In a historic first, two women officers — Lieutenant Kumudini Tyagi and Sub Lieutenant Riti Singh — will be deployed as “Observers” onboard Indian Navy warships as part of the ship’s crew, paving the way for women air combatants to operate from frontline warships.

“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,” Indian Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said.

Sub Lieutenant Kumudini Tyagi and Sub Lieutenant Riti Singh are 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” (airborne tacticians) at a ceremony held on Monday at INS Garuda, Kochi.


“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,” Commander Vivek Madhwal said.

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 highlighted the fact that it is a landmark occasion wherein for the first-time women will be trained in helicopter operations which would ultimately pave way for the deployment of women in frontline warships of Indian Navy.

Women in the Indian Air Force, too, may join their naval counterparts in shattering the glass ceiling with a woman fighter pilot being trained to fly the newly induct Rafale fighter jets.

Sources said the pilot will be based out of the 17 Squadron in Ambala where the five Rafale jets are stationed.