Friday 03 December 2021, 06:04 AM
IAF led in giving women officers permanent commissions: Air Chief
By IANS | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 10/4/2019 1:57:24 PM
IAF led in giving women officers permanent commissions: Air Chief
Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria

New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) has taken the lead in granting permanent commission to women officers after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced last year that women would be given such an option in the armed forces, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria said here on Friday.

Bhadauria, while addressing his first press conference since taking over as the Air chief on September 30, referred to Wing Commanders S. Dhami and Anjali Singh, who recently became the first women officers to get permanent commission in the IAF.

The three armed services of India have traditionally been dominated by male officers while representation of women has always been low.According to the data available with the government, only 3.8 per cent of the Army personnel are women. The IAF has the highest representation of women in the workforce at 13.09 per cent, while in the Indian Navy, the percentage of women personnel is 6 per cent.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said during his Independence Day speech in 2018 that women officers will be given the option of taking up permanent commission in the services. We formulated policies for women officers thereafter," he said.The IAF opened all its branches, including the fighter pilot segment, for women officers after that.

The Indian Army has formulated a policy to grant permanent commission to women in signals, army aviation, army air defence, electronics and mechanical engineering, army service corps, army ordinance corps and intelligence.But no woman officer has been given permanent commission in these branches yet.

At present, the Indian Army allows permanent commission to women only in the branches of Judge Advocate General and Army Education Corps.In the Indian Navy, branches including those of naval constructors, education, law, logistics and armament inspectors are open for women opting for permanent commissions. No woman has been granted a permanent commission in the Navy yet either.

Referring to Wing Commanders S. Dhami and Anjali Singh without taking their names, Bhadauria said, "One woman officer has taken over as Flying Commander of a helicopter squadron. Another woman officer has been appointed in a diplomatic assignment in Moscow."

Wing Commander Dhami became the first female officer in the country to become the Flight Commander of a flying unit in August when she took charge of a Chetak helicopter unit.In September, Wing Commander Anjali Singh was appointed as the Deputy Air Attache at the Indian embassy in Moscow.

Probe pending into Bengaluru Mirage 2000 crash: Air Chief

New Delhi: The inquiry into the Mirage 2000 crash in Bengaluru in February that claimed lives of two pilots is still pending, IAF chief R.K.S. Bhadauria said here on Friday. He also admitted that the onus of the Budgam chopper crash was on the air force.

Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria was responding to queries during the annual press conference of the IAF held here ahead of the Air Force Day on October 8.On the Mirage crash, he said: "We need details from the original manufacturer which are still pending with it. The failure of the aircraft took place due to uncommanded action. The inquiry is not complete but it is our priority.".

Two IAF officers, Squadron Leaders Siddhartha Negi and Samir Abrol, who were test pilots on the Mirage 2000 were killed when it crashed at the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) airport in Bengaluru in February 2019. A Court of Inquiry (CoI) had been set up by the IAF following the crash.

The IAF had said in a statement, soon after the crash, that the Mirage 2000 trainer aircraft was on an acceptance sortie after its upgrade by HAL."A joint chairman has been appointed in a panel comprising officials of the HAL and the IAF to inquire into the incident," added Bhadauria.

On the other hand, Bhadauria accepted the air force's responsibility for the Mi17 V5 chopper that was shot down at Budgam near Srinagar on February 27, a day after the Balakot air strikes which had led to the death of six IAF personnel and a civilian.

"The Court of Inquiry was completed last week. It was our mistake. It has been established that our missile shot down the Mi 17 chopper. Administrative action has been taken against two officials. Disciplinary action will be taken. Necessary steps are being taken so such incidents like these are not repeated," he said.

The CoI into the Budgam incident has found that the chopper was brought down by friendly fire emanating from the Spyder air defence missile system which was located at the Srinagar airbase.

IAF boss accepts shooting down own chopper was 'big mistake'

New Delhi: In an admission that may embarrass the union government, the new IAF chief Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria accepted on Friday morning that shooting down the Indian chopper in Jammu and Kashmir earlier this year was a "big mistake".

An Mi17 V5 chopper was shot down at Budgam near Srinagar on February 27. It was just a day after the Indian Air Force fighters went deep inside Pakistani territory and bombed a terror camp at Balakot following the terror attack on CRPF convoy killing 40 troopers.

The chopper downing led to the death of six IAF personnel and a civilian."It was a big mistake on our part. We accept it," the new Air Chief said. The IAF Boss added that a Court of inquiry was initiated and was completed last week.

Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria added,"Our missile hit (the helicopter). This has been established. Administrative action and disciplinary action is being taken. Necessary steps are being taken so such incidents don't repeat."A court of inquiry found the chopper was brought down by friendly fire emanating from the Spyder air defence missile system which was located at the Srinagar airbase.

The inquiry also found that the officers who handled the air defence system mistook the helicopter for an incoming missile. The helicopter crashed just 10 minutes after it took off. The chopper broke in two parts and caught fire.The incident took place in the aftermath of heightened tension followed by heavy shelling between India and Pakistan following the Balakot strike. The Balakot attack was India's response to the Pulwama attack on February 14.

First Rafale jets to be seen in Indian skies in May 2020

New Delhi: The chief of Indian Air Force (IAF) Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on Friday said the first Rafale fighter jets will be seen in Indian skies only by the end of May 2020.Bhaduaria was addressing a press conference here ahead of the IAF Day that will be observed on October 8. Responding to a query by IANS, Bhadauria said that India will receive the first four of the 36 Rafale fighter jets by May 2020.

"By May 2020, we will be receiving four Rafale fighter jets. It will be only then that we will see the aircraft in the Indian skies. The advantage of getting the Rafale in May next year will be that our pilots will be substantially trained by then," said Bhadauria. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will be receiving the first Rafale fighter aircraft in France on October 8 when he is also scheduled to fly a sortie on a two-seater trainer version.

"A pre-delivery inspection team was in France last month to complete the handover formalities. That was when the documentation took place and the aircraft was 'technically accepted' by the IAF. It will be formally handed over to the defence minister next week," added Bhadauria. He also said that there are no separate plans to acquire another 36 Rafale jets in a separate bid. India is planning to acquire 114 fighter jets to make up for its depleting strength of fighter aircraft.

"There are no plans to acquire 36 more Rafale jets separately. The RFI for 114 aircraft has already been received. We have started the process for AON," he said. The initials of the air chief RB-01 have been imprinted on the tail fin of the first Rafale jet that India is set to receive in honour of the key role that he played in the negotiations on behalf of India.

The IAF will be phasing out its ageing fleet of MiG 21s later this year. "The non-Bison versions of the MiG 21 aircraft will be phased out between December and March. The Bison fleet will be phased put as per their technical life," he said.


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