Women now form an integral part of the Indian Armed Forces and could well lead men into the lines. And when it comes to the Indian Air Force, from fighter pilots to flight engineers, women have left no bastion unconquered. A few months back, flight Lieutenant Hina Jaiswal created history by becoming the first Indian Woman Flight Engineer.
Now we have another game-changer in the Indian Air Force. Make way for IAF Wing Commander Shaliza Dhami. She has created history. Shaliza is now the first female officer in the country to become the Flight Commander of a flying unit.
In 2018, the Indian Air Force (IAF) announced to induct women as fighter pilots. Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha on the IAF's 83rd anniversary, said, "We have women pilots flying transport aircraft and helicopters. We are now planning to induct them into the fighter stream to meet the aspirations of young women in India."
"There are many of us in the forces who grew up watching MiGs, wished to fly these birds," a woman flying officer in the transport branch told ET. "With this move we might see that turn to reality." The air force has about 1,500 women, of which 108 are pilots in the helicopter and transport units.
Last month, Minister of State (MoS) for Defence Shripad Naik said in Lok Sabha that s of July 1, 2019, the strength of women officers serving in the IAF is 1,905. Of these, eight are Fighter Pilots and 17 are Navigators.
Dhami, recently, took over as Flight Commander of a Chetak helicopter unit at Hindon airbase. Chetak is a single-engine turboshaft, light utility helicopter with a capacity of six passengers and has a maximum speed of 220 km/hour. As a Flight Commander, she is the second in command of the unit, which means that she is the number two in the unit after the commanding officer.
She has been serving for 15 years now and has been flying choppers.
Bhawana, along with Mohana Singh and Avni Chaturvedi, was inducted into the fighter stream of the IAF in 2017. She flew her first solo on a MiG-21 Bison in March 2018 from Ambala Air Force Station. For the uninitiated, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was also flying a MiG-21 Bison when he shot down Pakistan Air Force's fighter jet during an airstrike on February 27.
Feeling proud, aren't you?
Featured Image: Twitter
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