Women in Combat

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Gagan
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Re: Women in Combat

Postby Gagan » 22 Dec 2009 06:56

The issue of women having kids vs duties as fighter pilots is complex.

The issue is:
1. The absence of a pilot for a period of 1.5 years every time the person has a delivery (It is not 9 months. From the time pregnancy is diagnosed to the post partum period to fitness is at the minimum 9m + 6m +/- 3m= 15-18m) or ~ 2 months if the person has a termination of pregnancy. (GoI rules allow upto 60 days leave in the event of a Termination of Pregnancy {Abortion})
{PS on a humorous note: My previous boss had to undergo a coronary bypass surgery, and he was back on the job in 35 days. His secretary had an abortion just before his surgery, but she availed of her full 60 days leave. He pointed this out to every person who dropped by his office to enquire about his health :rotfl: }

The point is that this throws the schedules of the entire unit off the racks because this is unpredictable. Things such as leaves, QRT duties etc then have to be readjusted. Bad for cohesiveness. Imagine now if there are more than one women in that unit.

The fact is leave aside the fighter pilot profession, I have personally seen instances (two of them) where senior management was reluctant to employ women, when so many men are available, because of schedules getting upset out of the blue.

And there is a somewhat similar precedence to this "No kids until xyz age" rule in India. Nurses. Many private hospitals around the country will tell you that there was a time when nurses had a bond that they will not get married until they were in the nursing profession. If they got married, they had to leave it. This was years ago in many a hospital in India.

The other aspect that needs to be remembered is that apparently, there should be no medical reason why women should be able to perform just as well as they did after a pregnancy is over as they did before it.

2. Here is an example that I have heard from the AMC doctors themselves.
The army rules want that a man should have at least one testicle. This means that a man with only one testicle is technically eligible to be in the armed forces. But the fact is, that there is no shortage of men who have both testicles, so one rarely if ever sees the single testicle men in the armed forces.


Why should women be employed as fighter pilots at all? Do they have any advantages over men, or even meet the standards that men have to live by? Sure, if they do, accept them by all means. But given the medical issues above, why would any employer concerned only with operational readiness consider it?

3. If the country feels that they are willing to look over these issues and still have women on the team, there is the issue of training cost. The government then should then bear the expenses for the inclusion of women into the force, and not fully burden the air force with it.

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby RayC » 22 Dec 2009 10:06

For those who feel that there is no rape of women soldiers and officers and so we should also emulate them, here is something to ponder over:

Widespread Sexual Harassment of Military Women Documented
The Pentagon has possessed information about widespread sexual harassment in the military for at least a decade:
• A 1980 study of sexual harassment in the Navy found that 60 percent of women surveyed
had been sexually harassed; a 1983 study found that 84 percent of Navy women sampled
had been victims of sexual harassment.
• The 1987 Study Group on the Progress of Women in the Navy found that over half of the 1,400 women interviewed had been victims of sexual harassment while in the Navy.
• The Department of Defense Task Force on Women in the Military in January, 1988, reported that sexual harassment remains a “significant problem” in all the services.
• A 1990 study of over 20,000 military personnel conducted by the Defense Manpower Data Center found that nearly 2 out of every 3 women were sexually harassed in the prior
year.
While the typical victim of sexual harassment is an enlisted woman, twelve percent of female victims are officers. At least fourteen women assaulted in the Tailhook incident were
officers.
Sexual Harassment of Women in the Military

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby RayC » 22 Dec 2009 10:27

Tailhook scandal
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

.....In September 1991, the 35th annual symposium in Las Vegas featured a two-day debrief on Navy and Marine Corps aviation in Operation Desert Storm. It was the largest such meeting yet held, with some 4,000 attendees: active, reserve, and retired personnel.

According to a Department of Defense (DoD) report, 83 women and 7 men stated that they had been victims of sexual assault and harassment during the meeting. Several participants later stated that a number of flag officers attending the meetings were aware of the sexual assaults, but did nothing to stop them.[1]

More at:

Tailhook Scandal


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Re: Women in Combat

Postby Riza Zaman » 22 Dec 2009 22:01

Gagan wrote:{PS on a humorous note: My previous boss had to undergo a coronary bypass surgery, and he was back on the job in 35 days. His secretary had an abortion just before his surgery, but she availed of her full 60 days leave. He pointed this out to every person who dropped by his office to enquire about his health :rotfl: }


Gagan, maybe the next time you should point out to your previous boss than undergoing an abortion takes a huge pyschological toll on a pregnant woman. The "humor" is distasteful and disrepectful. Sorry to go off topic.

There are valid concerns about women in the air force, esp. pregnancy. However, arguments like how will women be treated as POWs, their effectivness in combat, etc. seem extremely superficial. Indian women don't need to be molly-coddled - they just need opportunities and a level playing field. Indira Gandhi, Indra Noori, the Rani of Jhansi ...

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby Rahul M » 22 Dec 2009 22:21

gagan ji, I have read reports that physically at least women make quite good fighter pilots, since smaller body size helps them handle G-forces better. the rest comes down to reflexes and quick processing of information, in none of these women fare worse in general than men. the situation is markedly different IMO from employing women as infantry soldiers where strength and endurance make all the difference.
women supposedly make better chopper pilots then men owing to more nimble wrists.

as far child-bearing goes it is quite clear IAF can't keep it unregulated, but why it would necessarily mean any serious degradation in capabilities for a focused career-woman is not clear. there are many woman athletes who return to top level sports after child-birth, there's no reason why it should be any different for pilots.

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby Gagan » 22 Dec 2009 23:24

Riza Zaman wrote:Gagan, maybe the next time you should point out to your previous boss than undergoing an abortion takes a huge pyschological toll on a pregnant woman. The "humor" is distasteful and disrepectful. Sorry to go off topic.

I'm sorry if you feel offended. Let me explain why this was humorous.
This was not an abortion as in the demise of a child, in the lady's case, but the termination of an unplanned pregnancy apparently, at least this was what she claimed in the leave application. And there were several prior instances of unplanned leaves by this individual.
I think you'll agree that the psychological impact a heart surgery has on a person is very significant also. It is emotionally, mentally and physically very hard on the person and the family, specially if the main breadwinner is the patient.

Yes Rahul ji,
Shiney Wilson nee Abraham won a gold while she was pregnant. Link
In one of the highlights of her career, at the Asian Track & Field Meet at Delhi in 1989, inspite of being pregnant, she came second in the 800 metres behind Sun Sumei of China, but was awarded the title when Sun Sumei tested positive.

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby ASPuar » 22 Dec 2009 23:47

I dont understand how giving birth while winning an olympic medal/running the country etc etc are in any way similar to facing a combat situation? Know it all's who would like to educate the public at large about the Indian woman (a patronizing concept in its own right), can please understand that "the Indian woman" as a concept is held in very high regard on this forum, and in our country. Whether or not they should be allowed in combat should not become some sort of weird PC rallying point for the womens rights brigades. There are many other frontiers for women, much more pressing, where the efforts of these so called activists would be better directed.

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby pmund » 22 Dec 2009 23:59

Rahul, you are right in that people who are shorter (Indian women, for instance have an average height of 152 cm the min for military entry) tend to handle g-forces better.

http://www.wired.com/science/discoverie ... 6/01/70006
http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/ ... rview/764/

But the concerns regarding field duty and what will happen if they are captured are real. Let's face it. Our country cannot stomach someone's mother, wife, sister or daughter in enemy captivity. Hell, we could not handle the Kandahar hijack and literally escorted dreaded terrorists to freedom. It's a mistake that has cost so many innocent lives since. How would have the media reacted if a 20-something girl had been caught by jihadis instead of Nachiketa???

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby Rahul M » 23 Dec 2009 00:05

who the *** (pardon the expression) cares about PC women rights brigades ? why is this irrelevant strawman being brought here ?

what we are discussing here is why exactly a significant portion of India's citizenry should be denied access to the job of defending the nation. till now, given the arguments proffered, a reasonable case can be made against recruitment of women as infantry soldiers and as submariners.
IMHO the same can't be said for employing them as fighter pilots. a number of women are already flying transports and helos for the IAF and IA, a couple have even topped(or top 3'ed) the courses at AFA IIRC, yet they are not allowed in the fighter branch. this when the IAF is facing a significant crisis filling up officer numbers.
the question is this, is this policy justifiable ? if so, the reasons please. simply rhetoric or strawman arguments about activists doesn't cut it.

just FWIW, women pilots have faced "combat situation" in the past and came out with flying colours. the women fighter pilots of the red air force in WW2 gave an excellent account of themselves. even during kargil, there were a handful of women chopper pilots doing cas-evac in the warzone. I haven't read anywhere that they performed poorly.
flying a single engine chopper at over 14,000 feet under heavy shelling is certainly "combat situation" in my book.

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby Rahul M » 23 Dec 2009 00:19

pmund wrote:
But the concerns regarding field duty and what will happen if they are captured are real.
Let's face it. Our country cannot stomach someone's mother, wife, sister or daughter in enemy captivity. Hell, we could not handle the Kandahar hijack and literally escorted dreaded terrorists to freedom. It's a mistake that has cost so many innocent lives since. How would have the media reacted if a 20-something girl had been caught by jihadis instead of Nachiketa???

well, I'm not saying it will be easy. but at the end of it, is her life any more valuable than say Lt Kalia's ? if people believe in equality, then equality it must be.
the case is different from the kandahar incident since a military officer gets into the job fully knowing what he/she is signing up for.

forget fighter pilots, what about the transports and the helos. what if a transport piloted by a female officer is shot down in enemy territory during an insertion and the lady is captured ? yet the IAF does employ women as transport pilots at the moment. will IAF pick and choose pilots for missions during war depending on gender and not competence ?
why is the fighter branch any different ? (yes, I understand the casualty rate is higher but at the end of the day a POW from a transport wing is same as another POW from a fighter wing)

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby negi » 23 Dec 2009 01:51

I agree however as I have stated before the benchmark for female pilots should not be different from that of male pilots when it comes to qualifying for a fighter pilot's slot , let the female candidates slug it out along side their male colleagues and merit alone be the sole factor for the selection and not some compulsion of having x% of the force being comprised of females.

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby Jagan » 23 Dec 2009 05:38

Rahul M wrote:
pmund wrote:[b]

forget fighter pilots, what about the transports and the helos. what if a transport piloted by a female officer is shot down in enemy territory during an insertion and the lady is captured ? yet the IAF does employ women as transport pilots at the moment. will IAF pick and choose pilots for missions during war depending on gender and not competence ?
why is the fighter branch any different ? (yes, I understand the casualty rate is higher but at the end of the day a POW from a transport wing is same as another POW from a fighter wing)

Gagan's post said most of it better than anything.

Additionally I dont think the IAF is bothered much about loss in combat but more of the cost of replacing a fighter pilot who has to retire due to health issues.

Case in point that the IAF is not scared of sending women into the frontline - AM N Menon recently said that two lady pilots took part in Kargil ops with a Cheetah H/C Unit flying many sorties to forward areas - essentially in a combat role - the media glosses over the fact that they were the first women combatants from the AF because they were not flying fighters.

Fighter Pilots are held to a higher standard - in terms of their physical fitness and irreplaceability. I have seen male fighter pilots lose their fitness categories even though they tried their best to maintain it. A single ejection sometimes relegates a fighter pilot to Transports forever, and maybe even a grounding.

The likelyhood of a female fighter pilot not returning to her fighter level flying category after a pregnancy are higher. In t/ports and helis it may not matter.

I am sure there will be some highly motivated women out there who can achieve their previous fighter flying cat after a pregnancy. But that doesnt disguise the fact that you have to go through a lot of them to find those few.

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby shiv » 23 Dec 2009 06:17


This one IMO is the most informative. I was particularly fascinated by:

Under oath, Toffler also admitted that West Point has identified 120 physical differences between men and women, plus psychological differences. This, testified Toffler, has prompted West Point to make its physical training easier to accommodate women. According to Toffler:
Cadets no longer train in combat boots because women were suffering higher rates of injury; cadets now wear jogging shoes.
Women cadets take "comparable" or "equivalent" training when they cannot meet standards in some events. In practice this means that West Point males must do pull-ups while females merely do "flex-arm hangs."
The famed and valuable "recondo" endurance week during which cadets used to march with full backpacks and undergo other strenuous activities has been eliminated, as have upper-body strength events in the obstacle course.
Running with heavy weapons has been eliminated because it is "unrealistic and therefore unappropriate" to expect women to do it.
Where men and women are required to perform the same exercises, women's scores are adjusted to give them more weight.
Today's West Point males are not increasing their cardio-vascular efficiency as much as their predecessors did because they are insufficiently challenged by physical training standards geared to include women.
In load-bearing tasks (carrying and lifting), 50 percent of the women score below the bottom 5 percent of the men.
Peer ratings have been eliminated because women were scoring too low.
Fraternization between the sexes is occurring on campus. Said Toffler under oath: "I think it would be fair to say that certain forms of sexual activity can have a place on the grounds at the Military Academy." ( Ibid., p. 585-586.)
The cadet honor system has been weakened by making breaches of the code no longer grounds for expulsion in most cases.
In addition to Toffler's sworn, unprecedented look at how women actually have affected West Point, shreds of other data indicate that sending women into combat creates serious problems. Examples:

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby shiv » 23 Dec 2009 06:33

RayC wrote:Women in Combat


This document has a pdf of the medical risks to pregnant women in a nuclear sub.
http://cmrlink.org/CMRNotes/HPScott 061200.pdf

The document makes an interesting sociological statement:
With the assignment of mixed gender crews on submarines it would not be unreasonable to expect the occurrence of pregnancies and associated obstetrical complications in some of the female crew members such as ectopic pregnancy.
<snip>
Women comprise of about 10 percent of the active duty Navy, and about 9 percent of that number is pregnant at any one time.


Indian attitudes towards sex are different from American attitudes. A far higher percentage of girls of age 16 in the US would have has sex than 16 year old Indian girls in the US itself, leave alone Indian girls in India. Also sex before marriage is far less prevalent among Indian girls although extramarital sex among married Indian women might possibly be fairly high.

These sociological factors will have a definite bearing on mixed crews in Indian submarines apart from physical constraints like crew space and privacy.

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby RayC » 23 Dec 2009 10:33

In submarines because of constricted space, they have a system of 'hot bunking' i.e. the same bunk is shared in turns after their watch i.e. duty.

The physical aspects of training for Indian women officer cadets is much less strenuous and demanding than that for men officer cadets.

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby Yogesh » 23 Dec 2009 11:07

shiv wrote:
Indian attitudes towards sex are different from American attitudes. A far higher percentage of girls of age 16 in the US would have has sex than 16 year old Indian girls in the US itself, leave alone Indian girls in India. Also sex before marriage is far less prevalent among Indian girls although extramarital sex among married Indian women might possibly be fairly high.

These sociological factors will have a definite bearing on mixed crews in Indian submarines apart from physical constraints like crew space and privacy.


Shiv, I think the pre-marriage sex thing is not a big thing now evev in India if you look at metros especially and the attitude towards it also has changed a lot in the last 4-5 years of this decade to be specific. Although country side seems to be not affected too much of this character bankruptcy.

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby pgbhat » 23 Dec 2009 11:08

Actually I recall seeing Burka's program on this issue. There was this one guy who was talking about how in India usually men and women don't train together hence they cannot serve together. Submarine and tanks cannot have mixed units under such circumstances. May be we need to first have an all women unit, in medical corp for a start. :-?

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby SandeepS » 23 Dec 2009 16:49

I came across this news article from NY Times - http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/17/us/17women.html; on vagueness of US military policy on deploying US women combatants in action/active areas and various kinds of dangers/hardships faced by them. Those interested can browse for rest of the articles in that series on NYT on US women combatants.

Given that US has been deploying women combatants/support personnel overseas for well over half a century and has done truckloads of research, it is surprising that US DoD is still getting caught out. There is a lesson somewhere for the decision makers in South Block that they need to take heed of some of the broader issues that were raised by AM Barabora and other senior officers. Working out the decision for deployment of women in operations/combat arms based on physical endurance alone will trip Indian govt/forces and even worse, if its only done for political correctness/image or to appease Burkha Dutt and her ilk.

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby pmund » 23 Dec 2009 17:39

Rahul ji, why an officer, every jawan's life is precious. For that matter, every life is precious. My point was about the social and psychological aspect of a situation like that of Lt Kalia or Nachiketa. Our society isn't the type to handle the emotional quotient of such situations. Isn't there a reason why we don't have women bus drivers or cabbies in every metro? In Israel, women serve in tank units. That's the ideal we need to look up to, perhaps. But for that we must prepare our society first, starting with our families. I guess the process of breaking the glass ceiling in the military, esp in combat units, should be a gradual. I, for one, am all for gender equality and equal opportunity. I put my kid sister in taekwondo against all opposition from relatives and 'well-meaning' neighbours who were aghast. She should be learning music or dance, they said. She ended up being a national champ. It changed her life :)

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby shiv » 23 Dec 2009 20:12

Yogesh wrote:Shiv, I think the pre-marriage sex thing is not a big thing now evev in India if you look at metros especially and the attitude towards it also has changed a lot in the last 4-5 years of this decade to be specific. Although country side seems to be not affected too much of this character bankruptcy.


No. On the whole Indians girls are still not having sex as freely as girls in the West. Attitudes have changed but society does not allow the kind of situations in which this can happen easily. If you look at statistics in the West I think something like 50% of girls have had intercourse by age 16. This is nothing like India. If you bring up a daughter or two in India you get a very good idea of exactly what percentage of your daughter's friends and their sisters are doing this. And when you talk to your peers and relatives in the US you get an idea of their fears and what they do to cope with those fears.

So attitudes may be changing, but India is hardly America.

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby shiv » 23 Dec 2009 20:18

RayC wrote:The physical aspects of training for Indian women officer cadets is much less strenuous and demanding than that for men officer cadets.

The fact that men's requirements have been watered down in some places in the US is an interesting social commentary on the US where the pressure of trying to make women==men is skewing training. Once again - if you bring up children you can clearly see how the boys become so strong and athletic and the girls, even if strong and athletic cannot match the springy strength and stamina that boys/young men achieve.

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby Craig Alpert » 23 Dec 2009 20:57

Indian Army's woman officer arrested for a day
The officer was later released following the instructions of the general-officer in commanding of Eastern Command. This is the first incident of a woman army officer being put under arrest. The officer was not identified.

Talk about changing times!

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby Lalmohan » 24 Dec 2009 22:35

shiv wrote:
RayC wrote:The physical aspects of training for Indian women officer cadets is much less strenuous and demanding than that for men officer cadets.

The fact that men's requirements have been watered down in some places in the US is an interesting social commentary on the US where the pressure of trying to make women==men is skewing training. Once again - if you bring up children you can clearly see how the boys become so strong and athletic and the girls, even if strong and athletic cannot match the springy strength and stamina that boys/young men achieve.


slightly OT, but Dr-ji, arent girls below 9-10 years stronger and fitter (and smarter) than same age boys on the whole? its only after puberty that boys develop the stronger physical characteristics?

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby Rahul M » 25 Dec 2009 00:08

http://chhindits.blogspot.com/2009/12/c ... ficer.html

Court Martial Places JAG Lady Officer Under Arrest

In an unprecedented move, for the first time in the history of Indian Army, a Court – martial placed JAG lady officer, a witness, under arrest.

Pursuant to orders, Maj Rajshri of Judge Advocate General’s Dept, AAG (Legal) Headquarters Bengal Area, Kolkata, appeared as a witness to depose before a General Court Martial, being held at Panagarh(West Bengal) under Eastern Command where Lt Col Virender Mohan, AJAG HQ Eastern Command was the Judge Advocate.

During her deposition, it is alleged that on some issue verbal altercation took place between the court and Maj Rajshri. Taking it as Contempt of Court, an offence punishable under Army Act Section 59, the Court - martial placed her under arrest which has created a sensation in the Command.

Maj Rajshri is a responsible officer of Judge Advocate General’s Dept and holds very important position of legal adviser to the GoC Bengal Area. In the history of Court-martials, a witness has never been placed under arrest.
...........................
Lt Col Virender Mohan is the same officer against whom Capt Rajni Sharma had submitted complaint of sexual harassment while they were posted at HQ 16 CORPS in J&K. The matter was investigated by a Court of Inquiry where Maj Rajshri had also made statement. He was indicted and punished with ‘Recordable Severe Displeasure’ because of which he could not get further promotion. The action of placing her under arrest appears to be tainted with malafide intentions of Lt Col Virender Mohan. Under normal circumstances, she wound not have been arrested.

LtCol Virender Mohan was SO-Legal in IMA, Dehradun, when I was employed there as a Directing Staff-Academics, and the officer has had a reputation of misbehaviour with ladies, right from that time. I've worked with him and therefore I know him well.

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby shiv » 25 Dec 2009 06:20

Lalmohan wrote:slightly OT, but Dr-ji, arent girls below 9-10 years stronger and fitter (and smarter) than same age boys on the whole? its only after puberty that boys develop the stronger physical characteristics?



Well I believe there is some information suggesting that female infants are stronger, but after that there is no significant difference until puberty except that girls could have a growth spurt starting earlier - leading them to be taller earlier, but but after age 15-16 boys become tough hunks. OT but female hormonal changes in girls become apparent as early as 8-9 years of age - but boys are still babies (ashna fodder for our dear neighbors) until 12 or so after which they start sprouting moustaches and shooting up.

It is pretty clear that females are very tough - as tough as men in terms of the functions they are required to perform. But there is no avoiding the fact that men are physically bigger and have a greater proportion of muscle in their body mass. This generally seems to be true for a whole lot of mammals and I wonder if this gets forgotten in equal equalitis.

I am currently floating in a state of half relief and half irritation in the area that I live. I had been somewhat saddened by the thought that wild monkeys were disappearing from urban Bangalore. But a JDS minister who lives nearby feeds monkeys and they are back in the area with a bang and are a menace and I often have to be the alpha male and chase them away. Typically there is a group of young monkeys and a female with a baby and a male who is 1.5 times larger than the biggest female and has huge canines. When I am chasing them off the male never runs off right away. He actually advances towards me, with teeth bared and making a hissing sound. He retreats only if I have a stick or an air rifle in my hand or else he is intimidating enough to make me do downhill skiing. Monkeys seem to have no issues with playing separate male-female roles.

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby VijayKumarSinha » 25 Dec 2009 07:25

A lot of the arguments against women in fighter aircraft role are centered around the possiblity of them being captured by the enemy. Why is it then not possible to deploy women fighter pilots for point defence role, deep inside India, for cities such as Banglore, Chennai and Agra? I don't think they would be entering into enemy territory if they are deployed in such a way, but are very likely to engage Paki, Panda pilots coming in to attack these targets. This would also free up other fighter pilots, who could then be deployed closer to our borders for more offensive roles.

Also, I just want to say that countries that have won wars against all odds like Russia against Germany (especially in Stalingrad against the 3rd army) and Vietnam have done so with a lot of help from women in their ranks. In an all out war against China, this is exactly the kind of fighting that we'll be involved in. Have any of you guys seen the documentary '2 million minutes'? In it they show how in China military training is imparted to all women before they enter colleges.

I think history has shown us time and again that fully trained and armed women fight as hard and as long as men. Often, it is they who don't surrender because they know what would happen if they do. If women are given the same kind of training as men and given the same kind of weapons, I don't think they will feel like abla nari's during the time of war.

In order to acertain woman's physical capabilities if we look at athletes(in whom both male and female physique is pushed to the limit) we will find that
men have a very narrow margin of victory over women in all atheltic competitions. Even though in athletic terms that
margin might be alot but for all practical purposes that margin is quite small. Also, In Iron man races
women ROUTINELY beat men.They shoot as well as men. In rock climbing top woman climbers are almost always in top 6 in terms of overall time and thus beat dozens of men in doing so.



Also, I think it should be up to women to decide how they view the risk of capture for themselves. I am sure that Jean D'Arc
had at some point pondered over it and still decided to go into battle. If this is such a big concern, why not have
them sign a paper which asks them if they want active frontline/submarine duties.
Last edited by VijayKumarSinha on 25 Dec 2009 08:22, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby Gaur » 25 Dec 2009 08:21

VijayKumarSinha wrote:A lot of the arguments against women in fighter aircraft role are centered around the possiblity of them being captured by the enemy. Why is it then not possible to deploy women fighter pilots for point defence role, deep inside India, for cities such as Banglore, Chennai and Agra? I don't think they would be entering into enemy territory if they are deployed in such a way, but are very likely to engage Paki, Panda pilots coming in to attack these targets. This would also free up other fighter pilots, who could then be deployed closer to our borders for more offensive roles.

I think you have misunderstanding relating to point defence role. A fighter pilot doing point defence, would not be flying over Banglore, but near the border denying the opposite air force to gain entry. If TSP fighters were to come near Banglore (or even Agra for that matter), they would have achieved near total air superiority over India and we would be in deep trouble.

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby VijayKumarSinha » 25 Dec 2009 08:34

Gaur wrote:
I think you have misunderstanding relating to point defence role. A fighter pilot doing point defence, would not be flying over Banglore, but near the border denying the opposite air force to gain entry. If TSP fighters were to come near Banglore (or even Agra for that matter), they would have achieved near total air superiority over India and we would be in deep trouble.


Wait, didn't the paki's attack Agra in 71, by using surprise? That was before we gained air-superiority over them. Doing that may be harder for them, now that we have AWACS. But, its not just Paki's that I was talking about its Panda too that I mentioned. They have numerical superiority over us. So, do we have the resources to stop every single one of their planes during the first few ours of the war? That is why we need women in every single combat role possible for them. Also, isn't the first sqad. of Tejas supposed to be based in Sulur, well within India? I don't think they'll be attacking Paki's by flying from there (even with refuelling), so why not have them patrolling our air space instead looking for sneaky Pakistani Air Farce planes trying to get to our major cities? Just like the coalition air force did in the 2 Iraq wars by patrolling the borders of Iraq while USAF and RAF struck targets within Iraq.

How about having the female fighters stationed in Andaman & Nicobar on top of this? Are they likely to be captured over there too?

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby Gaur » 25 Dec 2009 09:18

^^
I fully agree with you that we should have female fighter pilots (though I will differ on Army). I was simply pointing out that the point defence role you mentioned is not performed as you say IMHO.

VijayKumarSinha wrote:Wait, didn't the paki's attack Agra in 71, by using surprise? That was before we gained air-superiority over them.


This is not 1971. The radar and sattellite tech at this time will not allow a surprise attack. Plus, as you yourself mentioned, there are aewacs now.

But, its not just Paki's that I was talking about its Panda too that I mentioned. They have numerical superiority over us.

No, they do not. Count the no of planes which can be used in a combat role against us and you would understand. I would have explained more but that would be OT. But if you disagree, there is another thread to discuss this.

Also, isn't the first sqad. of Tejas supposed to be based in Sulur, well within India? I don't think they'll be attacking Paki's by flying from there (even with refuelling), so why not have them patrolling our air space instead looking for sneaky Pakistani Air Farce planes trying to get to our major cities?

IMHO, bases well into the home territory are required in case of a surprise missile attack. But during war, Tejas would certainly not be flying from Sulur. They would be based closer to the border at that time. This was certainly the case during Kargil.

Just like the coalition air force did in the 2 Iraq wars by patrolling the borders of Iraq while USAF and RAF struck targets within Iraq.

As you said, patrolling the borders. Exactly my point.

How about having the female fighters stationed in Andaman & Nicobar on top of this? Are they likely to be captured over there too?

I completely agree with you here.

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby anyusharma » 25 Dec 2009 11:05

I found an interesting article about the role of women in combat.

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Women+In+ ... 1611411618

Women also make better pilots than men. Ironically it is some of the same physical traits that Kathleen uses to rule them out of combat that make them such good fliers. They have less muscle and bone mass than comparable men making it easier to fit in to cockpits. Women also tend to have better hand-eye coordination and reaction times making them more effective as fighter pilots.


A few years back I saw a documentary on Discovery which was talking about the same things as this article but to further augment it also said that women perform better during high Gs.

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby RayC » 25 Dec 2009 12:02

I am not too sure I have understood what is 'point defence'. CAP?

A country like India goes in for multirole aircraft. Therefore, to confine a certain number of aircraft merely to defend cities and not be used for any other role, would not be optimising the meagre resources.

I would not give credence to claims that women join the Airforce knowing fully well what will happen if they are captured over enemy territory. I read that as an opinion of an Airforce lady officer. I will be frank. It is easier to talk boldly in peace environment. It is a totally different kettle of fish in combat.

Examples of Russia and China should not be equated with that of the Indian ethos. There are reasons for their actions as already someone has mentioned.

I read a news report of poor boys who live on railway station and collect garbage and bottle and sell being sodomised by the police. There was no hue and cry. Yet, rightfully there was an uproar over the Lal, Matoo and now the Rathore policeman cases. Our ethos is different. We have a greater respect for women mentally and psychologically even if sometimes it is not displayed publicly!

One wonders why brave men have bolted from battle. If they were true to their words of bravery and martial class brouhaha, they should have stuck on and fought to the end. I could cite cases, but that would not be proper.

Words are easily spoken, deed speaks otherwise.

Read the three links I have appended which Shiv alone seems to have read!

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby Manish_Sharma » 25 Dec 2009 14:51

shiv wrote:I am currently floating in a state of half relief and half irritation in the area that I live. I had been somewhat saddened by the thought that wild monkeys were disappearing from urban Bangalore. But a JDS minister who lives nearby feeds monkeys and they are back in the area with a bang and are a menace and I often have to be the alpha male and chase them away. Typically there is a group of young monkeys and a female with a baby and a male who is 1.5 times larger than the biggest female and has huge canines. When I am chasing them off the male never runs off right away. He actually advances towards me, with teeth bared and making a hissing sound. He retreats only if I have a stick or an air rifle in my hand or else he is intimidating enough to make me do downhill skiing. Monkeys seem to have no issues with playing separate male-female roles.


Sorry for the OT, just wanted to share until last year my aunt living in Ram Vihar Ghaziabad was facing the same problem and then a new neighbour moved in the house next to hers. They had a dalmatian dog with livered color dots, and even if dog is just sitting on the terrace the whole gang of monkeys stay away from adjoining 3-4 houses to all sides.

The funny thing is these monkeys even taken on German shephard living in neighbourhood, but so intimidated by this not so big dalmatian, some people say 'cause the dots look similar to leopard :)

Shiv maybe get a dalmatian then the problem maybe solved :)

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Re:

Postby VijayKumarSinha » 25 Dec 2009 18:18

Gaur wrote:I fully agree with you that we should have female fighter pilots (though I will differ on Army). I was simply pointing out that the point defence role you mentioned is not performed as you say IMHO.

Gaur, I don’t see your definition of point defence anywhere on the web. On the contrary this definition on Wikipedia is more like what I have said: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point-defence
(It has been quoted from a book, so please don’t call me a noob for mentioning it :mrgreen: )

As per it, Point defence could be as little as a ship, building, or airfield. In our case it could be providing 24/7 patrolling over our nuclear installations, ordnance factories, coastal regions.

RayC wrote:
A country like India goes in for multirole aircraft. Therefore, to confine a certain number of aircraft merely to defend cities and not be used for any other role, would not be optimising the meagre resources.

They are plenty of roles that pilots stationed in certain areas in India could perform. It is not just the cities that they would be defending but hundreds of kilometres surrounding those cities that would fall under their umbrella. Also, if it is considered “safe” for women to be deployed on A&N then they should also be good enough for our aircraft carriers, or our LRMR or providing escort to AWACS. Clearly, there are many roles during which women would not be susceptible to capture if shot down. During Kargil, most of the Mig-29’s escorting the Jag’s, Mig-21’s, and Mig-27’s stayed well within Indian territories and I think most of their sorties were just based on the idea of providing air presence in that area. Such, roles can be performed by women. All I am saying is that, until such time when we are done emasculating ourselves for putting women in harm’s way, the air force should find “multirole” niches such as A&N, Carriers, itiyadi, where women could be deployed so as to approach our full national potential.

RayC wrote:Examples of Russia and China should not be equated with that of the Indian ethos. There are reasons for their actions as already someone has mentioned.
Read the three links I have appended which Shiv alone seems to have read!

Sir, it seems to me that for the sake of an argument you are ignoring evidence to the contrary here. How is the Indian ethos different? Is it not that, Sri Lankan Tamils (who for all practical purposes are Indian), armed and trained women? Is it not that Maoists in Nepal and India are also training women? The more we deprive women of an opportunity to fight and to learn how to fight the more we deprive ourselves of a fighting arm. What I am saying is that we don't have to wait to use them as a last resort, we need to let them and start letting them enter all possible roles.

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby shiv » 25 Dec 2009 20:51

It is fine (IMO) to let women into "combat" roles provided one can be certain that women will perfom that job as well as men. There is no point in bluffing ourselves that women are equal in every way to men. Women may have superior intellect and superior ability to withstand G forces - but they are physically weaker for other roles. War does not allow bluffing and pussyfooting. As long as the task can be performed equally well by men or women it does not matter who does it.

Some things tend to get forgotten if we start getting emotional about women. The armed forces have a minimum height and weight requirement for entry. This is because physical size matters.

The Indian army has a height requirement of 157 cm for men and 152 for women.

Now look at the following charts. You find that if you keep the minimum as 157 for women 75% of Indian women can't get in, while 100% of Indian men will qualify. In fact 75% of Indian men are in the 172-3 cm range. So you can easily get bigger men. Very few Indian women reach 170 cm.

But keeping minimum as 152 cm for women allows more than 50% of Indian woman to meet the standard.

So there is a lowering of physical standards for women. If that is based merely on sentiment that they are as capable as men, then that sentiment must not be pushed to absurd limits like it is in the US of A.

Image
Image

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby shiv » 26 Dec 2009 07:31

Wars and human evolution have occurred side by side and evolution has had enough time to test all kinds of doctrines of war.

"War" again can vary from short sharp engagements or campaigns to events that last years or perhaps decades, to civilizational conflict in which one human groups has tried to eliminate the other.

"Civilizational conflict" in which one human group has tried to eliminate the other was easier some centuries ago when human populations were smaller. Most wars nowadays tend to be the first two categories.

The role of women in each of these three types of wars is interesting.

In "short sharp" wars - (Arab-Israeli 6 day war, Bangladesh liberation, 1965 Indo-pak, Gulf war I, Falklands etc) women who were pre selected to a given standard and pre-trained can play and have played a role.

In long drawn out conflicts in which the number of men is inadequate - many wars have seen the induction of women fighters who have played stellar roles. Such wars include WW2 (Russia), the Vietnam war (North Vietnam) and the LTTE. Women have typically been pulled into battle in such wars because men have been in short supply - either from death or injury or because the battle is too vast compared to the population fighting the battle. The female combatants have been an indicator of some desperation. In WW2 Russia and Vietnam the side that inducted women fighters eventually prevailed (or "won" if you like that word although the meaning of winning is debatable). It is interesting to me to see that certain nations, even in the face of defeat and heavy odds did not induct female combatants. These include Germany in WW1 and WW2 and Britain in WW1 despite a large number of men being killed/wounded. Bout both these countries employed women liberally in support roles inside the military and industry. The US too employed women in support roles liberally in WW2.

I believe that the long drawn out wars of the 20th century were examples of modern wars where military-industrial economies fought with each other. Being unable to support industry would mean losing the war, so although women were not in combat roles the war would just as surely have been lost of they had not played a role in industry.

The point here is that in moder wars, industry and technical skills play a major role in victory or defeat. It is one thing to ask that women be assigned combat roles. But we also need to look at India's industrial structure and ask how many women we employ and how many women can be employed giving them the special needs that they might have while playing those roles. Having a woman as head of India's missile development team is heartening - as is the number of women in BEL and perhaps HAL.

The exact point in time when a long drawn out war becomes a civilizational battle for survival is difficult to pinpoint - but one can easily guess the factors that come into play. For a civilization to survive it must produce babies who are able to grow up into adults who can, in turn reproduce. In wars that last a mere 10 years this is rarely a problem unless a population is wiped out. The production of babies requires at least one woman per baby. The number of males required is smaller. If one is preparing for some kind of ultimate civilizational battle it would make eminent sense to ensure that women are heavily represented in non combat and support roles such as industry so that they are also available to keep the civilization alive while the men go get themselves killed.

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Re: Re:

Postby Gaur » 26 Dec 2009 07:51

VijayKumarSinha wrote:
Gaur wrote:I fully agree with you that we should have female fighter pilots (though I will differ on Army). I was simply pointing out that the point defence role you mentioned is not performed as you say IMHO.

Gaur, I don’t see your definition of point defence anywhere on the web. On the contrary this definition on Wikipedia is more like what I have said: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point-defence
(It has been quoted from a book, so please don’t call me a noob for mentioning it :mrgreen: )

Yes, you are right. In simple terms, point defence means defending a single area/installation/ship etc. As you mention, this is what wikipedia says and I agree.
What I am saying is that IMHO, in modern scenario, point defence roles are more likely to occur close to the border than well into Indian territory (unless we are attacked by a foe with scerious air superiority over us). The exception being sea based assets. IMHO, air defence at borders is more likely to be of emphasis than point defense.
Perhaps I was mistaken, but I got the feeling through your examples that, you considered point defence only when aircrafts were defending a point well into our territory.
But again, this is OT here. If this topic warrants some further discussion, then another thread can be used.

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Re: Re:

Postby RayC » 26 Dec 2009 13:58

VijayKumarSinha wrote:

They are plenty of roles that pilots stationed in certain areas in India could perform. It is not just the cities that they would be defending but hundreds of kilometres surrounding those cities that would fall under their umbrella. Also, if it is considered “safe” for women to be deployed on A&N then they should also be good enough for our aircraft carriers, or our LRMR or providing escort to AWACS. Clearly, there are many roles during which women would not be susceptible to capture if shot down. During Kargil, most of the Mig-29’s escorting the Jag’s, Mig-21’s, and Mig-27’s stayed well within Indian territories and I think most of their sorties were just based on the idea of providing air presence in that area. Such, roles can be performed by women. All I am saying is that, until such time when we are done emasculating ourselves for putting women in harm’s way, the air force should find “multirole” niches such as A&N, Carriers, itiyadi, where women could be deployed so as to approach our full national potential.



I am not disputing what you have stated. All I am stating is that the IAF is constrained for a variety of reasons to use aircrafts for a specific task alone. They operate multirole.


Sir, it seems to me that for the sake of an argument you are ignoring evidence to the contrary here. How is the Indian ethos different? Is it not that, Sri Lankan Tamils (who for all practical purposes are Indian), armed and trained women? Is it not that Maoists in Nepal and India are also training women? The more we deprive women of an opportunity to fight and to learn how to fight the more we deprive ourselves of a fighting arm. What I am saying is that we don't have to wait to use them as a last resort, we need to let them and start letting them enter all possible roles.


To be frank, I do not know the ethos of the SL Tamils or Nepalis. However, when the going gets tough, everything is fine. I, IMHO, are not in such a desperate situation. or are we?

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby Gagan » 26 Dec 2009 18:25

Shiv saar,
That height factor will itself be a factor for fighter aircraft duties. The set of physical requirements in terms of height are supposedly rigid for that job. Can't have too short a person (man/woman) in the cockpit.

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Re: Women in Combat

Postby shiv » 26 Dec 2009 21:29

Gagan wrote:Shiv saar,
That height factor will itself be a factor for fighter aircraft duties. The set of physical requirements in terms of height are supposedly rigid for that job. Can't have too short a person (man/woman) in the cockpit.

True. We had a long discussion on this in days gone by (In an earlier avatar of this thread). One of the factors that was mentioned was the acceleration produced by ejection seats - which were designed for some percentile (I think 10 -90th percentile) of western men. That value actually excluded most Indian women whose body weights fall below the 10th percentile of Western men.

Another factor is the ability to reach controls and in older aircraft the force required to operate some controls.

But I think newer aircraft are being designed to incorporate women from conceptual state upwards.


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