Bhawana Kanth: 1st Woman IAF Pilot to qualify for Combat Missions

Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth scripted history by becoming first woman pilot of Indian Air Force (IAF) to qualify to undertake combat missions on a fighter jet.

About Bhawana Kanth

  • She is from the first batch of women fighter pilots of the IAF and joined the fighter squadron in November 2017.
  • For the first time she flew solo in a MiG-21 Bison, in March 2018 and became second woman pilot of the Indian Air Force to fly solo. The 25-year-old flew from Ambala Air Force Station to achieve the feat.
  • In order to be declared ‘Operational by Day’, a pilot has to complete their syllabus which announces them as fit to fly and undertake day operations.
  • She has now completed Operational by Day syllabus for carrying out combat missions on Mig-21 Bison aircraft during day time and thus became first qualified woman IAF fighter pilot to undertake missions by day on fighter aircraft. She will soon be allowed to carry out night operations once her training for night missions completes.


  • Within a year of government decision to open fighter stream for women on an experimental basis, three women namely Avani Chaturvedi, Mohana Singh and Kanth were commissioned as flying officers in July 2016.
  • The IAF has already selected next batch of its three women trainee pilots for fighter stream.




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