India will soon have its first female fighter pilot, as the Indian Air Force (IAF) has finally announced it has cleared three women to be trained for flying warplanes, reports said.
The three women, who will finish their training at the Air Force Academy near Hyderabad, will now be sent for their stage-II training on Kiran Mk-II planes for six months.
A high-powered board of IAF officers selected 45 candidates, including the three women, who "performed splendidly in flying and ground subjects".
The female trainees have to undergo a rigorous training during which they have to complete jungle and snow survival missions. All female fighter pilots will also be trained in low-level tactical flying, para drop, air maintenance (northern & eastern sector) and special heli-borne operation (SHBO), Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh told Lok Sabha earlier this month.
After completing their training, the female pilots will be commissioned into the fighter stream in June, 2016, he had said. However, it will be 2017 by the time the female candidate make into the cockpit as for one year they will be trained on British Hawk advanced jet trainers before they can fly supersonic warplanes.
According to Hindustan Times, one of the trainee officers is the daughter an IAF officer.
There are said to be around 1,500 women in the Air Force, including 94 pilots and 14 navigators. Currently women are inducted in the IAF only as transport and helicopter pilots.