Sub-Lt Anamika Rajeev becomes Indian Navy's first woman pilot with 'Golden Wings'

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New Delhi, Jun 8 (PTI) Sub-Lieutenant Anamika B Rajeev has become the Indian Navy's first woman helicopter pilot after she received the prestigious "Golden Wings" at the passing-out parade at a naval air station in Tamil Nadu's Arakkonam.

In another feat, Lt Jamyang Tsewang, the first commissioned naval officer from Ladakh, also successfully graduated as a qualified helicopter pilot, according to the Indian Navy.

Sub-Lieutenant Rajeev and Lt Tsewang are among 21 officers awarded the "Golden Wings" by Vice Admiral Rajesh Pendharkar, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command, at the passing-out parade at INS Rajali, the Navy said on Saturday.

The parade on Friday marked the successful culmination of an intensive 22 weeks of training programme encompassing rigorous flying and ground training at the Indian Naval Air Squadron 561, the alma mater of all helicopter pilots of the Indian Navy, it said.

"Highlighting Indian Navy's commitment to gender inclusivity and expanding career opportunities for women, Sub-Lieutenant Anamika B Rajeev created history by graduating as the first woman naval helicopter pilot," the Navy said in a statement.

"Lt Jamyang Tsewang, the first Commissioned Naval Officer from the Union Territory of Ladakh, also successfully graduated as a qualified helicopter pilot," it said.

The Navy has already deployed women pilots for its Dornier-228 maritime surveillance aircraft.

Sub-Lieutenant Rajeev became the first woman pilot who will be allowed to fly helicopters such as Sea Kings, ALH Dhruvs, Chetaks and MH-60R Seahawks.

In 2018, flying officer Avani Chaturvedi of the Indian Air Force scripted history by becoming the first Indian woman to fly a fighter aircraft solo.

She flew a MiG-21 Bison in her first solo flight.

Chaturvedi was part of a three-member women's team commissioned as flying officers in July 2016, less than a year after the government decided to open the fighter stream for women on an experimental basis.

In its rich heritage spanning more than five decades, the helicopter training school at INS Rajali trained 849 pilots of the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard as well as friendly foreign Nations.

The newly qualified pilots of 102nd helicopter conversion course will be appointed to various front-line operational units of the Indian Navy where they will take on diverse missions such as reconnaissance, surveillance, search and rescue, and anti-piracy, the Navy said. PTI MPB SZM