'Women should be allowed to fly fighter aircraft': IAF

March 17th, 2006  

Topic: 'Women should be allowed to fly fighter aircraft': IAF

(Andhra Pradesh): Having imparted training to female pilots for flying transport aircraft and choppers for 15 years, senior IAF officials and researchers now strongly believe the time has come to open the doors of fighter cockpits to women cadets as they have been consistently performing at par with their male counterparts.
Till date, female cadres have been kept out of flying fighter aircraft while the other two wings, helicopter and transport, were open to them.
"I would definitely recommend that girls should be inducted for fighter aircraft. In every batch we have girl cadets performing at par with boys and I see no reason why they should not be considered for fighter cockpits," said Group Captain Chetan Bali, head of the flying faculty at premier Air Force Academy in Dindigul near Hyderabad.
Bali, who has more than 5,300 hours of flying experience however, said the decision has to be taken at the highest level.
"We are waiting for IAF to take the decision and I hope it will take place very soon," he said.
Echoing the view, the Chief Research officer Group Captain VN Jha, at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Bangalore, said initial research on girl's physical ability on handling fighter aircraft has been completed and IAM is now waiting government's go ahead on allowing advanced research on it.
"Some amount of work has already been done. It is only the advanced research that will be required. We are in the stage of forming that sort of research. But government will have to give us the necessary go ahead," Jha said.
Jha, the chief researcher at the premier institute, which imparts training on space related disorientation to the wannabe pilots and conducts research on physical abilities of pilots, also believes women are equally capable of handling advanced fighter jets such as Sukhoi, MIGs and Mirage aircraft.
Head of the Air Force Academy in Dindigul Air Vice-Marshal Dhiraj Kukreja said IAF needs efficient pilots for advanced jet fighters and if Government decides to allow female pilots on fighter cockpits, AFA will train them accordingly.
"If the decision is taken, we will train them accordingly. They have not been found wanting," he said.
After a year's training on the HPT-32 aircraft at AFA, men flying cadets appear before a "trifurcation board" whereas women cadets appear before a "bifurcation board" and the boards after analysing their performance decide on stage II training for the cadets on fighter, choppers and transport aircraft.
There is a trifurcation board for boys and bifurcation board for girls as female flying cadets are not considered for fighter squadrons.
The trifurcation board selects the better performers among boys who score 6 out of 10 in each subjects, including flying sorties, for fighter squadrons.
Bali said for the last couple of years girls in every batch have been scoring more than 6 in each subjects but are not considered for fighter cockpits.
"Yes, it pains me and I think we are just few steps away from allowing them," he said.
A senior IAF official, wished not to named, said it costs around Rs 10 crore (approximately 2.27 million US $) on each fighter pilot and there are apprehension that it takes two to three years after child birth before they gain full physical strength and that might be the reason behind not allowing them into fighter cockpits besides the question of what would happen if they are caught in enemy countries.
For Flight cadet Debolina, who hails from Kolkata and undergoing one year's basic training at AFA, questioning the physical ability of girl cadets does not hold water as in many countries women are flying fighter jets at par with men.
"I do not believe in these opinions as women have been flying consistently well in so many countries," she said.
She said they were told at AFA that talks are going on in IAF headquarter on considering girls for fighter aircraft. "We have been told that talks are going on in Air Force headquarters on allowing us for fighters," she said.

March 17th, 2006  
I can't see any reason why not. Every thing is powered operated you don't need a great deal of strength, and I would doubt a womans bravery or skill.
June 23rd, 2010  

Topic: Re: 'Women should be allowed to fly fighter aircraft': IAF

In India's particular case, I see no reason not to allow women to fly. Some other countries such as Israel or Taiwan, I am not sure if they should go that route?
June 24th, 2010  
Originally Posted by AVON
In India's particular case, I see no reason not to allow women to fly. Some other countries such as Israel or Taiwan, I am not sure if they should go that route?
Israel has, and has had for some time, female Infantry. I have zero doubt that they already have female pilots, as well.

I agree 100% with LeEnfield.
June 24th, 2010  
In Europe most countries have female fighter pilots.
June 24th, 2010  
I see no problem with any female service except for in capacities that require brute force and/or exceptional stamina.

There has been studies made that this is where the females come up short.

I would have thought resisting Gforce over time would require some sort of stamina.. I was obviously wrong if europe has female fighterpilots.

June 24th, 2010  
I never considered the G-Force aspect of it. Of course, with today's long-range weapons, close-in areal fighting (dog fighting) iis more a forgotten bragging right than it is a realistic possibility on the modern battlefield.

I'd love to hear what some REAL "fighter" pilots think about the G-Force aspect.

I wonder what rigors an F-16 driver faces in a realistic combat scenario that a female of the same job title may struggle with.

This is turning into a really interesting conversation.
June 24th, 2010  
Opponents of women finally getting to fly combat aircraft, and some male pilots, bandied this about in trying to prevent women from flying the newer, faster, aircraft - most of which were designated as combat planes.

The reality is that women can counteract G-forces because their physiology makes them more tolerant of G-forces than men.

G-forces push down on a body; they overcome the ability of the heart to pump oxygenated blood upward into the brain. Blood begins to pool in the lower extremities, while blood circulation to the head is reduced. When blood circulation to the head is sufficiently reduced, the oxygen supply to the brain becomes insufficient.

Height, not strength or gender, is the most negative factor in a pilot's ability to tolerate G stress. Because women have a smaller body mass the shorter distance between their heart and brain makes it easier for them to counteract the G-forces.

June 24th, 2010  
Now THAT makes sense.

So, in essence, only the stigma attached to females, combined with a man's natural inclination as protector, has predominately been used to refuse females service in actual "combat" aircraft roles.

And that's a damn shame. I can see (and argue, so don't start) the point of refusing them entrance into Combat Arms - the degree of physical strain on the skeleton alone is enough to actually make them a deficit on the front lines where everyone is almost always carrying twice as much, twice as fast, twice as long as they really should be.

But if your analysis of the G-Force curve is accurate, then it only makes sense that the particular role of "Fighter Pilot" be as equally open to females as it is to males. In fact, maybe more so if it can be stated without ambiguity that they are LESS prone to oxygen deficiency in High-G maneuvers.
June 24th, 2010  
So what you are saying is that there would be no difference in abdominal strength between a male at 175 cm and a female at 175 cm and even if there was that would have no impact at fighting Gforces over time?

I have a friend that flies JAS 39 for the SWE AF and I saw his raptured bloodvessels in the back and abdominalarea after having an emergency where fighting high Gforces over time became an issue.

I should tell him to loose lenght instead of going to the gym...haha

Cool facts, I had no clue.