Amid the growing strength of women officers in the Indian Air Force, the force is now planning to induct female pilots into the Light Combat Helicopter fleet.
“The fleet will have women officers flying the Light Combat Helicopters,” IAF officials said when asked if some pilots would be flying the choppers named Prachand by Defence Minister. The aircraft was inducted into the service recently on October 3, and 10 choppers would be inducted in the near future.
The women officers are already flying the ALH Dhruv and other helicopters in the fleet. They would be flying the LCH fleet also and women officers are in the process of being identified for this, they said.
IAF chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari is in favour of opening all avenues for female officers and the IAF is the first force to induct women in combat roles, they said. The IAF is also going to induct women officers in the Agniveer recruitment scheme who would be joining men as the personnel below officer rank for the first time.
This is the first time that the Air Force has announced women candidates joining the force at the personnel below officer Ranks level. The Navy and Army had made announcements of inducting women.
While announcing the scheme for inducting females as soldiers, Chaudhari said, “We as an organisation are gender agnostic and recognise merit and performance above everything else. A high ratio of women officers in the IAF is testimony to our commitment to providing equal opportunity and a level playing field for every individual irrespective of gender.”