Indian women are climbing the ladder across all professional fields in the country. They've been setting examples of remarkable feats, especially in spheres that were previously dominated by men.
For a long time, women were largely underrepresented in the Indian Air Force (IAF) and now with approximately 1500 women in the IAF, many among them are aspiring to fly fighter jets. Recently, Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth broke all barriers and became the first woman pilot to qualify to undertake combat missions, making the country extremely proud. Following suit, an all-women crew of the IAF flew a medium-lift helicopter on Monday for the first time ever in India. The crew included Flight Lieutenant Parul Bhardwaj, who was leading the team, Flying Officer Aman Nidhi and Flight Lieutenant Hina Jaiswal. That's what girl power stands for!
"The all-women crew flew a Mi-17 V5 helicopter for a Battle Inoculation Training mission taking off and landing from restricted areas at a forward airbase in South Western air command," the Air Force said in a press statement. The IAF also posted a congratulatory message for the three pilots on Twitter.
Twitterati is proud of the three women and saluted the pilots for their achievement. There were numerous comments on the tweet which addressed the pilots with tags such as 'Wonder Women', 'Super Women' and 'Dream Team'!
The pilots have undergone basic flight training at the Helicopter Training School at the Air Force Station, Hakimpet followed by advanced training at Air Force Station, Yelahanka. The helicopter was certified airworthy by Squadron Leader Richa Adhikari, the unit engineering officer.
The Russian origin Mi-17 is a utility helicopter that can carry up to 24 troops or 4,000 kg load. It can also be armed with rockets and machine guns to provide close air support to ground troops. The helicopter was also used to strafe enemy positions at high altitude during the 1999 Kargil conflict. The IAF has several Mi-17 units located across the country, making up the backbone of the vertical lift component.
To commemorate the soldiers who flew the Mi-17 choppers during the Kargil War, the IAF tweeted a message with the hashtag #RememberingKargil.
This mission was special for all the three women who were a part of the crew. Parul Bhardwaj was the first woman pilot to fly the Mi-17 V5 helicopter; Hina Jaiswal was the first woman flight engineer of the IAF and Aman Nidhi was the first woman IAF pilot from Jharkhand.
This isn't just a remarkable achievement for the women who flew the helicopter, it is a victory for this nation. It sets a precedent for numerous women who have dreamt of flying helicopters and jets for the Indian Air Force.
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