The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Rafale squadron’s first woman fighter pilot is Flight Lieutenant Shivangi Singh.
Commissioned into the IAF in 2017 as part of the second batch of women fighter pilots, Varanasi native Flt Lt Shivangi Singh is currently undergoing conversion training and will shortly become a formal part of the 17 Squadron, ‘Golden Arrows’ in Ambala.
India Today was the first to report on Monday on the development that a woman fighter pilot of the IAF was selected to join the newly inducted Rafale fighter fleet as one of its crew flying the multi-role air dominance aircraft.
Since her commissioning in 2017, Flt Lt Shivangi Singh has been flying MiG-21 Bisons. She arrives in Ambala from a border base in Rajasthan where she has flown alongside one of India’s best known fighter pilots — Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman — who was credited with shooting down a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighter on February 27 last year near the LoC before being shot down himself and taken captive.
After school in Varanasi, she joined the prestigious Banaras Hindu University (BHU), where she was part of the 7 UP Air Squadron in the National Cadet Corps. She then proceeded to the Air Force Academy for training in 2016.
Flt Lt Shivangi’s conversion training is unique. She will be converting from the IAF’s oldest jet, the MiG-21, to its newest jet, the Rafale. Also, Flt Lt Shivangi’s 2017 coursemate and fellow woman fighter pilot Flt Lt Pratibha is understood to be flying Su-30 MKI kegs at this time.
Flt Lt Shivangi’s arrival into the Golden Arrows squadron comes at a particularly significant time, given the Rafales are in a high-tempo work up mode to get them fully operationally ready.