Indian Navy Reveal 1st Women Airborne Tacticians

Sub Lt. Riti Singh and Sub Lt. Kumudini - Aviatorsbuzz
Sub Lt. Riti Singh and Sub Lt. Kumudini Tyagi, the first women airborne tacticians who will operate from deck of warships, pose for pictures after they passed out of Indian Navy's Observer Course, at Southern Naval Command, Kochi, on Monday, September 21, 2020. Source: PTI Photo

Adding yet another feather in the cap of the Indian Navy, in a benchmark move two women officers have been selected to join as ‘Observers’  or Airborne Tacticians in the helicopter stream.

They would in effect, be the first set of women airborne combatants who would be operating from warships. Earlier, entry of women was restricted to the fixed wing aircraft that took off and landed ashore.

These officers, Sub Lieutenant (SLt) Kumudini Tyagi and SLt Riti Singh, are a part of a group of 17 officers of the Indian Navy, including four women officers and three officers of the Indian Coast Guard (13 officers of regular batch and 4 woman officers of Short Service Commission batch) who were awarded ‘Wings’ on graduating as ‘Observers’ at a ceremony held on September 21, 2020 at INS Garuda, Kochi.

Sub Lieutenant (SLt) Kumudini Tyagi and SLt Riti Singh - Aviatorsbuzz
Command, Kochi, on Monday, September 21, 2020. Source: Indian Navy

The ceremony was presided by Rear Admiral Antony George NM, VSM, Chief Staff Officer (Training) who presented the awards and coveted wings to the graduating officers. In addition, the chief guest also awarded the ‘Instructor Badge’ to six other officers, (five from the Indian Navy including a woman and another from Indian Coast Guard) who had successfully graduated as Qualified Navigation Instructors (QNI) on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Rear Admiral Antony George while complementing the graduating officers highlighted the fact that it is a landmark occasion wherein for the first-time women are going to be trained in helicopter operations which would ultimately pave way for the deployment of women in frontline warships of Indian Navy.

The officers of the 91st regular course and 22nd SSC observer course were trained in air navigation, flying procedures, tactics employed in air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and exploitation of airborne avionic systems. These officers would serve on-board Maritime Reconnaissance and Anti-Submarine Warfare aircraft of the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard.

Sub Lieutenant (SLt) Kumudini Tyagi and SLt Riti Singh - Aviatorsbuzz
Command, Kochi, on Monday, September 21, 2020. Source: Indian Navy

From the 91st Regular Observer Course, Lieutenant Hitesh Singh was awarded the Uttar Pradesh Trophy on being adjudged ‘First in the Overall Order of Merit’ while Lt Anuj Kumar was awarded the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command Trophy for being adjudged ‘Best in Flying’.

Lt Hitesh Singh was also awarded Sub Lt RV Kunte Memorial Book Prize on being adjudged ‘Best in Ground Subjects’. From 22nd SSC Observer Course SLt Kreeshma R was awarded the Book Prize for being adjudged ‘Best in Overall Order of Merit’.

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Nitin Konde is a freelance journalist with an experience of more than a decade. Being a freelancer, he has covered various domains in his field such as Sports, Biotechnology, Defence etc. and has been associated with brands like The Times of India, Vayu Aerospace and Defence Review Magazines. Since the last three years he has been focusing and writing extensively on the defence sector, he is here to share his expertise with our readers on AviatorsBuzz.