Varanasi’s Shivangi Singh to be the first women to fly Rafale
Shivangi Singh, who hails from Varanasi, is presently being trained to fly IAF’s newest fighter established in Ambala. She is undergoing conversion training to fly the Rafale jet and will join the Ambala-based No. 17 squadron, also known as “Golden Arrows.”
In another great news for the country Flight Lieutenant Shivangi Singh is all set to become India’s first woman fighter pilot to fly the Rafale aircraft that was formally introduced into the Indian Air Force on September 10, officials familiar with the matter stated on 23 September (Wednesday).
Hailing from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Shivangi Singh, who has served as IAF’s 10 women fighter pilots, enrolled in the air force in 2017 as part of the second batch of women fighter pilots. She has been operating the MiG-21 Bison aircraft and was till previously serving at a fighter base in Rajasthan, where she has flown along with Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was taken captive for a few days last year after his MiG-21 was shot down during an aerial assault with Pakistani fighters after the Balakot airstrikes.
Singh a Banaras Hindu University (BHU) graduate will enrol in the 17 ‘Golden Arrows’ Squadron of the 4.5-generation Rafales at the Ambala airbase after she finishes off her “conversion training”, which is a compulsion when a warfare pilot shifts from one fighter to another.
At present, the IAF comprises 10 women fighter pilots and 18 women navigators and the cumulative 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 delegated as flying officers into the IAF fighter stream after fundamental training in June 2016.
India had obtained 36 Rafale jets from France in a deal worth Rs 59,000 crore in September 2016. The air force formally introduced the planes at the Ambala airbase on September 10 though they reached at their home base on July 29.
The second batch of three to four Rafale jets is anticipated to arrive in Ambala from France in October followed by a third batch in December. All deliveries will be finalized by the end of 2021.