Indian Navy's All-Female Crew Completes First Solo Maritime Mission
A Dornier 228 aircraft was flown by five women officers from the INAS 314 Frontline Navy Squadron at Porbandar's Naval Air Enclave on Wednesday, the military has announced that an all-female maritime reconnaissance and surveillance mission was successfully completed in the North Arabian Sea, a first for the Indian Navy. Prior to this historic mission, the female officers underwent months of ground training and thorough mission briefings. The mission commander, Lt. Cdr. Aanchal Sharma, piloted the aircraft with the assistance of Lts. Shivangi and Apurva Gite, as well as Tactical and Sensor Officers Lt. Pooja Panda and Sub Lt. Pooja Shekhawat. They are members of INAS-314, the Indian Naval Air Squadron.
The Dornier 228 is a multipurpose light transport aircraft that dates to German design and manufacture in the 1980s and 1990s, although Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has built the latest model of the aircraft in-house (HAL). The aircraft, which the Indian Navy initially purchased from the German manufacturer in 1998, has an operational ceiling of 28,000 feet and a maximum range of 1,320 nautical miles. In November 2019, Gujarat's Porbandar coast saw the commissioning of INAS 314, the sixth Dornier aircraft squadron. The squadron plays a critical role in surveillance in the North Arabian Sea and is situated in a very important area. The Navy stated in a statement following the conclusion of their operation on August 3 that the officers underwent months of ground training and thorough mission briefings prior to the flight.
The result of extensive mission briefings and ground training has been over a long period of time. The Navy anticipates that the accomplishment will encourage additional women officers in the aviation corps to take on such duties given the mission's pioneering character. The fact that a crew of only female officers completed an independent operational mission in a multi-crew maritime surveillance aircraft may be a first for the Armed Forces. But women Navy officers have taken on "pioneering" duties before, like the Dornier 228 reconnaissance and surveillance operation. One of [the Navy's] outstanding and ground-breaking women empowerment initiatives is the organisation of an all-women sailing circumnavigation expedition in 2018 as well as the recruiting of women as pilots and selection of women for the helicopter stream.
In preparation for this historic sortie, the women officers underwent months of ground training and in-depth mission briefings to truly embody the ethos of "Nari Shakti" in its truest definition. It's significant to note that the Indian Navy has led the way in transforming the Armed Forces. However, it is significant that the pioneering military flying mission was distinct and is anticipated to open doors for female aviation officers to take on more responsibility and strive for more difficult jobs. Additionally, the fact that an all-women crew completed an independent operational mission in a multi-crew maritime surveillance aircraft may be a first for the Indian Armed Forces. Millions of women in India and around the world are motivated by this accomplishment to break free from restrictions and realise their goals. It was a quest that truly exemplified "Nari Shakti" in all its glory.