Fighter women officer in IAF only for five years: Govt

New Delhi :The government said the approval for induction of women into the fighter stream of Indian Air force is on an “experimental basis” for a period of five years.

In a written reply to Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh said all women pilots in IAF are cleared for all operational roles including low level tactical flying, para drop, air maintenance (northern & eastern sector) and special heli-borne operation (SHBO).

Women pilots undergo jungle and snow survival course, he added.

“Government has accorded the approval to entry of women into the fighter stream of IAF on experimental basis for a period of five years,” he said.

The minister said that it is envisaged that the women trainees undergoing Stage-I training at Air Force Academy would be assessed for their suitability.

Based on the suitability and willingness, these women trainees would be selected for Stage-II training in the fighter stream.

Upon successful completion of Stage-II training, these women trainees are likely to be commissioned into the fighter stream in June, 2016, he said.

The induction of women as fighter pilots in Indian Air Force was cleared on October 24 by the government in a landmark move for the armed forces which had so far dithered over combat role for women.

Meanwhile, in another reply, Singh said that the Army has 1,466 women officers in its ranks followed by 418 in the Navy and 1,428 in the Air Force.

Replying to a different question, he said 460 women have been inducted into the Army since 2012, 171 in the Navy and 497 in the Air Force.