84th Air Force Day: Meet the women defending India's airspace

Meet the first batch of women fighter pilots deployed in combat role in Indian Air Force

History was created on June 18, 2016, when three women were inducted in fighter squadron of the Indian Air Force.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar inducted cadets Mohana Singh, Avani Chaturvedi and Bhawna Kant in the fighter squadron of the Indian Air Force at the combined graduation ceremony at Air Force Academy, Dundigal.

On the 84th anniversary of the Indian Air Force meet the first batch of women fighter pilots deployed in combat role:

Cadet Mohana Singh, who hails from Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan, draws inspiration from her grandfather- who was a Flight Gunner in the Aviation Research Centre and her father- who is a Warrant Officer in the IAF.

Her hobbies include singing, sketching abstracts and reading.

Cadet Avani Chaturvedi, who hails from Satna, Madhya Pradesh, draws her inspiration from her brother who is in the Indian Army. She enjoys playing the violin, table tennis and painting in her free time.

Cadet Bhawna Kant, who hails from Darbhanga, Bihar, draws inspiration from her childhood dream. “I wanted to fly free like a bird, that is what inspired me,” she told the Times of India. She likes to play badminton, volleyball and adventure sports like trekking and rafting during her spare time.

The three fledgelings are currently undergoing through rigorous training on the Swiss Pilatus PC-7 Mk II turboprop trainer at the Air Force Academy in Dundigal, following which they will be divided into the fighter, transport and helicopter streams. The second stage of their training will be at Air Force Station Hakimpet on the indigenous HJT-16 Kiran Mk II jet. Subsequently, they will train on fighter aircraft for three to four years before being declared fully operational for combat flying in regular squadrons.