Two women officers have been selected to undergo helicopter pilot training for the first time in the history of the Army Aviation Corps. The two female Army officers would receive their training at the Combat Army Aviation Training School in Nashik. Women officers were previously assigned only to ground duties in the Army Aviation Corps.
According to the Army, 15 female officers volunteered to join army aviation, but only two were chosen after a rigorous selection process that included the Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT) and medicals. “Selected women on successful completion of training at Nashik will join flying duties by July 2022,” the statement said.
Fifteen female officers volunteered to join the army's aviation unit. However, only two were chosen following the Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT) and medicals.
Earlier this month, Army Chief Gen. Manoj Naravane announced that a proposal to induct women as helicopter pilots had been approved. In May, the Army inducted the first batch of 83 female soldiers into the Corps of Military Police, marking the first time that women were inducted into a non-officer cadre.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) currently has 10 female fighter pilots, and female pilots have long flown transport aircraft and helicopters. Meanwhile, women officers fly Dornier aircraft and serve as observers on P-8I maritime patrol aircraft and helicopters in the Indian Navy.
According to government data, the number of women in the military has nearly tripled in the last six years, with more opportunities being made available to them on a consistent basis.
The government told Parliament in February 2021 that there are currently 9,118 women serving in the army, navy, and air force, with the services providing them with more opportunities for career advancement.
“It’s wonderful to see the armed forces open new avenues for women. It will encourage more women to join the military,” said Rajeshwari Kori, deputy controller of Civil Defence (Maharashtra) and a former lieutenant commander who was part of a short-lived Indian Navy experiment to deploy women on warships in 1997.
One watershed moment for women in the military occurred in 2015 when the IAF decided to induct them into the fighter stream. After a nearly 25-year hiatus, the Indian Navy deployed four female officers on warships earlier this year. Since the late 1990s, India's only aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, and fleet tanker, INS Shakti, have been assigned their first female crews.