MANILA – A Filipina has qualified to join the ranks of the country's elite jet fighter pilots, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) announced on Thursday.
PAF spokesperson Col. Maynard Mariano said 1st Lt. Jul Laiza Mae B. Camposano-Beran qualified to fly into combat using the SIAI-Marchetti AS-211 light jet combat aircraft, which the PAF also uses in attack and surveillance missions.
"The PAF made history (by) having its own, first-ever female fighter pilot on March 30, 2022 from the 5th Fighter Wing at Basa Air Base, Floridablanca, Pampanga. 1st Lt. Jul Laiza Mae B. Camposano-Beran was checked out as the first female AS-211 combat mission ready pilot and wingman," he added.
Mariano said Camposano-Beran first flew alone or went "solo" in the AS-211 on December 5, 2020.
"May (she had) 150 plus hours na siya sa (in flying the) AS-211," he added in a message to the Philippine News Agency.
Mariano said Camposano-Berran underwent the "Jet Qualification Training" and the so-called "Intro To Fighter Fundamentals and Combat Crew Training" both in the AS-211, before flying "solo".
These trainings, which take around two years, are done to ensure that fighter pilot trainees like Camposano-Beran will not only know how to fly the aircraft but will also allow them to learn about fighting air-to-air, air-to-ground, and air-to-surface in the AS-211, he added.
"And while doing this, she was also flying with the FA-50 as a backseat pilot and (becoming) combat experience having flown in the FA-50 on an actual strike mission," he added.
Once Camposano-Beran will get more experience and flying time in the AS-211, she will transition or transfer to the FA-50PHs.
This will take place once she acquires 300 hours in the AS-211, Mariano added.
The FA-50PH is the PAF's primary jet fighter capable of speeds of Mach 1.5 and was acquired from South Korea in 2015 up to 2017.
Camposano-Beran during her training at the PAF Flying School flew the propeller-driven T-41D or the Cessna R-172 during the primary phase of her training and then the SIAI-Marchetti SF-260MP in the Basic Phase of her military pilot training.
In total, she gained around 180 hours of flying time in the two propeller-driven aircraft before graduating in 2017.
Camposano-Beran is a native of Tulunan, Cotabato and a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 2015.
"She became the fifth female in the Academy to receive the Athletic Saber Award over 170 members of her class," he added.
Also, Mariano said that two more female pilots are presently undergoing fighter pilot training. (PNA)