In a historic first, two women officers to operate helicopters from Indian Navy warships 

KOCHIUpdated: Sep 21, 2020, 06:06 PM IST

Sub Lt. Riti Singh and Sub Lt. Kumudini Tyagi, the first women airborne tacticians who will operate from deck of warships, after they passed out of Indian Navy’s Observer Course, at Southern Naval Command, Kochi. Photograph:(PTI)

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The move will ultimately pave way for the deployment of women in frontline warships. Earlier, women's entry was restricted to fixed-wing aircraft that took off and landed ashore. 

In a first, two women officers have been selected to join as ''Observers'' (Airborne Tacticians) in the Indian Navy's helicopter stream that would ultimately pave the way for women being posted in frontline warships.

Sub Lieutenant (SLt) Kumudini Tyagi and SLt Riti Singh would, in effect, be the first set of women airborne tacticians in India who would operate from the deck of warships.

Earlier, entry of women was restricted to the fixed-wing aircrafts that took off and landed ashore.

The two are a part of a group of 17 officers of the Navy, including four women officers and three officers of the Indian Coast Guard, who were awarded ''Wings'' on graduating as ''Observers'' at a ceremony on Monday at the INS Garuda in Kochi, a Defence statement said. The group comprised 13 officers of Regular batch and four woman officers of Short Service Commission batch.

The ceremony was presided over by Rear Admiral Antony George, Chief Staff Officer (Training) who presented the awards and coveted wings to the graduating officers.

In addition, the chief guest also awarded the Instructor Badge to six other officers, (five from the Indian Navy including a woman and another from Indian Coast Guard) who had successfully graduated as Qualified Navigation Instructors (QNI).

The Rear Admiral Antony highlighted the fact that it was a landmark occasion wherein for the first time, women are going to be trained in helicopter operations which would ultimately pave way for the deployment of women in frontline warships of Indian Navy.

The officers of the 91st Regular course and 22nd SSC Observer course were trained in air navigation, flying procedures, tactics employed in air warfare, anti- submarine warfare and exploitation of airborne avionic systems.

These officers would serve on-board Maritime Reconnaissance and Anti-Submarine Warfare aircraft of the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard, the statement said.