Women in Combat
|IL 76 Transporter crew|
Recently IAF Chief said that Air force will soon allows the women pilots to perform combat air missions. The Defense ministry also agrees the Air force proposal to allow women pilots to carryout combat air missions. IAF has women pilots, since years they flying support planes like transporters and reconnaissance planes and perform missions within friendly air space.
The Navy also flying Dornier maritime surveillance aircraft with women pilots for combat role within Indian EEZ. Lt Sekhawat is the first women in India who died in line of duty. The Indian women's also served in the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia since 2007. The BSF too had women's who patrols Indo Bangladeshi Border.
However allowing the Women's to perform combat air mission sparks outrage. Since many believes due to the women's survival condition they were incapable to perform mission deep behind enemy lines both in ground duty and air missions. Countries like USA, Israel leads allowing women's to perform combat air missions. Even rival Pakistan and North Korea has women pilots. However there is no clear information about whether they are allowed to perform mission in war times. Israeli and American women pilots already performed combat air mission out side friendly air space.
As of now IAF has more than 1500 women officers, which include 94 pilots and 14 navigators, they flying transport, reconnaissance planes and helicopters. while they never allowed to perform combat roles. If war erupts the women's will give their wings to men to perform combat sorties even for the above missions too as per standard operating procedure.
On the occasion of 83rd Air force day Air chief Raha says IAF planning to induct women's into fighter jet stream and they will conduct offensive and defensive missions during combat mission. The Ministry also confirms IAF gets the first women fighter jet pilot by mid 2017.
While many concerns about women pilots, What will they do, if they captured by enemy forces behind the enemy lines. Since one has to spend weeks/months to return back to friendly zone if his/her wings has been shot down inside enemy territory. There are many stories of brave IAF pilots who escaped from Pakistan in the 1971 and 1965 war. The pilots spends weeks to evade from Pakistani ground troops to return back to India. Inspiring story's like Chinoy's escape from Pakistan is pretty impressive during the 1965 war. The same what many Indians think why we won't need women's as fighter pilots.
|The IAF women contingent|
However there is no privileges given to the women's when selecting them to fly a fighter jet. They need to pass each and every tests same like their male counterparts. Both of them trained in same manner of conducting operations and physical characteristics. There is no excuses or privileges given to the women's during the selection process.
Also women's are equal same like men. They get into it fully knowing the risks, there is no reason to say that they would break down before men. So they would be trained to how to handle such situations if they trapped deep behind the enemy lines. and only passed candidates gets the wing. interestingly some study shows women's are pretty impressive during the simulated aircraft trails. makes them more maneuver than the male counterparts during air combat.
|Indian Navy Dornier Crew Pilots observer all of them are women|
There is no women pilots shot downed or captured by enemy forces in the History of aviation. while there is some crashes reported. More than twenty nations has women fighter pilots and only six air crash reported. Interestingly there is no loses in Combat missions. USAF women pilots did many combat air sortie's in Iraq and Afghanistan, Israeli women pilots also performed combat missions in each and every war that Israel fought earlier. They performed better, and none of the jets shoot down or crashed in combat missions. USAF pilot Jeannie's Iraqi mission is an good example.
The women pilots are not only trained as a pilots they will be trained to survive extreme conditions. They will be trained to escape from enemy's territory, also trained how to escape if they were captured by enemy forces. It's a welcome move by the IAF to allow our women's to perform combat air missions in coming days.