Two women army officers have for the first time been selected to train as helicopter pilots at the force’s premier Combat Army Aviation Training School at Nashik in Maharashtra, officials familiar with the development said on Tuesday.
The development comes months after army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane cleared a proposal for allowing women officers to opt for the army’s aviation wing. While women officers in the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy fly helicopters, the Army Aviation Corps only inducted male officers until now. Pilots have to go through a stringent selection process.
“Fifteen women officers volunteered to join army aviation. But only two were selected after the Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT) and medicals,” said one of the officials cited above, asking not to be named.
The two women are among the 47 army officers who began their training at the Nashik training school on Monday, said a second officer. They will join front-line flying duties on completion of their training in July 2022.
Until now, women officers were assigned only ground duties in the Army Aviation Corps.
Raised in November 1986, the Army Aviation Corps operates the Dhruv advanced light helicopter, Chetaks, Cheetahs and Cheetal helicopters. It carries out an important role in supporting the army’s deployment in high altitude areas, including the Siachen Glacier.
The headcount of women in the military has increased almost three-fold over the last six years, with more avenues being opened to them at a steady pace, government figures show.