LONDON: Britain has got its first ever female Royal Air Force commander of a Tornado bomber squadron.
Wing Commander Nikki Thomas made history after her appointment and will lead a team of 250 fighter pilots to hit Islamic State targets.
Thomas said “I am so proud I can’t stop smiling from ear to ear. I have been flying for 12 years and faced many different tasks but nothing as busy and challenging as this – but commanding a Squadron is something that really excites me. The fact that I am a woman has personally made no difference, nobody treats me differently, and hopefully the more this influences girls to join the better, because this is a great job”.
Thirty-six-year-old Thomas will be posted in Norfolk and is an extensively trained combat soldier clocking up more than 35 missions in Afghanistan within three months alone.
In December 2009, she formed the RAF’s first all-female Tornado jet crew.
The latest move is a step closer to Britain allowing women to fight on the front line alongside men from 2016.
Defense secretary Michael Fallon recently confirmed that UK will end the army’s ban on women serving in frontline infantry roles.