The Indian Ministry of Defence has approved women as fighter pilots who will be inducted into the combat stream of the Indian Air Force from next year.
Since their induction into the transport and Helicopter streams of the IAF, the womens’ performance has been ‘praiseworthy and on a par with their male counterparts,’ an MOD statement said today.
Inducting women into the fighter stream would provide them with an equal opportunity to prove their mettle in combat roles as well.
The first women pilots would be selected from the batch which is presently undergoing flying training at Air Force Academy. After successful completion of ab-initio training, they would be commissioned in the fighter stream in June 2016.
Thereafter, they would undergo advanced training for one year and would enter a fighter cockpit by June 2017.
Presently, the Indian Army is inducting women into the Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation (Air Traffic Control), Army Air Defence, Electronics & Mechanical Engineers, Army Service Corps, Army Ordinance Corps, Intelligence Corps, Army Education Corps and Judge Advocate Generals Branches/Cadres.
The Indian Navy is inducting women in the Judge Advocate Generals, Logistics, Observer, Air Traffic Controller, Naval Constructor and Education branches/cadres. The IAF is presently inducting women in the Transport and Helicopter stream of the flying branch, Navigation, Aeronautical Engineering, Administration, Logistics, Accounts, Education and Meteorology branches.
With this decision to open up induction of women in the fighter stream, women have become eligible for induction in all branches and streams of the IAF.
The Ministry of Defence has also taken up a comprehensive review pertaining to induction of women in Armed Forces, both in short service commission and permanent commission (SSC & PC) and once finalised more and more branches would be opened up for induction of women.