HYDERABAD: Two women fighter pilots were commissioned in the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Saturday during the Combined Graduation Parade of Pilots and Ground Duty Officers at the Air Force Academy here.
With the commissioning of Pratibha (Rajasthan) and Shivangi (Varanasi), the total number of women fighter pilots has gone up to five in the IAF.
The two were among 15 women officers who will join the IAF, according to an official statement.
The occasion, in all, saw 105 Flight Cadets passing out as Flying Officers of the IAF.
This occasion also marked the passing out of 200th Pilot’s course of Indian Air Force officers, a long way forward since the humble beginning of the training of Indian trainees at Royal Air Force College, Cranwell in Oct 1931.
Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff was the Chief Guest of the parade.
As the reviewing officer of the parade, he conferred the ‘President’s Commission’ to the graduating Flight Cadets who successfully completed their basic and professional training.
Also present on the occasion was Air Marshal SRK Nair, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) Training Command, Indian Air Force.
During the parade 14 officers of Indian Navy and Coast Guard were also awarded their ‘Flying Brevets’.
IAF routinely trains members of other services and para-military forces in basic aviation and related courses at Air Force Academy, Dundigal.
The day’s event started with a display by the skydiving team of Indian Air Force ‘Akash Ganga’, followed by spectacular synchronised movement of ‘Air Warrior Drill Team’ of the Indian Air Force.
After the commissioning, Admiral Sunil Lanba awarded the most prestigious award of the academy, ‘Chief of Air Staff Sword of Honour’ and President’s Plaque for standing first in overall merit in Pilots’ Course to Flying Officer Karan Pal Singh. He also awarded President’s Plaque to Flying Officer Vishnu Vishal and Flying Officer Mohit Kumar for being first in overall merit in Navigation and Ground Duty branches respectively.
The Combined Graduation Parade marked the culmination of rigorous training schedule of one year and heralds the entry of another generation of officers in the Indian Air Force.
The Air Force Academy (AFA), Dundigal is the premier training establishment which transforms the raw recruits, known as “flight cadets” during their training at Air Force Academy, into elite cadre of officers for the Indian Air Force.