First Indian Air Force Women Pilots Who Flew in the Kargil War Zone | Fusion - WeRIndia

First Indian Air Force Women Pilots Who Flew in the Kargil War Zone

First Indian Air Force Women Pilots Who Flew in the Kargil War Zone

Let us look back at these heroic women of India. These women are almost forgotten in the present day. But their bravery and service ensured the safety of many soldier. Recently, three female pilots, Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh were inducted into an Indian Air Force fighter squadron making it a milestone for the Indian military.

However, here is the story of India’s first women pilots who flew dozens of helicopter sorties into the Kargil war zone to help evacuate soldiers to safety.

It all began in 1994 when Gunjan Saxena, along with Srividya Rajan, became one of 25 young women to form the first batch of women IAF trainee pilots. At that time, there were many reservations about women being allowed to be pilots. Many people questioned whether women pilots could face the physical and mental stress of war.

These two young women pilots wanted to prove their power and that they are just as qualified as the men. They got their chance with the breakout of the Kargil war in 1999. The IAF needed every pilot so they were called in. Both of them performed very well.


They flew their small Cheetah helicopters through extremely hostile mountain territory dodging heavy fire. With their unarmed and defenseless choppers, they air-dropped supplies to troops in the Dras and Batalik sectors, evacuated injured Indian Army soldiers, and reported enemy positions to the Indian army.

Flying choppers in enemy territory is extremely dangerous. The danger is always present in that situation. The two women were ready if they got shot down. Gunjan even carried a fully loaded INSAS assault rifle and a revolver. One of their biggest role was to evacuate injured Indian Army soldiers.

Flight Officer Gunjan Saxena was the first woman recipient of the Shaurya Vir Award for her performance in Kargil war. The award is given for valor, courageous action or self-sacrifice while not engaged in direct action with enemy.

Image Reference: Thebetterindia

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