Not so long ago, the television screens of every house were flashing the story of Gunjan Saxena, the first-ever Indian woman fighter pilot. Now that the buzzing has come to an end, it is time to bring Shivangi Singh whose dreams are as high as the flying heights of the most advanced multi-role aircraft, Rafale, to the limelight. She is all set to become the first female fighter pilot to fly Rafale, the country’s newest aircraft.
Shivangi comes from the city of Varanasi and has completed her graduation from the Banaras Hindu University. She joined the Indian Air Force as part of the second class of female fighter pilots in 2017. Shivangi Singh is presently piloting a MiG-21 Bison, the force’s oldest combat aircraft. She is one of ten female fighter pilots in the IAF. Shivangi Singh was stationed at a fighter camp in Rajasthan till recently.
On the day of 20th September, the Indian Air Force set forth the news of training a woman fighter pilot to fly Rafale but the name of the fighter pilot was unknown till now. As soon as Shivangi and her family heard the news, their hearts were filled with exhilaration and decided to celebrate this remarkable news at their residence place.
Now, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman and Flight Lieutenant Shivangi are both stationed at the same base. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is known for his bravery in an air attack between India and Pakistan in which he got severely bruised and was held as a hostage for 60 hours until he was released. With god’s grace, he came back to the country safe and sound, and now, he is positioned to be Shivangi’s flying instructor.
Since August, the IAF has been providing Shivangi with conversion training, which has been the course pilots undergo while switching from one aircraft to another. She will join the Ambala-based 17 Squadron, commonly known as the “Golden Arrows,” which is home to the Rafale pilots, once she has completed her training.
A great number of women serve in the military presently but unfortunately, they hadn’t been given the opportunity to serve themselves in combat roles until the IAF took the initiative of overcoming internal opposition to inducting women into the fighter stream.
The story of Shivangi Singh to become the first women fighter pilot to fly Rafale is a perfect example for every girl aiming to be a part of the defence services to not let anything become a hindrance to achieve their dreams. It is an example of setting your goals as high as you want and not letting someone else tell you how to take your career forward. It is your responsibility to set your career goals and sticking to them until they are achieved.