In a rare feat, five women officers of the Indian Navy carried out the first independent maritime reconnaissance and surveillance mission in the North Arabian Sea onboard a Dornier aircraft.
The Navy on Thursday described the mission by the women officers from its ‘INAS 314’ frontline naval air squadron in Porbandar as ”historic”.
The aircraft was captained by Mission Commander, Lt Commander Aanchal Sharma, and other members of the team are Lt Shivangi and Lt Apurva Gite (both pilots), and tactical and sensor officers, Lt Pooja Panda and Sub Lt Pooja Shekhawat.
”On Wednesday, five officers of the Indian Navy’s INAS 314 based at naval air enclave in Porbandar created history by completing the first all-women independent maritime reconnaissance and surveillance mission in the North Arabian Sea onboard a Dornier 228 aircraft,” spokesperson in the Indian Navy Commander Vivek Madhwal said. The INAS 314 is a frontline naval air squadron based at Porbandar, Gujarat and operates the state-of-the-art Dornier 228 maritime reconnaissance aircraft.
The women officers received months of ground training and comprehensive mission briefings in the run-up to the sortie.
Commander Madhwal said the first-of-its-kind military flying mission on Wednesday was unique and is expected to pave the way for women officers in the aviation cadre to assume greater responsibility and aspire for more challenging roles. ”It perhaps marks a unique achievement for the armed forces that a crew of only women officers undertook an independent operational mission in a multi-crew maritime surveillance aircraft,” he said.
”It was indeed a mission that showcased ‘Nari Shakti’ in its real spirit,” he said.
The spokesperson said the Indian Navy has been a front-runner in driving transformation in the armed forces.
”It’s pioneering women empowerment initiatives include induction of women pilots, selection of women air operations officers into the helicopter stream and conducting an all-women sailing circumnavigation expedition across the globe in 2018,” he said.