Ananya Sharma is currently one of the few female pilots in a male-dominated sector. Flying Officer Ananya Sharma aspired to follow in her father’s footsteps, even if it meant taking to the skies.
Ananya was chosen for training for the IAF’s flying arm after earning a B.Tech degree in Electronics and Communication. She got commissioned as a fighter pilot in December 2021, following in her father’s footsteps.
In May, Ananya joined her father, Air Commodore Sanjay Sharma, in the same formation of fighter planes, making history. The Sharmas became the first father and daughter to fly Hawk-132 Advanced Jet Trainers (AJT) in the Indian Air Force (IAF) at the force’s Bidar station in Karnataka.
“There has never been any other incident in the Indian Air Force when father and daughter have been part of the same Fighter formation in a mission,” said Gujarat public relations officer of the Ministry of Defence. Air Cmde Sanjay and Fg Offr Ananya were more than simply father and daughter… they were colleagues who trusted each other like fellow wingmen.”
Sanjay Sharma is an experienced fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force, having joined the service in 1989. Sharma has served in a variety of posts since then, including command of a Mig-21 squadron and a frontline fighter station.
Ananya acquired her father’s warrior spirit as a child, watching him interact with fellow pilots.
Her first and only option, having spent her whole upbringing in the air force community, was the Indian Air Force, according to an IAF officer.
Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth, and Mohana Singh became the first women pilots to be recruited into an IAF fighter squadron in June 2016, paving the way for future women to join under an experimental recruiting mechanism.
For Ananya, flying in the same formation as her father is only the beginning. She is now being trained to fly the IAF’s “faster and better” aircraft.