India’s first woman pilot to fly a Rafale fighter jet, Shivangi Singh, was part of the Indian Air Force tableau at the Republic Day parade on 26th January, Wednesday.
The 73rd Republic Day on Wednesday, January 26, had 75 aircraft as part of the celebration and hence showcased the grandest-ever flypast. The occasion was extra special because India’s first woman Rafale fighter jet pilot Flight Lieutenant Shivangi Singh adorned the tableau of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Flight Lieutenant Shivangi Singh is a native of the Phulwariya area in Varanasi. She was a cadet of the 7 UP Air Squadron in the National Cadet Corps (NCC). Shivangi completed her education at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU). Shivangi joined the Air Force Academy in 2016. She was inducted into the air force in 2017. She was commissioned in the Air Force’s second batch of women fighter pilots.
According to Flight Lt Shivangi Singh, she always wanted to fly. Ever since a child, she had dreamed of flying and the reason she joined the air force is to become a fighter jet pilot. She used to fly the MiG-21 Bison aircraft before flying Rafale fighter jets. She was posted at a border base in Rajasthan where she flew alongside Group Captain Abhinandan Varthaman who is a national hero. Group Captain Abhinandan Varthaman is known for shooting down a Pakistani Air Force fighter jet on 27 February 2019, near the LoC. He was held captive by Pakistan and later returned.
In 2020, Shivangi Singh created history when she was selected as the first women Rafale fighter jet pilot. This was following a conversion training and stringent selection process. She is currently a part of the IAF’s Golden Arrows squadron based out of Ambala in Punjab. Shivangi is inspired by the trio of Flight Lieutenants Bhawana Kanth, Mohana Singh and Avani Chaturvedi – IAF’s first women fighter pilots, who were inducted in 2016. IAF has commissioned 10 women fighter pilots since 2016.
Shivangi is the second female fighter jet pilot to be part of the IAF tableau, after Bhawna Kanth, who became the first female fighter jet pilot to be part of the IAF tableau.
Written by Poorna Krishnan