Women to fly fighter jets for 5 yrs

Women to fly fighter jets for 5 yrs

Women to fly fighter jets for 5 yrs

The defence ministry on Friday said women would be inducted into the combat stream of the Indian Air Force (IAF) to fly fighter aircraft on an ‘experimental basis’ for five years beginning June 2016.

“Government has accorded the approval to entry of women into the fighter stream of IAF on an experimental basis for five years,” the Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh said.

The women trainees undergoing stage-I training at the Air Force Academy would be first assessed for their suitability. Based on the suitability and willingness, they would be selected for stage-II training in the fighter stream.

“Upon successful completion of the stage-II training, these women trainees are likely to be commissioned into the fighter stream in June, 2016”, Singh told the Lok Sabha.
The induction of women as fighter pilots in the IAF was cleared by the government in October, overruling decades of refusal by the armed forces to consider women in any kind of combat role. The idea is still not acceptable to the Army and Navy.

“I would approach the authorities for a switch once the stream is open for women pilots. There are lots of women interested in flying the fighter jets,” Flight Lieutenant Nilofar Tariq, who fly helicopters in the IAF, told Deccan Herald last month at Hindon airbase in Ghaziabad.

The minister said all women pilots in IAF are cleared for all operational roles, including low-level tactical flying, para drop, air maintenance (northern and eastern sector) and special heli-borne operations. They also undergo jungle and snow survival courses.

Currently the IAF inducts women in transport and helicopter flights, besides navigation, aeronautical engineering, administration, logistics, accounts, education and meteorology branches.

The defence ministry has taken up a comprehensive review pertaining to induction of women in armed forces, both in short service commission and permanent commission, and once finalised, more branches would be opened up for induction of women. The Army now has 1,466 women officers in its ranks followed by 418 in the Navy and 1,428 in the IAF.

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