New Delhi, October 5: Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa today emphatically announced that his the force is ready to take on both China and Pakistan in case of a two-pronged conflict in the region Air chief Dhanoa said the IAF has a Plan B for such a scenario.

“We need 42 squadrons to carry out a full spectrum of operations in case of a two-front war. By 2032, we will meet this requirement. For now, we have a Plan B, and that is to work in synergy with two sister armed forces, Air Chief Dhanoa said.

The Air chief’s statement comes a day after reports said that country’s first female combat aircraft pilots are likely to fly supersonic fighter jets after they finish their training later this month. Considering the Air Chief’s statement, the three women pilots could well be seen in action.

Here’s a brief profile of the three women flight cadets:

Flight Cadet Bhawana Kanth

She belongs to Darbhanga in Bihar. Bhawna was born and brought up in Refinery Township, Begusarai. Her father is an engineer in IOCL and my mother is a home maker. She did her schooling from Barauni Refinery DAV Public School and completed my B.E. (Medical Electronics) from BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore.

Reasons for joining the IAF

Bhawna said it was her dream to fly like a free bird since childhood. It inspired her to join the Indian Air Force. After clearing her Stage I training, she got golden opportunity to opt for fighter stream. Bhawna said, “the best and the biggest thing that has happened to me and the best part is, it is just the beginning. It is my aim to become a good fighter pilot and fight for the nation and make my parents proud.”

Training Experience: First Solo Spin

Before opting for fighter stream lots of people used to tell us that, challenges will keep on increasing and so will the gradient, but it used to sound clichéd.

During our syllabus we were about to be introduced to spin in Kiran trainer, which I thought would be a piece of cake, as we had already done spin solos in the previous stage on Pilatus.

But the day we were introduced to spin in Kiran, we realised it was not the same. But time and again we were briefed that, if we take prompt and correct recovery actions, each and every time the aircraft will recover from spin. So the recovery actions became a part of my muscle memory.

Having cleared my spin solo check in Kiran now it was time for me to enter the aircraft into spin and recover it all by myself. At 20,000 feet the doubt started creeping in that what if the aircraft doesn’t recover.

Then I told myself that if I don’t do it now, I will always be afraid of it. I spun the aircraft and to my surprise, the spin was more vicious or so it seemed.

But the fighter pilot in me took over and I told myself come what may I will recover. And all the recovery actions grilled in us during the training came out correctly and promptly and the aircraft recovered from spin and so did my confidence.

Flight Cadet Avani Chaturvedi

She was born in  Satna (Madhya Pradesh). Her father is an executive engineer in MP government and her mother is a home maker.

She did her schooling from Adarsh Higher Secondary School, Deolond which is near Rewa. Avani completed her BTech (Computer Science) from Banasthali University, Jaipur. She likes to play violin. She is a table tennis.

Reasons for joining the IAF

She was inspired by Army officers in her family and she had few hours of flying experience in the flying club of her college, which inspired her to join the IAF.

She said, “I got selected for flying stream and subsequently for fighter flying. I got the golden opportunity to fly two different aircrafts, one very modern and advanced, and one stalwart trainer, with best of the instructors. My dream is to become a good fighter pilot, on whom my seniors can rely on when it comes to fly for live operations. I want to fly the best fighter aircraft and learn more and more each day.”

Training Experience

I was proceeding for my second solo sortie for the day. The time spent on ground was more due to a number of solos ahead of me in the taxi sequence; same was being exaggerated by the sun beating down heavily on us.

Finally I reached the Take Off point and took permission for T/O. As I started rolling for T/O, nearing the first marker I heard the Canopy Warning Audio coming on. At first I got confused seeing the emerging situation.

However, the training which I had undergone helped me reach the decision almost immediately. I aborted the T/O and took all the actions to stop the aircraft safely on the runway. While I was having lunch that afternoon, I reflected back on the incident.

That day I realised how the decision of a split second can get the situation under control or out of control. Had I delayed my actions that day of aborting T/O or got airborne with the canopy open, the results could have been catastrophic.

Flight Cadet Mohana Singh

She is from Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. Her father is currently serving in IAF and mother is a teacher by profession.

She did her schooling from Air Force School, New Delhi followed by BTech (Electronics & Comm) from GIMET, Amritsar, affiliated to PTU, Jalandhar.

She said, “I wanted to carry on the family legacy of serving the nation by being in defence. As a Flight Gunner in Aviation Research Centre my grandfather used to go to different places on various missions. I wanted to live the same life. Flying was the best opportunity.”

She added, “I aspire to make my parents proud of me by becoming a fighter pilot and fly the best of the fighter in the IAF. I dream of being part of the future combat missions and fight for the nation when duty calls for guarding the nation’s skies.”

Training Experience

The night flying phase flying was new to me and it was the best thing that ever happened after coming to Kiran. I remember the small puffs of beautiful crackers bursting 1000 feet below me on my first take off in night flying phase, the ones I used to gaze from below and was amazed at when I was a child.

I was on my first Sector Solo Sortie by night on Kiran. While operating in sector, I witnessed some lightning close to me which frightened me for a moment.

I immediately initiated rejoin and during descent I encountered clouds. I faced difficulty in discerning between the stars in the dark sky above and the small clusters of light on the dark ground beneath.

Soon I realised that I was not able to maintain any connection between instruments and the visual indications of aircraft attitude. I recalled what my Instructor had taught me — “No unnecessary head movements, switch over to instruments, trust your instruments”.

These words echoed in my head, I disregarded the visual indications and continued descent to a lower altitude relying totally on instruments. Once visual with the ground, I got oriented and recovered the aircraft safely.