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Two Indian Army Officers Create History by Becoming First Women to Train as Combat Pilots

Image for representation. Credits: Reuters

Image for representation. Credits: Reuters

AAC plays an important role in supporting the army’s deployment in high altitude areas, including the Siachen Glacier.

Two women army officers have once again broken the glass ceiling by getting selected to train as helicopter pilots at the force’s premier Combat Army Aviation Training School at Nashik in Maharashtra. They are among those 47 army officers who begun their training at the Nashik training school on Monday and will join front-line flying duties on completion of their training in July 2022. A total of 15 women officers had volunteered to join army aviation but only two have managed to pass the Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT) and medicals. Until now, only male officers were inducted for front-line flying duties while women officers were assigned ground duties in the Army Aviation Corps. The development came after army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane cleared a proposal that allowed women officers to join the army’s aviation wing.

The Army Aviation Corps was formed in November 1986 and at present, it operates Chetak, Cheetah, Lancer, Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv, and ALH Weapon System Integrated (WSI) aircraft. AAC plays an important role in supporting the army’s deployment in high altitude areas, including the Siachen Glacier.

Last month, 83 women soldiers were inducted to join the Corps of Military Police (CMP) in the Indian Armed Forces. The attestation parade of the soldiers was held at the CMP Centre and School, Bengaluru. Brigadier C Dayalan, Commandant of the CMP C&S, had commandeered the attestation parade. As per the government data, nearly 9,118 women are currently serving the army, navy and air force, excluding the medical wing. Nearly 6,807 women officers in the army, 1607 in the Indian Air Force and 704 in the navy are serving at present.

IAF decided to induct women officers into the fighter stream for the first time in 2015. Earlier this year, the Indian Navy has also deployed four women officers on warships after almost 25 years.

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Talking about the same, Rajeshwari Kori, deputy controller of Civil Defence (Maharashtra) and a former lieutenant commander. said that it’s wonderful to see the armed forces open new avenues for women. She also added that it will encourage more women to join the military. Rajeshwari was part of a short-lived Indian Navy experiment to deploy women on warships in 1997.

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first published:June 09, 2021, 17:01 IST