First batch of IAF's women fighter pilots to pass out on 18 June

Indian Air Force will get its first batch of women fighter pilots with three women trainees complete their training on 18 June 2016, Air Chief Marshall Arup Raha said.

Raha said the three women cadets have volunteered to join the fighter stream and are currently undergoing training.

"I must thank defence minister for having approved IAF's proposal to induct women as fighter pilots. And very soon on June 18 this year Indian Air Force will get its first woman fighter pilot," said Raha.

"As of now three women trainees have volunteered to join fighter stream. They are in second phase of their training. They are doing reasonably well. Passing out parade is scheduled on June 18. We feel all three will get commissioned in fighter stream," said Raha.

He was speaking at a seminar on 'Women in Armed Medical Corps' organised to mark International Women's Day here, which was also attended by defence minister Manohar Parrikar.

It was the AMC that first provided the opportunity to women to serve in the defence after which, the floodgates have opened for women to prove their mettle, Raha pointed out.

The Air Force had earlier reservations on inducting women pilots into the fighter stream even though the defence ministry had cleared the proposal of inducting women as fighter pilots in October 2015.

Parrikar, however, complemented Raha for his steady support for the proposal and his insistence on pushing forward the proposal to induct women as fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force.

"Though I approved and support the proposal, it was he who was consistently pushing the file to the MoD level.

"I congratulate you for initiating the seminar which will go a long way in deciding the role of women in uniform and not only in the Armed Medical Corps," Parrikar said.

IAF currently has women in seven areas of administration, logistics, meteorology, navigation, education, aeronautical engineering (mechanical and electrical), and accounts. The Air Force currently has about 1,500 women on its rolls of which 94 are pilots and 14 navigators.