First woman Rafale jet pilot part of IAF tableau in R-Day Paradetext_fields
New Delhi: India's first female Rafale fighter jet pilot was a proud part of the Indian Air Force's Republic Day tableau on display at the national capital today, under the theme "Indian Air Force Transforming for the Future'.
Flight-Lieutenant Shivangi Singh from Varanasi is a part of the IAF's Golden Arrows Squadron which is based in Ambala, Punjab. She joined the IAF in 2017 and was commissioned in the IAF's second batch of women fighter pilots. She had been flying MiG-21 Bison aircraft before flying the Rafale.
After her schooling and graduation, Shivangi joined 7 UP Air Squadron NCC at Banaras Hindu University to fulfil her dream. After her selection through the common aptitude test, she went to the Air Force Academy for training in July 2016. Shivangi and another flight cadet, Pratibha, from Rajasthan, received their wings during the combined graduation parade of pilots and ground duty officers at Air Force Academy, Dundigal, near Hyderabad, in December 2017.
Last year, the IAF included a woman fighter jet pilot on its tableau for the first time, namely Flight Lieutenant Bhawna Kanth.
Scaled-down models of Rafale jets and indigenously-developed light combat helicopter (LCH) and 3D surveillance radar Aslesha MK-1 were part of the float. It also featured a scaled down model of MiG-21 aircraft that played a major role in the 1971 war in which India defeated Pakistan, leading to the creation of Bangladesh, as well as a model of India's first indigenously developed aircraft Gnat.
The first batch of Rafale fighter jets arrived on July 29, 2020, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 aircraft at a cost of ₹ 59,000 crore. So far, 32 Rafale jets have been delivered to the IAF and four are expected by April this year.