File photo of Flight Lieutenant Shivangi Singh (R) during her induction into the IAF in 2017. She and colleague Pratibha (L) form the second batch of women fighter pilots inducted into the force | IAF
File photo of Flight Lieutenant Shivangi Singh (R) during her induction into the IAF in 2017. She and colleague Pratibha (L) form the second batch of women fighter pilots inducted into the force | IAF
Text Size:

New Delhi: Flight Lieutenant Shivangi Singh will be the first woman pilot to fly Rafale, India’s most modern multi-role fighter aircraft, sources said.

It has been known for a while that the IAF is training a woman fighter pilot to fly the Rafale, which was inducted into the force at the Ambala base earlier this month, but her name has come to light only now.

Flt Lt Singh is posted at the same base as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who rose to national fame with his participation in the dogfight between the Indian and Pakistani air forces in February 2019, and his subsequent 60-hour captivity across the border. Wing Commander Varthaman was Singh’s flying instructor, sources said.

Flt Lt Singh, who was commissioned into the IAF in 2017 as part of the second batch of women fighter pilots, is currently flying a MiG-21 Bison, the oldest combat aircraft in the force’s inventory.

She has been undergoing conversion training — the course pilots undertake when they switch from flying one aircraft to another — since August.

Once the training is completed, she will join the Ambala-based 17 Squadron, home to the Rafale fighters.


Also Read: I trained IAF’s 1st batch of women pilots. ‘Gunjan Saxena’ gets a lot wrong


‘Fly like a free bird’

In 2017, The Hindu had reported that becoming a pilot was a childhood dream for Flt Lt Singh, who wanted to “fly like a free bird”.

She is inspired by Flying Officers Mohana Singh, Bhawana Kanth and Avani Chaturvedi, the first women fighter pilots of the IAF who were inducted in 2016.

Flt Lt Singh, a graduate of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU), was also a cadet of the 7 UP Air Squadron in the National Cadet Corps.

The IAF has inducted 10 women fighter pilots since 2016, with more in training.


Also Read: How a woman officer helped IAF hit back when Pakistani jets targeted India after Balakot


 

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism

2 Comments Share Your Views

2 COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here