Updated June 9th, 2024 at 14:59 IST

Indian Navy Gets First Woman Naval Helicopter Pilot from 102nd Helicopter Conversion Course

The passing out parade celebrated the achievements of 21 officers, with three from the 03 BHCC, who were awarded the "Golden Wings".

Reported by: Yuvraj Tyagi
First Woman Naval Helicopter Pilot - SLt Anamika B Rajeev | Image:Indian Navy
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ARAKKONAM, Tamil Nadu: A significant event unfolded on Friday at Naval Air Station INS Rajali, where the graduation ceremony of the 102nd Helicopter Conversion Course (HCC) and the completion of Stage I training of the 4th Basic Helicopter Conversion Course (BHCC) took place. This momentous occasion was marked by the passing out parade, celebrating the accomplishments of 21 officers, including three from the 03 BHCC, who were honored with the prestigious "Golden Wings" by Vice Admiral Rajesh Pendharkar, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command. The Ministry of Defence proudly announced this milestone on Saturday, underscoring the rigorous training and dedication of these new pilots. 

The passing out parade signifies the culmination of a demanding 22-week training program that encompasses both intensive flying and ground training. However, the highlight of the recent PoP was the commissioning of Indian Navy’s first woman naval helicopter pilot – Sub Lt Anamika B Rajeev. Moreover, Lt Jamyang Tsewang, the first commissioned naval officer from the Union Territory of Ladakh, also graduated as a qualified helicopter pilot, adding another historic moment to the ceremony. 

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Indian Naval Air Squadron 561 

Conducted at the Indian Naval Air Squadron 561, known as the alma mater of all helicopter pilots of the Indian Navy, this training program is renowned for its comprehensive curriculum and stringent standards. The Ministry highlighted the Indian Navy's commitment to gender inclusivity and expanding career opportunities for women, with SLt Anamika B Rajeev making history by becoming the first woman naval helicopter pilot to graduate from the course.

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The Helicopter Training School at INS Rajali has a rich heritage spanning over five decades and has trained 849 pilots from the Indian Navy, Coast Guard, and friendly foreign nations. Currently commanded by Cmde Kapil Mehta and Cdr Archesh, the school is known for its safe and conducive training environment, meticulous planning, and execution, ensuring the completion of courses on time. The newly qualified pilots of the 102 HCC are set to be appointed to various frontline operational units of the Indian Navy, where they will undertake diverse missions such as reconnaissance, surveillance, search and rescue, and anti-piracy operations. 

During the PoP, Vice Admiral Rajesh Pendharkar presented several awards to distinguished graduates: Lt Gurkirat Rajput received the FOCinC, Eastern Naval Command Rolling Trophy for standing first in order of merit in flying, Lt Nitin Sharan Chaturvedi was awarded the Sub-Lt Kunte Memorial Book Prize for first in ground subjects, and Lt Deepak Gupta earned the Governor of Kerala Rolling Trophy for first in overall order of merit. 

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The successful completion of Stage I training by the officers of the 04 BHCC marks the beginning of their journey towards becoming fully qualified helicopter pilots. These officers will continue their training with Stage II at the Helicopter Training School, further honing their skills and preparing for future operational roles within the Indian Navy. The Ministry of Defence's statement emphasized the importance of this training in maintaining the operational readiness and capability of the Indian Naval Air Arm.  

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Published June 9th, 2024 at 14:59 IST