Udayavni Special

Navy’s first batch of three women pilots ready for maritime reconnaissance mission on Dornier aircraft

PTI, Oct 22, 2020, 3:56 PM IST

Kochi: Scripting a new chapter, the Indian Navy has got ready its first batch of three women pilots for Maritime Reconnaissance (MR) missions on Dornier aircraft.

Lieutenant Divya Sharma, Lt Shubhangi Swaroop and Lt Shivangi are now ready to take on all MR missions on Dornier aircraft, a Defence spokesman said on Thursday. They have been “operationalised on Dornier aircraft” by the Southern Naval Command (SNC) here today, he said.

The spokesman said the three women pilots were part of the six pilots of the 27th Dornier Operational Flying Training (DOFT) Course, who graduated as Fully operational Maritime Reconnaissance (MR) Pilots at a passing out ceremony held at INS Garuda on Thursday.

Rear Admiral Antony George, Chief Staff Officer (Training) of SNC was the chief guest of the event and presented awards to the pilots who are now fully qualified to fly Dornier aircraft for all operational missions.

While Lieutenant Divya Sharma hails from Malviya Nagar, New Delhi, Lieutenant Shubhangi Swaroop belongs to Tilhar, Uttar Pradesh. Lieutenant Shivangi hails from Muzaffarpur, Bihar.

These officers had initially undergone basic flying training partly with Indian Air Force and partly with the Navy prior to (DOFT) Course.

Among the three women pilots operationalised for MR Pilots flying, Lt Shivangi was the first to qualify as a naval pilot on December 2, 2019.

After 15 days, the two others–Lieutenant Divya Sharma and Lieutenant Shubhangi Swaroop–also became pilots.

Later, they were made one batch and became part of the six pilots of the 27th DOFT course, which is the second and most important phase of training for becoming mission ready pilots, the spokesman said.

The course comprised one month of ground training phase, which was conducted at various professional schools of Southern Naval Command and eight months of flying training at the Dornier Squadron of SNC, INAS 550, he said.

According to a Navy release, Lt Divya Sharma and Lt Shivam Pandey were adjudged First in Flying and First in Ground subjects, respectively.

The Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (South) rolling trophy in memory of late Lt Simon George Pynomootil for the Most spirited trainee was presented to Lt Kumar Vikram. This trophy was instituted on June 18, 2019 during the Diamond Jubilee Celebration of INAS 550 to immortalise the spirit of the officer who was a qualified Islander pilot and lost his life in an air crash while serving the squadron on May 17, 1985.

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