Brooke Chivers and Aroha Fifield

Pilots : F-111 - First Australian female F-111 aircrew

The first female F-111 aircrew, Flying Officer Brooke Chivers and Pilot Officer Aroha Fifield have completed their operational conversion course and are now flying in F-111s operationally with 82 Wing at Amberley RAAF Base in Queensland


Flying Officer Brooke Chivers and Pilot Officer Aroha Fifield

First Female F-111 Aircrew: The Queensland Times reported on 19Feb00 that two women have flown into Australian history books by being the first female navigators (WSOs) on F-111 aircraft. The two women, aged 21 and 23, recently completed the six month F-111 Operational Conversion Course along with four men (photo Michael Holman, QT article Gemma Westacott)


Flying Officer Brooke Chivers and Pilot Officer Aroha Fifield

Photo : Bruce Long; Date : 18/02/2000, Ref# 07929686


Flying Officer Brooke Chivers and Pilot Officer Aroha Fifield

Photo : Bruce Long; Date : 18/02/2000, Ref# 079296XX

RAAF women to graduate to fast jets

18 Feb 2000

The Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence, Bruce Scott, said today two women had completed an intensive training course to become the first female officers in the Royal Australian Air Force to graduate to fast jets.

Flying Officer Brooke Chivers and Pilot Officer Aroha Fifield have earned their brevets as navigators in the RAAF's frontline F-111 squadrons at the Amberley base near Ipswich in south-east Queensland.

Mr Scott said the women's graduation as F-111 navigators signalled a major milestone for the RAAF and the opportunities now available to females in today's modern Defence Force. He said the two women should be very proud of their status within the RAAF's aircrews as fast jet training was the most difficult in military aviation.

"Flying Officer Chivers, Pilot Officer Fifield and their four male colleagues from this latest F-111 conversion course face a major responsibility flying the F-111 strike aircraft and join a dedicated and professional team at Amberley which fly, maintain and support these high-tech aircraft," he said.

"This milestone illustrates the many opportunities available to women in the Australian Defence Force and their increasingly important contribution to the Services.

"In fact, only a few months ago another woman, Air Commodore Julie Hammer, became the first female officer to be promoted to an air rank in the history of the RAAF and a one star general in the ADF."

Mr Scott said although the ADF had had female pilots and navigators for several years, this was the first time women had joined what is termed the 'fast jet' stream of military aviation in the ADF. He said more women were showing interest in a flying career with the Defence Force and there were now about 25 female pilots and navigators in the ADF with another dozen in training.

The RAAF has 17 female pilots and navigators, including one working as a test pilot in the United States and another flying with the Roulettes aerobatic team. The RAAF women work on a variety of aircraft including the C-130 Hercules and P-3 Orions. The Army has seven female helicopter pilots and the Navy has four female flight crew including one helicopter pilot.

Flight Lieutenant Brooke Chivers

Flight Lieutenant Brooke Chivers, an F-111 navigator, who is celebrating her 25th birthday today. Brooke, who is posted to the RAAF base in Amberley, Queensland, is one of only two females flying F-111s in Australia.

She has been flying the supersonic planes since 1999 and has taken part in live bombings at Tindal in the Northern Territory and Shoalwater Bay, near Rockhampton. She has also taken part in international exercises in Malaysia, Hawaii and Darwin.

Young Women Speak: Our Strengths, Our Diversity, Our Future

[a presentation by] FLT LT Brooke Chivers

which said in part...

What is an F111? The F111 is a military fast jet, and Australia has two types of these: the F111 , which has two roles, the strike role and the reconnaissance role, but it's primarily used as a bomber in the air-to-surface concept. The other one is the FA-18 Hornet. That's your Top Gun stuff. That's your air-to-air role as it is used primarily, although it does have other roles, and no women in Australia had been qualified on fast jets until myself and Aroha [Fifield] were qualified last year.

A little bit more about this F111. Its role is a low-level, supersonic, long-range, all-weather precision strike bomber. The crew consists of one pilot and one navigator. So what does the navigator do? Well, I'm the co-pilot. I'm a weapon systems operator, electronic warfare operator and also a tactical coordinator. But what does the pilot do? Well, somebody's got to look good! the full, un-edited transcript

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