Flying Officers Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh on Saturday were commissioned as India’s first three women fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force (IAF) after completing their advanced training.
Avani Chaturvedi, born and brought up in Madhya Pradesh (Satna), was inspired by the military life of army officers in her family. Avani’s father was an executive engineer with state government.
Talking to HT, Avani’s father Dinkar Chaturvedi said, “It was an extremely proud day for me and my family that our daughter was commissioned in IAF. Avani was determined, and fortunately she got the opportunity and she grabbed it. In a male dominated field, it’s a big achievement.”
Avani graduated with a B Tech degree on (Computer Science) from Banasthali University,Rajasthan. Apart from military life of army officers in her family, a few hours of flying experience in flying club of her college was her inspiration to join the IAF.
Manohar Parrikar, Defence Minister, conferred the President’s commission on behalf of the President of India, to these first women fighter pilots along with 126 graduating trainees of various branches including 19 women trainees in the Combined Graduation Parade, at Air Force Academy, Dundigal, on the outskirts of Hyderabad.
The women will get to fly fighter jets next year after completion of stage-III training at Bidar in Karnataka.
Mohana Singh comes from Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan. Her grandfather was a flight gunner in Aviation Research Centre and father is a warrant officer in the IAF.
While women pilots have been flying helicopters and transport aircraft since 1991 in the IAF, it was only last year when the government decided to allow women into fighter jet cockpits.
In February this year, President Pranab Mukherjee announced that women cadets will be allowed in combat roles in all three services.
Speaking at the parade, Parrikar said more women would join the armed forces.