- The defence ministry said last year that it had decided to make the trial programme for women fighter pilots in the IAF into a permanent one.
- India sent one Su-30MKI plane, one IL-78 flight refuelling plane, and two C-17 Globemaster strategic airlift transport planes to the "Veer Guardian" exercise in Japan.
Squadron Leader Avani Chaturvedi made history when she was the first woman fighter pilot of the Indian Air Force (IAF) to take part in an aerial wargame abroad. She says that flying combat aircraft is exciting and that young people who want to join the force have no limits.
Chaturvedi, a Su-30MKI pilot, was part of the IAF group that took part in a 16-day mega air combat exercise with the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) from January 12 to January 26 at the Japanese airbase of Hyakuri.
“Participating in flying exercises, especially with an air force from a different country, is always a good time. This is especially true because it was the first time I took part in a global exercise. It was a huge chance for me and a great way for me to learn “Chaturvedi said so to PTI.
“Veer Guardian-2023” was the first wargame of its kind between the IAF and the JASDF. It focused on manoeuvring in air combat, intercepting enemy planes, and air defence missions.
“I want all the young, ambitious boys and girls to know that the sky is the limit for you. The IAF is a great place to work, and flying fighter planes is a lot of fun “Chaturvedi said.
When asked how hard it was for her to become a fighter pilot, she said, “I would tell anyone who wants to join the IAF to keep their eyes on the goal and work hard to get there.”
Squadron Leader Chaturvedi was one of the first three women fighter pilots to join the IAF in June 2016. She has a B.Tech in computer science. Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh were the other two.
“We have learned a lot from each other thanks to this activity. The goal is to learn about each other’s ways of working, planning, and any good practises in general. It’s a way for both of us to learn, “Chaturvedi said.
Officials said that women fighter pilots in the IAF had taken part in air exercises in Israel before, but this was the first time one of them took part in a military drill outside of Israel.
Chaturvedi, who is from Madhya Pradesh, was the first Indian woman to fly a fighter plane by herself. She did this in February 2018 when she flew a MiG-21 bison. She took off from the Jamnagar base of the Indian Air Force.
Chaturvedi, Kanth, and Singh joined the IAF in 2016, which was less than a year after the government decided to let women test out the fighter stream.
About 20 women are fighter pilots in the IAF right now.
The defence ministry said last year that it had decided to make the trial programme for women fighter pilots in the IAF into a permanent one.
The Navy has said that it will send out its first group of women pilots on the Dornier maritime aircraft in 2020.
India sent one Su-30MKI plane, one IL-78 flight refuelling plane, and two C-17 Globemaster strategic airlift transport planes to the “Veer Guardian” exercise in Japan.
The F-2 and F-15 planes of the JASDF took part in the exercise.
During the exercise, the two air forces did a lot of complicated and detailed manoeuvres in the air, simulating a number of different operational situations. Officials say that the IAF and the JASDF took part in air combat manoeuvring, interception, and air defence missions, both within and beyond visual range.
Aircrews from the two air forces also flew in each other’s fighter planes to learn more about each other’s ways of doing things.