As per the plan, the first women pilots would be selected from the batch which is presently undergoing flying training at Air Force Academy. After successful completion of ab-initio training, they would be commissioned in the fighter stream in June 2016.
    
Thereafter, they would undergo advanced training for one year and would enter a fighter cockpit by June 2017, the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
    
"This progressive step is in keeping with the aspirations of Indian women and is in line with contemporary trends in armed forces of developed nations," it said.
    
The air force currently has about 1,500 women on its rolls of which 94 are pilots (helicopter and transport aircraft) and 14 navigators.
    
The move is in sync with global trends and will help IAF overcome shortage of officers in the fighter aircraft stream.
    
Earlier this month, on 83rd Air Force Day, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha had announced that women would soon be inducted as fighter pilots, making IAF the first of the three services to have women in active front-line combat roles.
    
The Ministry said that the performance of women, inducted into transport and helicopter streams of the IAF, has been 'praiseworthy' and at par with their male colleagues.
    
"Inducting women into the fighter stream would provide them with an equal opportunity to prove their mettle in combat roles as well," the ministry said.
    
With this decision to open up induction of women in the fighter stream, women have become eligible for induction in all branches and streams of the IAF.
    
The IAF is presently inducting women in the Transport and Helicopter stream of the flying branch, Navigation, Aeronautical Engineering, Administration, Logistics, Accounts, Education and Meteorology branches.

 

 

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