Two women army officers have for the first time been selected to train as helicopter pilots at the force’s premier Combat Army Aviation Training School at Nashik in Maharashtra
- This development comes months after the army chief General cleared a proposal for allowing women officers to opt for the army’s aviation wing.
- While women officers in the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy fly helicopters, the Army Aviation Corps only inducted male officers until now
- Of the 15 women officers volunteered to join army aviation. But only two were selected after the Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT) and medicals
- They would join front-line flying duties on completion of their training at Nashik training school in July 2022.
About Army Aviation Corps
- It was started in 1986
- It operates the Dhruv advanced light helicopter, Chetaks, Cheetahs and Cheetal helicopters.
- It carries out an important role in supporting the army’s deployment in high altitude areas, including the Siachen Glacier.
Number of women officers
- There are 9,118 women currently serving the army, navy and air force, with the services giving them more opportunities for career progression
- One of the turning points for women in the military came in 2015 when IAF decided to induct them into the fighter stream.
- Earlier this year, the Indian Navy deployed four women officers on warships after a hiatus of almost 25 years.
- India’s only aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and fleet tanker INS Shakti are the warships that have been assigned their first women crews since the late 1990s.
- In May 2021, the army inducted the first batch of women into the Corps of Military Police, the first time that women joined the military in the non-officer cadre.
- Women have been serving as officers in select branches of the three services since the early 1990s.
- Excluding the medical wing in which women have been serving for decades, the army as of February 2021 accounted for 6,807 women officers, the IAF (1,607) and the navy, 704. In percentage terms, women still form a small part of the military — 0.56% of the army, 1.08% of the air force and 6.5% of the navy.