Following the Indian Navy and the Air Force, soon the Indian Army will have women pilots in the combat flying role. Ahead of the Army Day on January 15, the Indian Army Chief Gen MM Naravane has said “In December last, I proposed Army Aviation to have women pilots.”
Later this year in July in the next course, the women officers will undergo pilot training. And, after undergoing training for one year the women officers will be deployed for flying duties in frontline operational units. In 2022, there will be women pilots in the Army Aviation Corps.
According to the chief, “Military Secretary, Aviation Directorate and the Adjutant General’s branch, have all reached a consensus that the lady officers should be there for flying duties.”
There are no women officers in the flying branch, though they are deployed at the Air Traffic Control duties (ATC) for ground duties.
Significance of Chief’s announcement
It has been a long battle by the women, for the grant of permanent commission.
As has been reported year in November, the Indian Army out of 615 officers had found 422 women officers eligible for permanent commission. These women were screened by a Special Number 5 Selection Board. And those eligible women, many of whom have served for almost two decades and are holding the rank of majors and lieutenant colonels had not been given any promotions.
Why? Because the matter was sub-judice.
They are eligible for which branches now?
The women Army officers are eligible for permanent commission in several Corps including Engineers, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, Army Service Corps, Army Ordnance Corps, and Intelligence Corps. Also in Army Aviation, Army Air Defence. These are in addition to Judge and Advocate General and the Army Educational Corps. The women officers in these branches were given a permanent commission in 2008.
Women Pilots in Navy & IAF
There are 10 women fighter pilots in the IAF and the Indian Navy has women pilots who are flying the Dornier aircraft. They are also the flying onboard the Dornier and the American P8I surveillance aircraft as observers.