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05:56 AM, May 24, 2019
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File photo of India’s Air Force Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth. AP Photo.

India’s air force pilot Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth has become the first woman fighter pilot qualified for combat missions by day.

She has successfully completed a training program for performing combat missions on a MiG-21 ‘Bison’ fighter jet, PTI news agency reported on Thursday.

"She is the first woman fighter pilot to be qualified to undertake missions on a fighter aircraft by day. She has been able to achieve this feat with her hard work and perseverance," Air Force Spokesperson Group Captain Anupam Banerjee was quoted by PTI as saying.

She has been posted to a frontline airbase at Nal in Rajasthan, where she will operate the aircraft with her squadron.

Officials said the next woman fighter pilot to undertake missions by day is Flight Lieutenant Avani Chaturvedi. Flight Lieutenant Mohana Singh is also expected to reach this stage soon. The three women pilots were commissioned into the IAF’s fighter stream in June 2016.

The MiG-21 is the oldest frontline combat jet, which is operational in the Indian Air Force. The fighter first entered service in 1964. Since then, the jet has been regularly upgraded.

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