Indian Navy gets 1st female helicopter pilot

The Indian Navy marked a significant milestone on June 7, 2024, welcoming its first-ever woman naval helicopter pilot, Sub-Lieutenant Anamika B. Rajeev. This achievement signifies a major step forward for the Navy’s commitment to gender inclusivity and expanding career opportunities for women in the force.

The momentous occasion took place during a passing-out parade held at INS Rajali Naval Air Station in Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu. Sub-Lieutenant Rajeev graduated alongside 20 other officers, all receiving their coveted “Golden Wings” from Vice Admiral Rajesh Pendharkar, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command.

Her accomplishment wasn’t the only one celebrated that day. Lieutenant Jamyang Tsewang also made history by becoming the first commissioned naval officer from Ladakh to qualify as a helicopter pilot.

It’s important to note that Sub-Lieutenant Rajeev’s pioneering role complements the existing trailblazing efforts of female pilots in the Indian Navy. The Navy has already deployed women pilots for its Dornier Do 228 maritime surveillance aircraft, demonstrating their capability and dedication to serving the nation.

This news comes amidst a broader trend of women making significant strides in Indian aviation. Currently, 19 female officers are soaring high as fighter jet pilots in the Indian Air Force, inspiring future generations. Additionally, over 145 women pilots already contribute significantly by flying support aircraft in the Indian armed forces, including helicopters and utility aircraft.

Sub-Lieutenant Rajeev’s success is the culmination of a rigorous 22-week training program undertaken at Indian Naval Air Squadron 561, known as the “Helicopter Training School.” This program incorporates intensive flying and ground training, preparing graduates for the demands of naval helicopter operations.

The Indian Navy is actively working towards creating a more gender-balanced force, and Sub-Lieutenant Rajeev’s achievement paves the way for more women to take on challenging roles within naval aviation. This is a significant development not just for the Navy but for the country as a whole, showcasing the expanding opportunities for women in the defense sector.


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