The country’s first woman Rafale fighter jet pilot Shivangi Singh was part of the Indian Air Force tableau at the Republic Day parade on Wednesday. She is only the second woman fighter jet pilot to be part of the IAF tableau.
Last year, Flight Lieutenant Bhawna Kanth became the first female fighter jet pilot to be part of the IAF tableau. Singh, who is from Varanasi, joined the IAF in 2017 and was commissioned in the IAF’s second batch of women fighter pilots. She had been flying MiG-21 Bison aircraft before flying the Rafale. She is part of the IAF’s Golden Arrows squadron based out of Ambala in Punjab.
The IAF tableau was based on the theme — ‘Indian Air Force transforming for the future’. Scaled down models of Rafale fighter jet, indigenously developed light combat helicopter (LCH) and 3D surveillance radar Aslesha MK-1 were part of the float.
It also featured a scaled down model of MiG-21 aircraft that played a major role in the 1971 war in which India defeated Pakistan, leading to the creation of Bangladesh, as well as a model of India’s first indigenously developed aircraft Gnat.
The first batch of Rafale fighter jets arrived on July 29, 2020, nearly four years after India signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore. So far, 32 Rafale jets have been delivered to the IAF and four are expected by April this year.