The Indian Air Force is unlikely to recruit women as a fighter pilot since now as the force cannot exploit the full potential of them and there is no policy in the country to what response when they are taken prisoners during war.
Expressing his view on this issue in a Chief of Staff Committee (COSC) meeting – a panel comprising the three service chiefs – Tuesday (Nov 17), IAF Vice Chief Air Marshal P K Barbora said, 'IAF cannot exploit the full returns of investment, which it spends, on training a fighter pilot.'
As it is known that a sum of about Rs.11.46 costs to train a fighter pilot to be fully commissioned.
To exploit this investment, there is a need to do a continuous job till 13-14 years from commissioning.
To exploit this investment, IAF also impose condition on male pilots too. If a male pilot leaves the job after commissioned, he has to reimburse the whole cost of training.
"The IAF wants its investment to be optimally utilised. Pregnancy can keep women pilots away from work for 10-12 months," he added.
Citing of having full respect for women Barbora said, 'I have full respect for women……but there are also other physiological, psychological, cultural and historical considerations. We cannot send them into close combat.'
The close combat comprises flying fighter jets, sailing on warships or serving in the infantry or the armoured corps.
'And, there is policy in India on what response to adopt if they are taken prisoners of war. Even Israel does not send women fighter pilots into close combat,' he explained.