Indian Navy operationalises first Batch of Women Pilots

On October 22, 2020, the Indian Navy operationalised the first batch of women pilots on Dornier Aircraft at Kochi. This was done by the Southern Naval Command of Indian Navy.


The three women pilots are Lieutenant Divya Sharma, Lieutenant Shivangi and Lieutenant Shubhangi Swaroop. They underwent training partly with the Indian Air Force and partly with Indian Navy prior to the DOFT course.

DOFT course

It is Dornier Operational Flying Training. The lieutenants graduated as “fully operational maritime pilots”.

Dornier aircrafts

It is a multi-purpose, fuel efficient light weight aircraft. It was designed and manufactured in Germany till 1998. India bought 245 Dornier aircrafts till 1998. Later, Dornier aircrafts were manufactured in Kanpur, India by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

Recent Developments

In September 2020, for the first time in Indian history, women officers were selected to join as observers in the Helicopter stream of Indian Navy. They were awarded “wings” after graduating as “Observers” in INS Garuda, Kochi. They are now being operationalised.

Women in Indian Defence

There are more than 3,5000 women serving in Indian military. However, they were restricted from being deployed in combat role till 2015. In 2015, for the first time in Indian history, women were inducted into Air Force.

Current Scenario

Today Indian Air Force allows women in combat roles. However, in the Indian Army they are permitted only in support roles and trainer roles.


Indian women were inducted in Defence system for the first time in 1992. They were allowed in serve as Short Service Commission Officers. Initially they were allowed to serve for 6 years and later this was increased to 14 years.

Women were allowed to serve as nurses in the Indian Army 1888. This was the first time India allowed women into defence systems.




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