Heralding yet another first in the history of Indian naval aviation, two women officers have been selected to join as “Observers” (Airborne Tacticians) in the helicopter stream. Lieutenant Kumudini Tyagi and Sub Lieutenant Riti Singh will be the first women officers in the Indian Navy to embark on Navy warships as part of ship’s crew.
“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,” Indian Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said.
They are to be part of Multi-Role-Helicopters (MRH) crew.
These officers, Sub Lieutenant Kumudini Tyagi and Sub Lieutenant Riti Singh, are a part of a group of 17 officers of the Indian Navy, including four women officers and three officers of the Indian Coast Guard (13 officers of Regular batch and 4 woman officers of Short Service Commission batch) who were awarded “Wings” on graduating as “Observers” at a ceremony held on Monday at INS Garuda, Kochi.
“The ceremony was presided by Rear Admiral Antony George NM, VSM, Chief Staff Officer (Training) who presented the awards and coveted wings to the graduating officers,” Commander Vivek Madhwal said.
In addition, the chief guest also awarded the ‘Instructor Badge’ to six other officers, (five from the Indian Navy including a woman officer and another from Indian Coast Guard) who had successfully graduated as Qualified Navigation Instructors (QNI) on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, complementing the graduating officers, Rear Admiral Antony George highlighted the fact that it is a landmark occasion wherein for the first-time women will be trained in helicopter operations which would ultimately pave way for the deployment of women in frontline warships of Indian Navy.
The officers of the 91st Regular course and 22nd SSC Observer course were trained in air navigation, flying procedures, tactics employed in air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and exploitation of airborne avionic systems. These officers would serve on-board Maritime Reconnaissance and Anti-Submarine Warfare aircraft of the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard.
From the 91st Regular Observer Course, Lieutenant Hitesh Singh was awarded the Uttar Pradesh Trophy on being adjudged ‘First in the Overall Order of Merit’ while Lt Anuj Kumar was awarded the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command Trophy for being adjudged ‘Best in Flying’.
Lt Hitesh Singh was also awarded the Sub Lieutenant RV Kunte memorial Book Prize on being adjudged ‘Best in Ground Subjects’.
From 22nd SSC Observer Course Sub Lieutenant Kreeshma R was awarded the Book Prize for being adjudged ‘Best in Overall Order of Merit’.