Whilst female pilots have been successful in the transport, helicopter and maritime patrol domains, until now none have successfully graduated the Hornet Operational Conversion (OPCON) course to fly the Hornet.
Suggestions in the media and on social media that the course requirements were somehow watered-down to accommodate the female candidates have been debunked by Chief of Air Force AIRMSHL Leo Davies.
“Our first two female fighter pilots excelled on course and have earned their place,” he said in a December 17 statement. “Our pilots and crew are regarded around the world as worthy coalition partners of the highest calibre.”
Defence Minister Marise Payne congratulated the new pilots. “I congratulate the six graduates of our most recent Royal Australian Air Force fast jet pilot course – including the first two female pilots to graduate from this course,” she said in a December 17 Facebook post.
“Air Force Fighter Pilot selection and training is comprehensive and rigorous, and only a select few ever graduate as qualified Fighter Pilots. Years of dedication and hard work has brought these pilots to this point in their careers – and I wish to take this opportunity to thank them for providing such a fine example of the career opportunities and aspirations that can be realised in today’s Air Force. It’s an exciting time to be a member of the Air Force as our fifth-generation aircraft take RAAF operations to a new level.”