Five female Indian Navy officers performed the first independent maritime reconnaissance and surveillance mission in the North Arabian Sea aboard a Dornier aircraft, a rare feat. The Navy called the mission of the women officers from its ‘INAS 314’ frontline naval air squadron in Porbandar “historic” on August 4.
Lt Commander Aanchal Sharma captained the aircraft, and other members of the team include Lt Shivangi and Lt Apurva Gite (both pilots), as well as tactical and sensor officers Lt Pooja Panda and Sub Lt Pooja Shekhawat. “On August 3, five officers from the Indian Navy’s INAS 314 based at the naval air enclave in Porbandar made history by flying the first all-women independent maritime reconnaissance and surveillance mission in the North Arabian Sea onboard a Dornier 228 aircraft,” said Commander Vivek Madhwal, a spokesperson for the Indian Navy. The INAS 314 is a frontline naval air squadron based in Porbandar, Gujarat, that uses the cutting-edge Dornier 228 maritime reconnaissance aircraft.
Female officers received ground training and mission briefings
In the months leading up to the mission, the female officers received extensive ground training and mission briefings. The first-of-its-kind military flying mission on August 3, according to Commander Madhwal, is expected to pave the way for female officers in the aviation cadre to assume greater responsibility and aspire to more challenging roles. “It perhaps marks a unique achievement for the armed forces that a crew of only women officers undertook an independent operational mission in a multi-crew maritime surveillance aircraft,” he said.
“It was indeed a mission that showcased ‘Nari Shakti’ in its real spirit,” he said. The spokesperson said the Indian Navy has been a front-runner in driving transformation in the armed forces.
“It’s pioneering women empowerment initiatives include induction of women pilots, selection of women air operations officers into the helicopter stream and conducting an all-women sailing circumnavigation expedition across the globe in 2018,” he said.