Abhilasha Barak: Know about India’s First Female Combat Aviator

On May 25, 2022, Captain Abhilasha Barak became the country’s first female combat aviator, a momentous moment for the country. After completing training, she became the first woman officer to enter the Army Aviation Corps as a Combat Aviator. Along with 36 other Army pilots, she was honoured with the coveted wings by Director General and Colonel Commandant Army Aviation.

 The 26-year-old from Haryana has joined the Army Aviation Corps as a helicopter pilot after finishing a year of training at the Combat Army Aviation Training School in Nashik, Maharashtra. Captain Barak’s appointment comes as the National Defence Academy prepares to welcome its first female students in June 2022.

 In early 2021, the Army decided to allow women to fly helicopters. Women officers had been assigned previously and exclusively to ground responsibilities in army aviation. The Army Aviation Corps was founded as a component of the Army in November 1986. The Director-General of Army Aviation, a Lieutenant General, is in charge of the Corps. The Combat Army Aviation Training School (CATS) in Nashik prepares candidates for the Army Aviation Corps.

 Who is Captain Abhilasha Barak?

The 26-year-old is a graduate of Sanawar’s The Lawrence School. Barak is a Haryana native who joined the Army Air Defence Corps in September 2018. She is the daughter of Col S Om Singh (Retd).

 She earned a B Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Delhi Technological University in 2016. She also found a job in the United States with Deloitte. In the Army Air Defence Young Officers course, she obtained an “A,” In the Air Traffic Management and Air Laws course, she received a 75.70%. She aced Part B of the promotional exam on her first attempt.

 While serving in the Corps of Army Air Defence, President Ram Nath Kovind appointed Barak as a Contingent Commander for the Presentation of Colors to Army Air Defence. She took several professional military courses before joining the Army Aviation Corps.

 Abhilasha stated in an interview with the Indian Army that she had grown up in military cantonments and was always surrounded by people in uniform, so she assumed it was expected. Still, after her father retired from the military in 2011, she realised she had been living a completely different life.

 Only Two Female Officers Were Selected 

According to the Army, 15 female officers expressed interest in joining Army Aviation, but only two were picked after completing the Pilot Aptitude Battery Test and undergoing medical examinations. They were trained at the Combat Army Aviation Training School in Nashik.

Women are currently in charge of air traffic control and ground duty at the Aviation Department. She will, however, now take up piloting duties. In 2018, Air Force Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi became the first Indian woman to fly a fighter plane.