Flight Lieutenant Shivangi Singh a Varanasi native, who was commissioned into the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2017 as part of the second batch of women fighter pilots, is now on her way to be the first female fighter pilot to fly Rafale. She has been undergoing conversion training since August and on completion of her training, will shortly become a formal part of the Ambala based 17 Squadron, ‘Golden Arrows’.
She will make a drastic switch from flying a MiG-21 Bison (a supersonic jet fighter and interceptor aircraft) to Rafale (a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft). Singh’s course-mate and fellow woman fighter pilot Flt Lt Pratibha is also reportedly flying Su-30 MKI kegs now.
After doing her schooling from Varanasi, she joined the prestigious Banaras Hindu University (BHU) where she was part of the 7 UP Air Squadron in the National Cadet Corps. To get a step closer to her childhood dream, she further proceeded to join the Air Force Academy in 2016.
Flt Lt Singh is reported to be posted at the same base as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman the IAF pilot who was held captive in Pakistan for 60 hours after shooting down a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighter on February 27 last year.
Rafales are in a high-tempo work up mode to become fully operationally ready and hence Flt Lt Shivangi’s arrival into the Golden Arrows squadron comes at a particularly significant time.
Indian Armed Forces have definitely come a long way since it first inducted women officers in 1992 as currently, the IAF has inducted 10 women fighter pilots with more in training.