India’s First woman to fly Rafale
Flight Lieutenant Shivangi Singh to be India’s first woman pilot to fly Rafale fleet.
Flight Lieutenant Shivangi Singh will become the India’s first woman pilot to fly the Rafale, the multi-role fighter aircraft after finishing her conversion training.
Commissioned into the Indian Air Force in 2017 as part of the second batch of women fighter pilots, Singh currently flies the force’s oldest jet MiG-21 Bison.
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, was Singh’s flying instructor, sources told .
Shivangi Singh, who hails from Varanasi, is currently undergoing conversion training to fly the Rafale jet and will soon join the Ambala-based No. 17 squadron, also known as “Golden Arrows.”
Role of Women in IAF
- The officer, who is one of IAF’s 10 women fighter pilots, joined the air force in 2017. After joining IAF, she has been flying the MiG-21 Bison aircraft and was till recently serving at a fighter base in Rajasthan.
- In 1994, women joined the air force as pilots in support role; Gunjan Saxena (Flight Officer) and Sreevidya Rajan were among the first women to fly in a combat zone during Kargil War (May–July 1999).
- In 2006, Deepika Misra was the first IAF woman pilot to train for the Sarang display team.
- In 2012, Nivedita Choudhary (Flight Lieutenant), from Rajasthan, became the first woman from the Indian Air Force to summit the Mount Everest.
- In 2015, Indian Air Force opened new combat air force roles for women as fighter pilots, adding to their role as helicopter pilots in the Indian Air Force.
On 22 May 2019, Bhawana Kanth became the first woman fighter pilot to qualify to undertake combat missions.
- Women are now taking up combat roles in Indian Air Force with Avani Chaturvedi, Mohana Singh Jitarwal, and Bhawana Kanth being the first 3 women fighter pilots.Marking International Women’s Day on 8 March 8, 2020 all 3 fighter pilots were awarded Nari Shakti Puraskar.
- Wing Commander Shaliza Dhami became the first woman officer to be given permanent commission with the Indian Air Force. Squadron Leader Minty Agarwal became the first woman to receive a Yudh Seva Medal.
India ordered 36 Rafale jets from France in a deal worth Rs 59,000 crore in September 2016. The air force formally inducted the planes at the Ambala air base on September 10 though they landed at their home base on July 29.
The next batch of three to four Rafale jets is expected to reach Ambala from France in October followed by a third batch in December. All deliveries will be completed by the end of 2021.
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