This year's R-Day flypast to feature first woman fighter pilot
Flight lieutenant Bhawana Kanth will become the first woman fighter pilot to participate in the Republic Day parade this year on January 26, officials said on Monday. Kanth will be a part of the Indian Air Force's tableau at the parade, India's biggest ceremonial event. The parade will also feature the newly-inducted Rafale fighter jet during the Republic Day flypast. Here are more details.
Flight lieutenant Kanth hails from Bihar
Kanth hails from Darbhanga in Bihar. She was born and raised in the Refinery Township, Begusarai, where her father worked as an engineer in Indian Oil Corporation Limited. Photography, cooking, swimming, and traveling are some of her interests along with playing badminton, volleyball, and adventure sports. She completed her Bachelors of engineering in Medical Electronics from BMS College of Engineering in Bengaluru.
Kanth was among first women fighter pilots
Kanth is currently posted at an airbase in Rajasthan where she flies the MiG-21 Bison. She was among the first Indian women fighter pilots to be inducted in the IAF in 2016 alongside Avani Chaturvedi and Mohana Singh. Ten women officers have been commissioned into the fighter stream since the IAF introduced a scheme for women to be inducted into the stream in 2015.
India to showcase military might, cultural diversity on R-Day
India celebrates its 72nd Republic Day on January 26, where the IAF will showcase mock-ups of the light combat aircraft, light combat helicopter, and the Sukhoi-30. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the parade will be shorter. Marching contingents will have 96 participants in each squad, instead of 144. The number of spectators will be reduced to 25,000 from over one lakh.
Rafale jets to be featured this year
This year, the Rafale fighter jet will culminate the flypast by carrying out the 'Vertical Charlie' formation, the IAF said on Monday. India has procured 36 Rafale jets for Rs. 59,000 crore, out of which, 11 have been inducted into the IAF. Seven other jets are being used for training IAF pilots in France and three others are scheduled to land on January 27.