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Air Force Day 2021 – Indian Women Taking Flight

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The Indian Air Force (IAF) today celebrates its 89th Foundation Day, which is being observed this year as Air Force Day 2021. Celebrations were held at the Hindon Air Force Station in Ghaziabad, UP in the presence of the Chief of Air Staff. The parade included formations with call signs related to the places and people involved in the 1971 war in which India defeated Pakistan and led to the creation of Bangladesh.
Chief of Air Staff Unit Citations were awarded to three units including the 47 Squadron for a role in operations along with the Pakistan border post-February 26, 2019 Balakot airstrikes and in Ladakh sector opposite China for extensive high altitude operations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his greetings to the brave “air warriors” of the IAF on Twitter. He shared a series of pictures of various feats performed by the IAF crew. Taking to his official handle on Twitter on Friday, the Prime Minister wrote: “Greetings to our air warriors and their families on Air Force Day. The Indian Air Force is synonymous with courage, diligence, and professionalism. They have distinguished themselves in defending the country and through their humanitarian spirit in times of challenges.”
As a part of Swarnim Vijay Varsh celebrations, the Indian Air Force organised a Tri Services’ All-Women Cycling Expedition from War Memorial, Longewala to National War Memorial, New Delhi. The expedition was flagged off on Sep 25. The 14-member contingent covered a distance of 1009 km in 12 days and was received on October 07 at the National War Memorial where they laid a wreath commemorating the veterans of IAF.

Women in the Indian Air Force

One of the turning points for women in the military came in 2015 when the Indian Air Force decided to induct women into the fighter stream. Mohana Singh Avani Chaturvedi and Bhawna Kanth made history as the first female fighter pilots in India.

First woman fighter pilot at Republic Day Parade

Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth from the Indian Air Force
Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth at the Republic Day Parade 2021
In recent years, many women have been seen performing leading roles in the air force. In January, flight lieutenant Bhawana Kanth became the first woman fighter pilot to take part in the Republic Day parade. She was part of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) tableau that displayed mock-ups of the light combat aircraft, light combat helicopter and the Sukhoi-30 fighter plane. Kanth had joined the fighter squadron in November 2017 and flew the first solo on MiG-21 Bison in March 2018. At present, she is posted at an airbase in Rajasthan where she flies the MiG-21 Bison fighter plane.
During the Budget Session in Parliament last month, the government informed that the headcount of women in the armed forces has increased almost three-fold over the last six years.

First woman flight test engineer

Squadron Leader Aashritha V Olety
Squadron Leader Aashritha V Olety
An officer of the Indian Air Force (IAF) has graduated from the Air Force Test Pilot School as the country’s first woman flight test engineer. Squadron Leader Aashritha V Olety is the first and only woman in the IAF qualified for the role, and as a flight test engineer, she will be responsible for evaluating aircraft and airborne systems before their induction into the armed forces. Olety hails from Karnataka, and has graduated as part of the 43rd Flight Test Course after completing a one-year course at the pilot school.