Mawya Sudan always loved to scramble in her frock during her childhood days from her room and now she would be doing the same her fighter pilots attire to get to her fighting machine!
Maybe she had learnt it in her childhood that if you really want to fly, learn to befriend the winds. At that time when she chased butterflies she had no idea about the fact that she really would be up in the air with a machine that itself gives an intimidating look. Perhaps she grew up with that aim and worked hard for it. She had a self belief in her and the biggest was, there’s only one job in this world that gives you an office in the sky; and that is pilot. But in case you go a notch higher then the fighter’s cockpit is the best possible place to be in. She knew that in almost every pilot’s career, there are thirty or forty seconds when he/she might actually make a difference. The crucial time is not to freeze when those seconds finally come. But it is time to get the machine at its best! And lo! She is a fighter pilot of the elite Indian Air force. The Blues who are ever ready to pump and blow up the enemy and they have done so many times, remember 1971!’
Today’s world is different. In the past there used to be enormous egos in artists, actors, entertainers of all sorts, in politicians, sports figures, and even journalists, because they had such familiar and convenient ways to show them off. Now the scenario has changed. That slim young girl over there in blue uniform, with the withdrawn look on her face, that young officer who is so shy that she can’t even open her mouth unless the subject is flying that young pilot well, my friends, her ego is even bigger! So big, it’s breathtaking! It has to be because she is going to control a machine that believes only in aggression and a fighter pilot in air has to be aggressive. The maneuvers are on split second decisions such as, defensive split, sandwich, break , barrel roll attack, high-side guns pass, immelmann, split-S, pitch back, wingover, low Yo-Yo, high Yo-Yo, lag roll, scissors, flat scissors, rolling scissors etc. This all depends on the situation in the air with the stunning brain, eye and hand coordination! These girls have to be super women and they are!
There are more than 3,250 women in the Indian armed forces but they have traditionally been kept away from close combat roles such as flying fighter jets and serving in the infantry, armored corps and warships. Even as India was debating whether women can cope with the demands of controlling high-performance combat aircraft, over 20 countries, including North Korea, Pakistan, USA and Israel went ahead and inducted female fighter pilots at various points of time in history.
I. Women fighter pilots in the world:
According to a news article published in The Milwaukee Sentinel on April 6, 1958, the first woman ever to fly a fighter plane in combat was Sabiha Gokcen of Turkey. She was one of the eight adopted daughters of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder and first president of Modern Turkish Republic. Many followed suit after her
Niloofar Rahmani : She is the first female fixed-wing Air Force aviator in Afghanistan’s history and the first female pilot in the Afghan Air Force. The successful story followed by a controversial story. Most Taliban’s terrorist disagreed with her achievement and wanted to punish her. Some of her family members also threatened to kill her because it’s against Afghanistan traditions and rules that women cannot serve in the military. She began training on C-130s with the US Air Force in 2015 and completed the program in December 2016. She was granted asylum by the United States Government in April 2018.
Nicola Baumann: Nicola Baumann, born in march 10, 1985 became the second female fighter pilot in the history of the German Air Force in 2007. She was assigned to the 322nd Squadron in Bavaria, flying Tornados and Eurofighter Typhoon. In 2012 she became an instructor pilot at ENJJPT (Euro NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training) with the 459th Flying Squadron. She also completed her flying training as a Eurofighter Typhoon pilot in 2015.
Katie Higgins: Marine Corps Captain Katie Higgins made history by becoming the first female pilot in the Blue Angels team in Sept 2014. Blue Angels is the famous U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron. She graduated from Annapolis in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science, and went on to get her Masters in International Security from Georgetown University before reporting to Naval Air Station Pensacola for aviation training. As a married woman with two kids her achievement in flight records was amazing.
Yu Xu: Born in 1986, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. Yu Xu was the first certified Chinese woman to fly Chinese made fighter jet Chengdu J-10. She joined the military as a student at the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) Air Force Aviation University in 2005, and graduated in 2009. Yu Xu was a member of the August 1st aerobatics team. Unfortunately, the potential pilot died during an aerobatic training session on November 12, 2016. She was killed in a failed parachute jump when her jet crashed near Tangshan, Hebei Province.
Carey Lohrenz: Born in 1968, Racine, Wisconsin. Carey Lohrenz is the U.S. Navy’s first female F-14 Tomcat pilot. She graduated from University of Wisconsin in 1990. In 1991 Lohrenz graduated from Aviation Officer Candidate School at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. In the same year she received advanced jet training in Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas. She received follow-on orders to the F-14 Fleet Replacement Squadron, Fighter Squadron 124 (VF-124) at Naval Air Station Miramar, California.
Mariam Al-Mansouri: Born in 1979, Abu Dhabi. She is the first female fighter pilot of the United Arab Emirates Air Force. In 2007, she joined the Khalifa bin-Zayed Air College of the United Arab Emirates Air Force and graduated as an excellent pilot. She makes history in Arab states aviation as a proven best pilot. In 2014 she flew the F-16 Fighting Falcon Block 60 and led UAE Air Force mission airstrikes against ISIS over Syria. The mission successfully became an inspiring story for the Arab female teenagers who got a dream to be a pilot.
Patricia Yapp: Declared as the first Asian female fighter pilot to fly the Russian MiG-29. Patricia Yapp also the first female fighter pilot in RMAF (Royal Malaysia Air Force). She was born and raised in Sandakan, Sabah, East Malaysia. In 2000, she graduated from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia with a diploma in Aeronautical Engineering. After completing her flight training in 2002, she chose to be a fighter pilot and flew the Aermacchi MB-339 aircraft for four years. After this, she became an operational and tactical lead pilot with the No. 17/19 Squadron in Kuantan that flies the MiG-29N Fulcrum.
Captain Kim Campbell: An Air-force Academy graduate, Campbell was one of just 50 women fighter pilots in the USAF in 2003. Captain Kim Campbell served as A-10 pilot of 75th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron in the Iraq conflict. Her A-10 aircraft received a disastrous hit from AAA (Anti-Aircraft Artillery) when she was flying a combat mission in support of American ground forces over Baghdad on April 7, 2003. With determination and superb flight skill she succeeded to bring back safely the damaged A-10 to the base.
Jammie Jamieson: Not all the fighter pilots have the opportunity to fly the $150 million F-22 Raptor, the fifth-generation stealth tactical fighter aircraft. But Jammie Jamieson was an exception and the first operational female fighter pilot to fly the superior F-22. She was born in Tacoma and lived in Prosser from 1982 until she left for the Air Force Academy in 1996. After receiving her commission through the Air Force Academy in 2000 and a master’s degree in public policy in national security and political economy from Harvard University in 2002, Jamieson completed the F-15C Basic Course at Tyndall Air Force Base. After three years flying the F-15C in Alaska, she completed the F-22A Transition Qualification Course at Tyndall in 2008.
L. Lt. Col Christine Mau: At the time Lt. Col. Mau flew the F-35A for the first time, there were only 86 other (male) pilots certified to fly the F-35A in the entire U.S. Air Force. Not only becoming the first female pilot flew the F-35A she also made another great achievement in U.S Air Force history. In 2011, she was reportedly a member of the first all-female combat sortie while in Afghanistan. She and an all-female maintenance and planning crew launched an F-15E Strike Eagle combat operation against insurgents in Afghanistan’s Kunar Valley. Lt. Col Christine Mau currently serves as Deputy Commander of the 33rd Operations Group at Eglin Air Force base in Florida.
The legacy is massive and so is that of India. Women fighter pilots in India are increasing by the day after following the imprints of great trend setters such as Bhavna Kanth, Mohana Singh, Gunjan Saxena, Avni Chaturvedi, Sarla Thakral, Mamta Kour Deol and so many others. This is the beginning and Indian Airforce to in future would be flying all female sorties! So watch out for them.
If the others are on the roll can the girls from UT Jammu lag behind! Oh! Come on, not again! We have produced two of them who have made Jammu and Kashmir proud. Being a fighter pilot is not an easy task. You have to meet high requirements of physical fitness, mental and intelligence. Working in a small cockpit with extreme conditions is not suitable for all women who choose the military as a career. Female fighter pilots were not allowed in most countries until the ‘90s, and some countries have never had one at all. In India, although women were allowed to join the Air Force as early as 1993, they were blocked from careers as fighter pilots until 2015. But women have proved that they can perform remarkably as male in some of the toughest positions in the Air Force.
I. Jubiksha Thakur: Hailing from a nondescript hamlet in Jammu and Kashmir, Jubiksha Thakur (24), a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force (IAF), she is a source of inspiration for young boys and girls in the state. Hailing from Billan Bowlian in Udhampur district, Jubiksha Thakur joined the IAF as a fighter pilot this year, one of the first few women in the country to have done so. Jubiksha Thakur says, I climbed the ladder step by step, committing some mistakes as well, but kept going as I learned it the hard way. Instead of mourning over your failures and get into self pity, you should work harder to achieve your goals.
II. And now: Mawya Sudan: 12th fighter pilot in IAF
Imagine a girl next to you with a pretty face and nice smile should work in an office but walking in G-suit to the most advanced and sophisticated aircraft is a bit of an amazing thing to watch. Surprisingly some of them were involved in combat missions and air strikes. Now one more makes a grand stand entry!
Flying officer Mawya Sudan from Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district has become the 12th woman officer in the country to be inducted as a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Daughter of Sushma and Vinod Sudan belonging to Lamberi village of Nowshera tehsil in Rajouri district, Mawya was commissioned into the IAF as a flying officer.
Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria reviewed the combined graduation passing out parade at the Air Force Academy in Dundigal, Hyderabad.
Fighter pilot attitude. It is cockiness. It is aggression. It is self-confidence. It is a streak of rebelliousness, and it is competitive. But there’s something else, there’s a spark. Mawya had all this in her so she took to the skies, probably her childhood dream!
Remember it is goddamn serious business in skies in a war zone, it used to be a man versus man and machine versus machine fight up there but now it could be man versus woman in their own flying and fighting machines obviously the contest has to be fierce!