Varanasi's Flight Lieutenant Shivangi Singh will be the first woman fighter pilot in the Rafale squadron of the Indian Air Force (IAF). She is currently undergoing conversion training and will soon be inducted into the Golden Arrows squadron in Ambala.
Flight Lieutenant Singh's entry into the Rafale squadron comes at an important juncture since the French fighters are in a fast-paced mode to get them completely ready in operational terms. After her schooling in Varanasi, she joined Banaras Hindu University, where she was a part of the 7 UP Air Squadron in the National Cadet Corps (NCC). Singh was commissioned into the IAF in 2017 as part of the second batch of women fighter pilots.
Flight Lieutenant Singh will transition from flying the highly demanding MiG-21 Bisons to the new-age multirole Rafale. She comes from a border base in Rajasthan where she has flown with one of the country's famous pilots- Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who is known for shooting down a Pakistani Air Force fighter jet on February 27, 2019 near the LoC before getting shot himself and taken captive.
At present, the IAF has 10 women fighter pilots and 18 women navigators. Total strength of serving female officers in the Indian Air Force is 1,875. Flight Lieutenants Avni Chaturvedi, Mohana Singh and Bhawana Kanth were the first women to be commissioned as flying officers into the IAF fighter stream after basic training in 2016.