The Indian Navy last month went ahead and inducted Sub Lieutenant (SLt) Kumudini Tyagi and SLt Riti Singh to join the “Observers” (Airborne Tacticians) helicopter stream making them the first women airborne combatants for the Navy.
The deployment of women in the Navy is the first step in India's attempt to put in women in combat roles which has been a long-standing demand. Currently, the two officers who have been trained in various flying operations will first take part in reconnaissance in the high seas and in anti-submarine warfare activities.
Flight Lieutenant Shivangi Singh
The Indian Air Force has of course been inducting women officers in flying roles since 2016 when Bhawana Kanth, Mohana Singh and Flt Lt Avani Chaturvedi became the first woman officers to pass the combat role test.
However, the now the IAF has gone a step ahead and decided to induct Flight Lieutenant Shivangi Singh into the 17 "Golden Arrows" Squadron of the newly minted Rafale squadron at Ambala airbase.
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman connection
Ft Lt Shivangi had earlier flown the MiG-21 ‘Bison’ along with Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who was involved in a dogfight with Pakistani F-16s over the India-Pakistan border in February last year.
Shivangi Singh studied at the Banaras Hindu University and was commissioned as a fighter pilot three years ago. (Pic Courtesy: IAF)
IAF has ten women fighter pilots and 18 navigators.
Shivangi Singh has undergone conversion training which is undertaken by the Air Force whenever a pilot switches from one aircraft to another.
The IAF has ten women fighter pilots and 18 navigators.
According to reports, the next batch of Rafale jets will probably arrive in this month or in November.
Rafale fighters along LAC
Four super fighters are likely to be part of the second delivery from France, with the likelihood of them being stationed along the LAC at some point in the future.
The second batch, however, will fly into the Ambala Air Force Station, just like the first set of fighters in July.
The five jets were inducted into the Indian Air Force on September 10.
Rafale in Hashmira, West Bengal
India's air chief Bhadauria said the induction of Rafale jets could not have happened at a more "opportune time, considering the security scenario".
He said the Golden Arrows squadron has already flown the aircraft and undergone intense integrated training with other combat fleets, including firing advanced weapons.
"So this formal induction today also marks the operational induction of this aircraft into the IAF. We are good to go and deliver," he added. If and when India decides to buy the Hornets, it will ensure a tactical shift for the Indian Air Force with the Rafale and Hornets ready for any combat role or related activities.
Rafale has been cleared to operate weapons like the MICA air-to-air 'Beyond Visual Range' (BVR) interception, combat and self-defence missiles, the METEOR very long-range air-to-air missile, the HAMMER -- Highly Agile and Manoeuvrable Munition Extended Range -- modular, rocket-boosted air-to-ground precision-guided weapon series, laser-guided bombs with different warheads, and "specifics armaments" selected by some clients.
The Rafale is also fitted with 14 hardpoints, out of which five are capable of drop tanks and heavy ordnance.
The jet's total external load capacity is more than nine tonnes.
With a service ceiling of 50,000 feet, India's Rafle can reach maximum speeds of 750 knots.
It can carry out both air-to-ground strikes, as well as air-to-air attacks and interceptions during the same sortie.
The jet is capable of performing several actions at the same time, such as firing air-to-air missiles during a very low altitude penetration phase, giving it outstanding survivability.
The mission system of the Rafale has the potential to integrate a variety of current and future armaments.