Captain Abhilasha Barak becomes the first woman Pilot in the Indian Army Aviation

Captain Abhilahsa Barak became the first woman combat helicopter pilot on 25 May 2022 when she graduated from the Combat Army Aviation Training school in Nashik.

Captain Barak attended The Lawrence School Sanawar, Asia’s oldest co-educational boarding school. She graduated with a B Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Delhi Technological University in 2016 and was hired by Deloitte in the United States. Her father, a retired Army officer, was also in attendance at the valedictory ceremony.

She got commissioned into the Indian Army in 2018 after graduating from the Officers Training Academy in Chennai. She received merit cards in Horse Riding and Judo during her training. During her assignment with the Army Air Defence Corps, President Ram Nath Kovind appointed her as a Contingent Commander for the Presentation of Colours to the Army Air Defence.

First woman pilot in the Indian Army

She received an ‘A’ in the Army Air Defence Young Officers training, a 75.7 per cent in the Air Traffic Management and Air Laws course, and passed the Part B promotional test on her first attempt.

“Growing up in military cantonments and being around by people in uniform felt like a routine event,” she remarked. I didn’t realise it until our family left the military after my father retired in 2011. And the emotion further intensified after seeing my elder brother’s passing out parade at Indian Military Academy in 2013. That’s when I realised what I wanted to accomplish for the rest of my life.”

“After graduating from the Officers Training Academy in Chennai in 2018, I chose the Army Aviation Corps,” she explained. I knew I was only qualified for ground duty when I filled out the paperwork, but I ended up saying that I had passed the Pilot Aptitude Battery Test and the Computerized Pilot Selection System. Somewhere in my heart, I knew the day would come when the Indian Army would begin accepting women as combat pilots.”

“After two years, when the admission of women as pilots was announced, it all came full circle,” Captain Barak added. Few people know that during Operation Meghdoot in 1987, my father led a patrolling unit from Amar Post to Bana Top Post (earlier Quaid Post). He suffered from Cerebral Odema as a result of the poor weather and was returned to Amar Post, where he was evacuated just in time. He owes his life to the Army Aviation Corps, and I do as well.”