Flight cadets Avani Chaturvedi, Mohana Singh and Bhawana Kanth have created history by becoming the first women fighter pilots commissioned in the Indian Air Force (IAF). India’s Defence Minister formally commissioned these women along with other flight cadets at a combined graduation parade at the Air Force Academy in Dundigal, near Hyderabad. In October 2015, the Government of India had approved the induction of women pilots into the fighter stream of the IAF.
Here’s a brief profile of the brave women, all of whom have degrees in engineering:
Born in Satna, Madhya Pradesh, Avani did her schooling from Adarsh School in Rewa and followed it up with an engineering degree in computer science from Banasthali University, Jaipur. Her father is an executive engineer with the state government. Her mother is a home maker.
Born and brought up in Bihar, Bhawana Kanth did her schooling from Barauni Refinery DAV School and from Kota, Rajasthan. She obtained an engineering degree in medical electronics from BMS Engineering College, Bangalore. Her father is an engineer with Indian Oil Corporation.
Mohana belongs to Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan and did her schooling from Air Force School, New Delhi. She obtained an engineering degree in electronics and communication from Global Institute of Management and Emerging Technologies, Amritsar. Her father is in the IAF and her mother is a teacher.
The three women will now be posted to an airbase to undertake fighter training, which includes learning intensive combat manoeuvres and armament firing, spread over a year. Although these women are the first fighter pilots, the IAF already has 94 women pilots flying its helicopters and transport aircraft.