In a first, Indian Navy’s all-women aircrew conducts surveillance mission over Arabian Sea

Edited By: C Krishnasai
New Delhi Updated: Aug 05, 2022, 05:29 PM(IST)

(Credit: Indian Navy) Indian navy’s all-women crew creates history Photograph:( Agencies )

Story highlights

The Dornier 228 is a multi-purpose light transport aircraft developed by the India state unit Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

For the first time in India’s history, five women officers of the Indian Navy’s INAS 314 completed a maritime reconnaissance and surveillance mission onboard a Dornier 228 aircraft in the North Arabian Sea. These officers are based at the Naval Air Enclave in western Gujarat’s Porbandar city.

The aircraft was captained by the Mission Commander, Lieutenant Commander Aanchal Sharma, who had pilots — Lt Shivangi and Lt Apurva Gite — and tactical and sensor officers Lt Pooja Panda and Sub Lt Pooja Shekhawat in her team, according to the statement by the Indian Navy.

INAS 314 is a frontline Naval Air Squadron and operates the state-of-the-art Dornier 228 maritime reconnaissance aircraft.

In the run-up to the historical sortie, the women officers received months of ground training and comprehensive mission briefings.

Considering that this is a first-of-its-kind military flying mission, the Navy expects the achievement to pave the way for women officers in the aviation cadre to assume greater responsibility and aspire for more challenging roles.

“The Indian Navy has been a front-runner in driving transformation in the Armed Forces. Its impressive and pioneering women empowerment initiatives include induction of women pilots, selection of women Air Operations Officers into the helicopter stream and conducting an all-women sailing circumnavigation expedition across the globe in 2018,” it said in the press note.

“It perhaps marks a unique achievement for the Armed Forces that a crew of only women officers undertook an independent operational mission in a multi-crew maritime surveillance aircraft,” it added.

The 19-seater Dornier 228 was developed by the India state unit Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). It is a highly versatile multi-purpose light transport aircraft.

It has been developed specifically to meet the manifold requirements of utility and commuter transport, third-level services and air-taxi operations, coast guard duties and maritime surveillance.

The Dornier 228 is based on German design and production of the 1980s-90s.  In 1983, HAL bought a production licence and manufactured at least 125 aircraft. In July 2017, 63 aircraft were still in airline service.

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