- NET Web Desk
In a first, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has handed-over two women fighter pilots to its frontline Chinook helicopter units. This multi-mission helicopter has played a crucial role in assisting the army’s deployments near the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
According to HT report, the Squadron Leaders – Parul Bhardwaj and Swati Rathore will fly Chinook helicopter units in the northern and eastern sectors near LAC, at a time when India and China are embroiled in a protracted border dispute.
Both Rathore and Bhardwaj flew Russian-made Mi-17V5 helicopters, before being assigned to CH-47F Chinook units stationed in Chandigarh and Assam’s Mohanbari respectively.
Bhardwaj led the Mi-17V5’s maiden all-women flight in 2019. While, Rathore became the first woman helicopter pilot to participate in the 2021 Republic Day flypast over Rajpath (now Kartavya Path), flying a Mi-17V5 in a four-helicopter formation.
Following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas on May 5, 2020, both India & China gradually increased the deployment of soldiers and heavy weaponry; the Indian Air Force (IAF) has been extensively using Chinook helicopters for transporting artillery, battlefield resupply and troops.
Additionally, helipads that can accommodate Chinook helicopters are being established along distant areas of Arunachal Pradesh; in order to enable faster deployment of soldiers, weaponry; thereby boosting military capabilities in the sensitive sector.