From 2022 Indian Army will recruit women as pilots in the combat flying role, for the first time in India’s history, was announced by Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane during the annual press conference in New Delhi. Presently, in the Army Aviation Corps women can only participate in ground duties, such as Air Traffic Control, but as Army Chief’s proposal stated they will be able to fly helicopters and be part of operations by the border locations as well. Starting from July women will be actively involved in special preparatory training, and after a year can already join operational functions.
Army Aviation Corps was formed by the Indian Army and operates since 1986, which implies using helicopters in conflict and peace zones. This unit of the Indian Army usually evacuates injured troops from battlefields or operates in health emergencies. Duties of AAC choppers includes observation, essential load drops, combat search, and rescue as well. Army Aviation Corps are highly important in Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief operations.
Since 2019 women can serve as pilots in the Indian Navy, and in 2016 first woman fighter pilot was admitted to the Indian Air Force. In total 10 females are represented in Air Force as fighter pilots, and 111 females, pilots of choppers and transport aircraft.
This move plays a very significant role for the Indian women, since more than half of female officers who are eligible for permanent commission could not get any future professional promotions, even though many of them had served for almost two decades.