In an empowering move, Russia has opened its doors to women fighter pilots. This is for the first time since World War II that Russia is accepting women fighter pilots. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu recently announced this after hundreds of women showed willingness to enrol. India too has recently inducted women fighter pilots in the Air Force.
"We decided that this year we’ll recruit the first group of women to the Krasnodar Higher Military Aviation School," - Russia Defence Minister
“There are so many young women who want to become military pilots. We receive hundreds of letters
“Therefore, we decided that this year we’ll recruit the first group of women to the Krasnodar Higher Military Aviation School,” he added.
The first group of trainees will have 15 women and the training will start from October this year, BBC reported. The new batch will train at the Krasnodar military aviation school, in the south of the country.
“There will not be many of them… but given the number of applications received to the Air Force, we can’t ignore those requests,” he said.
The Russian Air Force at Patriot Park outside Moscow had a celebratory ceremony going on where the minister expressed hope for female fighters. He said that the female graduates, “will show off their skills at a similar event in five years’ time”.
While the academy is inducting women since 2009, it is only now that they are allowing women in fighter pilot post.
Russian had a name for women fighter pilots—“Stalin’s Falcons”— during World War II. And the Germans troops called them “Night Witches”. It was in 1911 that 20-year-old Lidia Zvereva became the first woman in Russia to have a solo flight. She also received official papers as a pilot-aviator the same year. Many women then got inspired by her and joined the forces during the war.
Lidia Litvyak is another notable name from that era. She is remembered as the best high-performance female pilot of WWII.