New Delhi : Defence Ministry has paved way for inducting women pilots in the frontline fighter jets, which will soon become a reality. In about a short span of wait, after seven months, the first batch of Indian women pilots will begin to train as fighter pilots of the Indian Air Force, a space predominantly men-centric since decades. This move would enable women pilots to occupy the cockpits of frontline fighter jets and take charge of this responsibility, which was a no-entry zone till now for the women cadre of air force wing.
Additionally, in a follow-on schedule, the first batch of women fighter jet pilots is scheduled to complete training and begin the duty in almost 20 months. Ministry of Defence has given its nod for women induction in combat roles, the first Indian women combat pilots will be in the cockpits of frontline fighter jets of the Air Force in June 2017. The first women fighter pilots would be selected from the batch presently undergoing training at the Air Force Academy.
Those selected will begin to train as fighter pilots in seven months. After successful completion of training, first Indian women combat pilots will be in the cockpits of frontline fighter jets in mid 2017. The ministry stated, ‘This progressive step is in keeping with the aspirations of Indian women and is in line with contemporary trends in armed forces of developed nations.’
Earlier this month, on 83rd Air Force Day, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha had announced that women would soon be inducted as fighter pilots, making IAF the first of the three services to have women in active front-line combat roles.
The total fleet of women recruitment in Air force stands above a thousand as of today. There are around 1,500 women in the Air Force, including 94 pilots and 14 navigators. The present responsibilities included in their duties At the moment are at the capacity of transport and helicopter pilots in the IAF, but they have been presently restricted in fighter jets and are not exposed to direct combat. This recent move of Defence Ministry for inducting women pilots in combat fighter jets makes them eligible for induction in all branches and streams of the IAF.
In 2010, women in the Army and the Air Force were allowed to upgrade into ‘full term service’ category by Delhi High Court which ensured that women officers too could avail of better benefits at par with their male counterparts from the defence government. Up to five years ago, women military officers were entitled only to a limited service span.
The Ministry of Defence has initiated committed steps in executing a comprehensive review pertaining to induction of women in Armed Forces both in short service commission and permanent commission (SSC & PC). Once data gets organized in this context, more branches would be opened up for women which would by and by present opportunities for women wing of Air Force and make them realize that, really, sky is the limit.