First in Indian military history: father-daughter fly fighter jet trainers in same formation

“The biggest, proudest moment in my life, was when flew in the Hawk formation at Bidar on May 30,” Air Commodore Sharma said, adding, “Ananya always used to say, ‘Papa, I want to be a fighter pilot like you.’”

Jul 06, 2022
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A father-daughter duo recently created history in the Air Force

Across the world there are families where successive generations have taken up military jobs in following the footsteps of their forefathers. While father-son pairs are common, those with daughters are rare. India recently saw that rare pair when an Air Force officer and her daughter flew advanced fighter jet trainers. 

As a veteran officer of the Indian Air Force (IAF), Air Commodore Sanjay Sharma and his daughter, Flying Officer Ananya Sharma, recently flew the same formation of Hawk-132 planes at the Bidar airbase in Karnataka.

This was the first time in the Indian Air Force’s history when a father and daughter were part of the same formation and went into the sky together. Ananya, commissioned in the IAF last December, is currently undergoing transitional fighter training. 

“There has not been any previous instance when a father and his daughter were part of the same fighter formation for a mission,” a fellow IAF officer was quoted as saying by The Times of India. For Commodore Sharma, it was a proud moment. 

“The biggest, proudest moment in my life, was when flew in the Hawk formation at Bidar on May 30,” Air Commodore Sharma said, adding, “Ananya always used to say, ‘Papa, I want to be a fighter pilot like you.’”

For Ananya, however, carrying that dream wasn’t that easy. In India, the profession was earlier restricted to men. It opened to women only in 2016. 

When the opportunity came, Ananya jumped on it in 2021 to fulfil her cherished dream. Currently, 16 women are serving as fighter pilots in the IAF.

(SAM)

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