Flying Officer Avani Chatuvedi

Kudos Avani Chaturvedi- A Giant Step for Women in the Indian Defence Services!

In June 2016, we had written about three women who were selected by the Indian Air Force to be the first three women cadets to be cleared for flying fighter jets, and were to undergo training for the same. It gives us great pride to note that one of those three women, Flying Officer Avani Chatuvedi became the first woman fighter pilot to take solo flight in MiG-21. Hailing from Deolond in Madhya Pradesh, Ms Chaturvedi flew a 30-minute solo sortie at the Jamnagar airbase on Monday afternoon.

Flying Officer Avani Chatuvedi

The first solo flight is just the initial step in the exhaustive operational syllabus that transforms rookies into full-fledged fighter pilots capable of handling the intricacies of high-voltage combat flying. Ms Chaturvedi still has about a year of training left, before she can be deployed for combat missions.

On the release of this news, all of cyber space erupted and #AvaniChaturvedi has been trending across social media.

With Avani’s achievement, India has joined the exclusive club of countries that allow combat flying to women. The countries include Britain, the United States, Israel, and Pakistan. The Indian Air Force has already selected the next batch of three women trainee pilots for the fighter stream.

We are very proud of Avani’s achievement, and hope to see other women in combat positions, across the three defence services. We had recently written about the web series The Test Case, featuring a fictional story of the first woman to enter armed forces in a combat role. We are happy to see that fiction is on its way to reality, and hope to see many more such women achievers in the defence services.