Two Indian Navy women officers, in a first, set to fly warship choppers

21th September 2020

21th September 2020

Sub Lieutenant Kumudini Tyagi and Sub Lieutenant Riti Singh

Navy warships have taken two women officers onboard as a ship crew for the first time in history.

There were several reasons due to which women officers were not deployed as crew members on warships for longer durations including no separate bathroom facility for women, no privacy in the quarters for crew members.

Indian Navy is now set to redefine gender-equality with two young officers, Sub Lieutenant Riti Singh and Sub Lieutenant Kumudini Tyagi. Both the officers are training their best to become the master of handling operations onboard including Surveillance, sonar consoles, intelligence, and Reconnaissance (ISR) payloads.

Sub Lieutenant Kumudini Tyagi hails from Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad while Sub Lieutenant Riti Singh belongs to Telangana's Hyderabad.

"They would in effect, be the first set of women airborne combatants who would be operating from warships. Earlier, entry of women was restricted to the fixed-wing aircraft that took off and landed ashore," said Indian Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal.

Both, Sub Lieutenant Kumudini Tyagi and Sub Lieutenant Riti Singh are engineering graduates in computer science. They were commissioned into the Navy in 2018.

Sub Lieutenant Kumudini Tyagi and Sub Lieutenant Riti Singh are among 17 Indian Navy officers, who were awarded ‘Wings’ on graduating as ‘Observers’ at a ceremony took place at INS Garuda, Kochi, on Monday.

Indian Navy has ordered 24 MH-60 R helicopters and it is expected that the two women officers mentioned above will fly these helicopters.


MH-60R helicopters are considered as the world's highly designed helicopters of their class with multi-role functionality.

These helicopters can be used for deploying torpedoes, missiles, and can also be used to detect the enemy's submarines and ships.

The then Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman had closed the deal of Lockheed-Martin built choppers in 2018 at an estimate of $2.6 billion.

Not only the Indian Navy but the Indian Air Force (IAF) has also decided to redefine gender-equality by shortlisting a woman fighter pilot to be the part of the Rafale fighter jets' fleet.

It's still not clear when this officer would start operating in Ambala with the Golden Arrows squadron of IAF which is also IAF's first squadron to operate the most advanced French built fighter plane.

In 2016, India got its first fighter pilots in the form of Flight Lieutenant Mohana Singh, Flight Lieutenant Avani Chaturvedi, and Flight Lieutenant Bhawanna Kanth.

At present, there are 1,875 women officers in the IAF, out of which 10 are fighter pilots and 18 are navigators who are also getting trained to join the fighter-fleet to operate fighter jets' weapons systems including the Sukhoi-30MK.

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