New Delhi: After the Indian Navy, now the Air Force is all set to induct a woman fighter pilot in its brand new ‘Golden Arrows’ squadron of the Rafale jets. According to reports, the women pilots are being trained to operate the new fighter jets. Also Read - Never Faced Gender Bias Throughout Career in Indian Air Force: Gunjan Saxena Tells Delhi High Court
She has been flying MiG-21 fighters and was selected for the Rafale fleet following an internal process, the sources told PTI. Also Read - Second Batch of Rafale Fighter Jets From France to Arrive in November
The Indian Air Force presently has 10 women fighter pilots and 18 women navigators, while the total strength of women officers serving in the IAF is 1,875. Also Read - IAF Helicopter Makes Precautionary Landing in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur: Report
The Golden Arrows squadron of the IAF was resurrected on September 10 last year. The squadron was originally raised at Air Force Station, Ambala on Oct 1 1951. The squadron has many firsts to its credit; in 1955 it was equipped with the first jet fighter, the legendary De Havilland Vampire.
So far, India has inducted ten Rafale jets, while five of them stayed back in France to impart training to IAF pilots. The delivery of all 36 aircraft is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2021. Another batch of four to five Rafale jets is likely to arrive in India by November.
The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 of the aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.
The Rafale jets are India’s first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 years after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia.