Women officers to join helicopter stream of Indian Navy for first-ever time

In a historic first, two women officers have been selected to join as “Observers” (Airborne Tacticians) in the helicopter stream of the Indian Navy. 

The women officers will be the first set of women airborne combatants who would be operating from warships. This is a landmark development in the history of Indian naval aviation.

The entry of women in the Indian Navy was restricted to the fixed-wing aircraft that took off and landed ashore.

Who are the two women officers?

The two women officers who will create history in the Indian Navy include-Sub Lieutenant (SLt) Kumudini Tyagi and SLt Riti Singh.

In the Indian Navy on most of our aircraft, there's an observer with the pilot. All weapon & tactical control, the sensors on the aircraft will be under my control when I take my position. Deciding, designating enemies & pointing out targets will be my job: Sub Lt Riti Singh https://t.co/5aSyeL4ng4 pic.twitter.com/DpjOO1BdjW

— ANI (@ANI) September 22, 2020

Key Highlights

The two officers are a part of a group of 17 officers of the Indian Navy, including four women officers and three officers of the Indian Coast Guard who were awarded “Wings” on graduating as “Observers” at a ceremony held on September 21, 2020 at INS Garuda, Kochi. Overall the group includes 13 officers of Regular batch and 4 woman officers of Short Service Commission batch.

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

The Chief Guest also awarded the ‘Instructor Badge’ to six other officers, including five from the Indian Navy including a woman officer and another from the Indian Coast Guard who had successfully graduated as Qualified Navigation Instructors (QNI) on the occasion.

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

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

Significance

While speaking on the occasion, Rear Admiral Antony George highlighted that it is a landmark occasion where 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 the Indian Navy.

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