Meet Shivangi Singh, The First Rafale Woman Fighter Pilot

by | September 24, 2020, 14:36 IST

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Rafale Pilot

Image: TOI

Soaring high on the success of her dreams, Flight Lieutenant Shivangi Singh has created history by becoming the first female pilot to join Rafale's 'Golden Arrows' Squadron.  Her leap from the country’s oldest fighter jets to the newest is legendary in itself.

Flight Lt Singh has been flying MiG-21 fighters, MiG 21 ‘Bison’, which are considered to be the oldest flying jets in Indian defence. Now she has been appointed to join the Ambala-based squadron to fly the newest addition to Indian defence fleet, the Rafale jets.

Upon finishing her conversion training, from ‘Bison’ to Rafale, Singh would formally join the 17 Arrows Squadron at the Ambala base of Indian Air Force (IAF). The conversion training is necessary when a combat pilot switches from one fighter jet to another. However, after flying MiG 21 jets, which have the highest landing and take-off speed in the worlds, Singh’s switch should come off as easy.

She will leave her deployment at Rajasthan base and move to Ambala base to fly alongside Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who shot down a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighter last year near the LoC on February 27 and was held captive for 60 hours.

Rafale Pilot

Image: Indian Air Force


Hailing from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, the flight lieutenant was part of the second batch of female fighter pilots, who were commissioned in 2017. With a dream of flying since childhood, Singh joined Banaras Hindu University’s 7 UP Air Squadron as an NCC cadet while graduating in BSc from Sunbeam in Bhagwanpur. In 2016, she joined the Air Force Academy for training as a pilot. She also represented the Uttar Pradesh team in the Republic Day Parade in Delhi in 2013.

Presently, there are 10 woman fighter pilots since their commissioning in IAF began in 2017. In 2018, flying officer Avani Chaturvedi scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman to fly a fighter aircraft solo. She was the first woman combat pilot along with two of her cohorts, Mohana Singh Jitarwal, and Bhawana Kanth, who were commissioned as flying officers into the IAF fighter stream in 2018.

Rafale Pilot

Image: economictimes.indiatimes.com


Breaking the glass ceiling of long-standing combat-exclusion policy for women in Indian armed forces, these female fighter pilots are redefining the way we look at women’s roles in the Army and other important streams. While every first is a significant step, let’s just speed fast this process, shall we?

Also Read: Lt Gen Madhuri Kanitkar, The 3rd Female Lieutenant General In Indian History, Debunks Myths About Gender Stereotypes

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