Captain Abhilasha Barak became the Indian Army Aviation Corps’ first female combat aviator. On Wednesday, May 25, 2022, the 26-year-old officer received her diploma at a ceremony held at the Combat Army Aviation Training School in Nashik. A K Suri, the Director-General of Army Aviation was the chief guest of the ceremony.
Captain Abhilasha Barak was also granted the coveted wings alongside 36 other army pilots at a valedictory ceremony held at the Combat Army Aviation Training School in Nashik.
Born in Haryana and brought up in military cantonments across the country, Captain Abhilasha Barak joined the military as a natural career choice. After graduating from Delhi Technological University with a Bachelor of Technology degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering, Abhilasha was placed at Deloitte in the USA.
“While growing up in military Cantonments, and being surrounded by people in uniform, it always seemed like an ordinary affair. I never realised it (that it was different) until our family moved out of the military life, after my father’s retirement in 2011. The feeling only grew stronger after seeing my elder brother’s passing out parade at Indian Military Academy in 2013. That was the moment I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” Captain Barak said in an in-house interview shared recently by the Indian Army.
Captain Barak was commissioned into the Indian Army by the Officers Training Academy, Chennai in the year 2018. She was selected as a contingent commander for the Presentation of Colours to Army Air Defence by President Ram Nath Kovind during her attachment with the Corps of Army Air Defence.
She completed the Army Air Defence Young Officers course with an ‘A’ grade, earned 75.70 per cent in the Air Traffic Management and Air Laws course, and passed the promotional exam, Part B, the first time around.
Captain Barak chose the Army Aviation Corps since she was eligible for ground duty after graduating from Officers Training Academy in Chennai in 2018. She went on to pass the Pilot Aptitude Battery Test and the computerised pilot selection system later on.
The young aspirant was always optimistic regarding the inclusion of women combat pilots in the Aviation Corps.
The Army Aviation Corps was established in November 1986 and operates the ALH, Rudra helicopters (an armed form of ALH), Chetaks, Cheetahs, and Cheetal helicopters. It also plays a critical role in assisting the army’s deployments in high-altitude places, such as the Siachen Glacier.
In 2015, the IAF chose to induct women into its fighter stream, which marked a watershed moment for women in the military. Additionally, after an almost 25-year break, the Indian Navy deployed four female officers on warships last year.