Par U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Donald R. Allen — http://www.dvidshub.net/image/935698/aerial-refueling-f-35-lightning-ii-joint-strike-fighters-eglin-afb-fla#.UZyEMrVU8QY, Domaine public, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49689165
Emily Thompson has just made U.S. Air Force history. This F-35A pilot is the first woman to have led a mission with the US Air Force’s flagship fighter plane, reports Le Parisien. A breakthrough that could help to change mentalities in an environment that is reputed to be very masculine. But there was no indication that this pioneer would end up in a cockpit.
Originally an engineer in the U.S. Army, Emily Thompson realized she could become a pilot. It was on board an F-16 that she made her first flying experiences, as the Business Insider points out. She then joined the very exclusive club of women F-35 pilots. For her first mission at the controls of an F-35A, Emily Thompson was accompanied by an all-women technical team.
– Credit : adobe Stock –
Mission kept secret
It departed from Al Dhafra Air Force Base in the United Arab Emirates in early June and then reached a location not disclosed by the US Air Force. “Being the first woman is a great honor for me,” she said in an official statement. The opportunity for women to excel with the F-35s is truly there,” she said. Her code name, “Banzai,” reflects her energy in flight.
The F-35 fleet is made up of three different models. This fighter plane is the most expensive weapon ever created by the US military. Its development and supply cost more than 400 billion dollars, according to Bloomberg News. The United States then spent more than $1 trillion on fleet maintenance. The F-35 programme has been a major failure in recent years. In particular, there have been complaints about accuracy problems with the Lockheed Martin gun. 873 software defects were detected in 2018. Not enough to thwart the plans of Emily Thompson, who intends to capitalize on this first successful mission to make a name for herself in the US Air Force.