New Delhi: In another great news for the country, Flight Lieutenant Shivangi Singh is going to become the first woman pilot in the Rafale squadron of the Indian Air Force (IAF). She is currently undergoing conversion training, a course pilots take to switch from flying one aircraft to the other, and will soon be inducted into the Ambala-based 17 Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’, according to reports. Also Read - Second Batch of Rafale Fighter Jets From France to Arrive in November
Hailing from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Shivangi Singh, who is one of IAF’s 10 women fighter pilots, joined the air force in 2017. She has been flying the MiG-21 Bison aircraft and was till recently serving at a fighter base in Rajasthan, sources said. Also Read - India Test-fires Its First Anti-Radiation Missile 'Rudram' | Here's All You Need to Know
Singh will transition from flying the highly demanding MiG-21 Bisons to the new-age multirole Rafale. Also Read - IAF Helicopter Makes Precautionary Landing in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur: Report
A graduate from Banaras Hindu University, where she was a part of the 7 UP Air Squadron in the National Cadet Corps (NCC), Singh was commissioned into the IAF in 2017 as part of the second batch of women fighter pilots.
She has served at a border base in Rajasthan where she has flown with one of the country’s well known pilots – Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, famous for shooting down a Pakistani Air Force fighter jet on February 27, 2019 near the LoC before getting shot himself and taken captive.
At present, the IAF has 10 women fighter pilots and 18 women navigators. Total strength of serving female officers in the Indian Air Force is 1,875. Flight Lieutenants Avni Chaturvedi, Mohana Singh and Bhawana Kanth were the first women to be commissioned as flying officers into the IAF fighter stream after basic training in June 2016.
India had got 36 Rafale jets from France in a deal worth Rs 59,000 crore in September 2016. The air force formally inducted the planes at the Ambala air base on September 10 though they landed at their home base on July 29.
The next batch of three to four Rafale jets is expected to reach Ambala from France in October followed by a third batch in December. All deliveries will be completed by the end of 2021.