US Air Force pilot becomes the first woman to fly the F-35A stealth fighter into combat

U.S. Air Force captain Emily Thompson, 421st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron pilot, recently puts on flight equipment at the Aircrew Flight Equipment Shop at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates
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U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt.Kat Justen
A U.S. Air Force F-35A pilot recently became the first woman to fly the fifth generation stealth fighter, according to an Air Force press release.
Captain Emily Thompson, callsign "Banzai", made the historic flight in a fifth generation F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. It was her first combat mission on her first mission.
"It's a pretty big honor to be the first woman," Thompson said in a statement by the Air Force this week.
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A U.S. Air Force F-35A pilot recently made history when she was the first woman to fly the fighter into combat, the Air Force announced this week.
Captain Emily Thompson, callsign "Banzai", was based at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates and was the first pilot to fly a fifth generation F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. She is on her first mission and the flight was her first combat mission.
"As a first woman, it's a pretty big honor," said Thompson in a statement by the Air Force.
"There are many women who have come before me and there are many women who are already doing combat missions on other platforms," ​​she said. "Just being the person who gets this honor meant a lot at first."
Thompson, who had planned to become an engineer before realizing that she could fly instead of just repairing planes, started her career with the Air Force with the F-16 Fighting Falcons, but later switched to the F-35A, the variant of the Lockheed Martin Stealth Fighter built for the Air Force.
Thompson recently wears her helmet before a mission at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt.Kat Justen
Thompson is part of a small group of female F-35 pilots, but she said that "the opportunity for women to really outdo the F-35 is definitely there."
The F-35, which is available in three different variants, is the most expensive weapon system in the history of the U.S. military, with expected total development and procurement costs of around $ 400 billion and operating and maintenance costs of around $ 1.2 trillion. Dollar, Bloomberg Recently reported news citing Pentagon ratings.
The stealth fighter F-35 first entered combat with the Israeli Air Force in May 2018 when IAF Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin proudly announced that Israel was "the first country in the world to use the F-35 for operational activities."
A few months later, in September 2018, the U.S. first battled the advanced fighter jet with a Marine Corps F-35B from the amphibious assault ship USS Essex to hit Taliban targets in Afghanistan. The U.S. Air Force F-35As flew its first combat operations against ISIS in Iraq in April 2019.
The Air Force, citing operational security concerns, refused to provide specific details about Thompson's flight, merely stating that it took place in early June.
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