Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth, one of the first woman combat pilots of India, has added another feather to her cap. On Wednesday, the IAF officer completed day operational syllabus on a MiG-21 Bison aircraft.
Flt Lt Bhawana has become the first women fighter pilot to be qualified to undertake missions by day on a fighter aircraft.
Bhawana joined the fighter squadron in November 2017 and flew the first solo on MiG-21 Bison in March 2018. “With her dedication, hard work & perseverance she has become the 1st women Officer to achieve this feat. She is from the first batch of women fighter pilots of the IAF,” the Indian Air Force said in a tweet.
#WomenPower: Flt Lt Bhawana Kanth adds another feather to her cap by completing Day Operational syllabus on MiG-21 Bison aircraft. She is the first women fighter pilot to be qualified to undertake missions by day on a fighter aircraft. pic.twitter.com/J5SWN8A4oD
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) May 22, 2019
Bhawana Kanth, who is from Bihar, along with Avani Chaturvedi of Madhya Pradesh and Mohana Singh of Rajasthan, created history in 2016 when they became India’s first women fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force (IAF). They were commissioned in the first batch of women combat pilots in June 2016.
In March 2018, Bhawana Kanth became the second woman pilot to fly a fighter aircraft solo, after Avani Chaturvedi achieved the feat. Bhawana flew in a MiG 21 Bison aircraft at AFS Ambala for a 30-minute sortie on 16 March, 20 18.
In October 2015, the government opened the fighter stream for women on an experimental basis for five years. Women pilots were first included in the IAF 1991, for flying helicopters and transport aircraft.
Combat roles in the Army and the Navy are still off limits for women due to operational and logistical constraints.