India on Saturday got its first batch of women fighter pilots. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar formally commissioned flying cadets Bhawana Kath, Avani Chatuvedi and Mohana Singh – all in their mid-twenties – into the Indian Air Force, at a combined graduation parade at the Air Force Academy in Dundigal, Hyderabad, NDTV reported.
Each of them cleared the first stage of training and has around 150 hours of flying. They will now undergo training for six months on the British-built Hawk, an advanced fighter jet, after which they will be assigned fighters and their squadrons. They will be posted either at the Bidar or Kalaikunda airbase.
Mohona Singh's father is a warrant officer in the IAF, while her grandfather served as a flight gunner at Aviation Research Centre. "I wanted to carry on the family legacy of serving the nation by being in defence, and what better way than fighter-flying," she said.
Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha had announced on the occasion of International Women's Day that the nation will see its first batch of female fighter pilots on June 18. The Army and Navy, however, have yet to induct women in combat roles. The Air Force currently has 94 women pilots flying its helicopters and transport aircraft.