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First Batch of Women Fighter-Pilots Will Fly Warplanes From December, says IAF Chief

NEW DELHI: The first batch of women fighter-pilots will fly warplanes from December after finishing the final leg of their training, which is underway at Kalaikunda Air Force facility in West Bengal, Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa said on Thursday. 

Addressing journalists ahead of the 85th Air Force Day, the Air Chief said, “Last year in July, we have moved a step forward by inducing the first batch of women pilots in fighter's stream. You will be glad to know that their performance has been at par  with other pilots despite demanding nature of the flying.'' 

"Consequently, the next batch of three women trainees were selected in the fighters stream in July and are presently undergoing the second stage of their training. On successful completion of the training, these three women pilots will be commissioned in December this year,'' Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa said. 

Bhawana Kanth, Mohana Singh, and Avani Chaturvedi were commissioned as flying officers in the IAF in June 2016. They are currently training on British Hawk advanced jet trainers.

These pilots were supposed to be assigned to fighter squadrons in June 2017 but the plan got delayed by four months due to training backlog and weather-related issues. 

On further inclusion of female pilots in the fighters stream, the Air Chief said, “Flying is gender neutral like driving. Women have to volunteer to become fighter pilots and also have to make the cut into aptitude as flying is the game of physics.”

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