the ‘President’s Commission’ to 129 graduating trainees of various branches including 22 women trainees.

The graduation parade, which will be held as part of successful completion of the pre-commissioning training by the flight cadets of various branches of Indian Air Force will be a landmark event in the history of IAF, as the first three women pilots will be commissioned in the fighter stream of the flying branch, a defence release stated here today.

The women to be inducted as fighter pilots are Bhavana Kant, Mohana Singh and Avani Chaturvedi. They will go to Bidar in Karnataka for their stage-III training for a year on Hawk advanced jet trainers, before they get to fly supersonic warplanes.

Six female cadets were competing to become fighter pilots after the government, in a landmark move, approved an IAF plan in October to induct them as fighter pilots.

However, only three female trainees were selected for the fighter stream. Parrikar will also present the ‘wings and brevets’ to the newly-commissioned officers of the flying branch and to the officers from sister services i.e. Navy and Coast Guard who have successfully undergone the flying training.

The reviewing officer will present the President’s Plaque and the Sword of Honour to the flight cadets– standing first in the order of merit in ‘flying branch’, who will have the privilege of commanding the parade, stated the release.

The reviewing officer will also award the President’s Plaque to the toppers (first in overall merit) in the navigation and ground duty branches of the graduating course.

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