India to have first women fighter pilots on June 18: IAF chief Arup Raha

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New Delhi, March 8: Air Chief Marshall Arup Raha on Tuesday (March 8) said the Indian Air Force (IAF) will get its first woman fighter pilot on June 18 this year.

"As of now three women trainees have volunteered to join the fighter stream. They are under the second phase of their training. Once they complete their training and are at par with their male colleagues and the passing out parade is scheduled on June 18th," Raha told news agency ANI here.

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The announcement came on a day which is marked across the world as International Women's Day.

Raha said all three trainees should get commissioned on June 18 and become the first women fighter pilots, adding that they will go to advanced jet training next and then join the regular squads.

He also thanked Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for approving the IAF's proposal to include women as fighter pilots. He was speaking at a seminar on women in uniform in the Army Medical Corps here.

The IAF chief, who had said in March last year that women are not physically suited to fly fighter jets but changed his stand later, also emphasised that the AMC had first given the women the opportunity to serve in the defence.

Women in seven IAF departments so far

Currently, the IAF has women in administration, logistics, meteorology, navigation, education, aeronautical engineering (mechanical and electrical) and accounts.

Some of them have flown sorties of AN-32 aircraft to Daulat Beg Oldi in Ladakh, the world's highest advanced landing ground at 16,500 feet, and IL-76 heavy-lift aircraft to Leh.

 

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