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Current Affairs

Bhawana Kanth: 1st woman IAF pilot to qualify to undertake combat missions

Date: 23 May 2019 Tags: Honours & Awards

Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth became first woman pilot of Indian Air Force (IAF) to qualify to undertake combat missions on fighter jet.  She achieved this feat after completing operational syllabus for carrying out combat missions on Mig-21 Bison aircraft during day time. With this, she has been posted to frontline IAF airbase at Nal in Rajasthan, where she will operate the aircraft with her squadron.  

Prior to this, she had flown the first solo on MiG-21 Bison in March 2018. She then had completed her technical flying, combat flying, including air to air combat and air to ground combat.  She will now be allowed to carry out night operations once she completes training for night missions viz. ‘operational in the moon phase’ and then the ‘dark phase’. Thereafter, she will become fully operationally, meaning her operational syllabus is complete.

Bhawana Kanth

She hails from Darbhanga, Bihar. She was born and brought up in Refinery Township, Begusarai. Her father is engineer in IOCL and mother homemaker. She completed her BE (Medical Electronics) from BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore before joining IAF.


Bhawana Kanth is from first batch of women fighter pilots commissioned by IAF. Three women -Kanth, Avani Chaturvedi and Mohana Singh were commissioned in first batch by IAF as flying officers in July 2016. It was after Government had decided to open fighter stream of IAF for women on experimental basis. IAF has already has selected next batch of three women trainee pilots for the fighter stream.