Lt. Avani Chaturvedi will go down in history for the glorious distinction of becoming the first Indian woman to fly a fighter aircraft solo, an Indian Air Force official informed PTI.
This update was also tweeted from the official Indian Air Force Twitter handle. "
#TouchTheSkyWithGlory: Fg Offr Avani Chaturvedi became the first Indian Woman to fly a fighter aircraft solo, when on 19 Feb 18 she flew a MiG-21 Bison aircraft in her first solo flight. The photo attached has been taken after her solo sortie," read the tweet.
"Chaturvedi became the first Indian woman to fly a fighter aircraft solo when she flew a MiG-21 bison in her first solo flight," the official said, according to a PTI report. "It is a unique achievement for Indian Air Force and the country," Air Commodore Prashant Dixit told ANI.
Her journey began at the Indian Air Force base in Jamnagar, Gujarat on February 19, in a MiG-21. She joined the Indian Air Force fighter squadron on 18 June 2016 - formally commissioned by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar - along with two other woman pilots, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh, thus forming the first ever batch to do so.
The 24-year-old hails from Rewa district in Madhya Pradesh. She did her Bachelors in Technology from Banasthali University, Rajasthan in 2014, before she cleared the Indian Air Force exam and went on to train at the Hyderabad Air Force Academy in Dindigul.
While the government has decided to permit women to apply to the fighter stream in October 2015, it is worth noting that women officers are still disallowed from holding combat roles. The government cites operational and logistical shortcomings for the same. Currently, the only countries that do have women fighter pilots are Britain, the United States, Israel, and Pakistan.