IAF officials said Kanth has completed operational syllabus for carrying out combat missions on MiG-21 Bison aircraft during day time. The first three women fighter pilots are Mohana Singh, Avani Chaturvedi and Bhawana Kanth

NEW DELHI: If India goes to war tomorrow, it has a woman fighter pilot to take on the enemy. Indian Air Force officer Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth has become the first day-time Indian woman fighter pilot, officials said.

Officials explained that Kanth became the first Indian woman fighter pilot to be qualified to undertake missions by day on a fighter aircraft. This comes after she completed her day operational syllabus as a fighter pilot on the MiG-21 Bison aircraft. This means that her training for day operations is complete. She has been posted to a frontline airbase at Nal in Rajasthan, where she will operate the aircraft with her squadron.

“Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth adds another feather to her cap by completing day operational syllabus on MiG-21 Bison aircraft...With her dedication, hard work and perseverance she has become the first woman officer of the IAF to achieve this feat,” said a senior official.

Before coming to this stage, she had completed her first solo flight on a MiG-21 Bison in March last year according to her operational syllabus. She then completed her technical flying, combat flying, including air to air combat and air to ground combat. Officials added that although Kanth can fly the fighter during the night as well, her next stages in her syllabus is to become ‘operational in the moon phase’ and then the ‘dark phase’. Thereafter, she will become fully operationally, meaning her operational syllabus is complete.

“After clearing my Stage I training, I got the golden opportunity to opt for the fighter stream. The best and the biggest thing that has happened to me and the best part is it is just the beginning. It is my aim to become a good fighter pilot and fight for the nation and make my parents proud,” Kanth had said earlier.

Kanth, who belongs to Darbhanga, Bihar, was brought up in Begusarai. She had completed her B.E. (medical electronics) from BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore before joining the IAF.

Officials said the next woman fighter pilot to undertake missions by day is Flight Lieutenant Avani Chaturvedi. Flight Lieutenant Mohana Singh is also expected to reach this stage soon. The three women pilots were commissioned into the IAF’s fighter stream in June 2016.