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First group of Ukrainian pilots completes basic F-16 training in UK

26 December, 2023 Tuesday
11:12

The first group of Ukrainian pilots has completed basic F-16 training in the UK and are now learning to fly the fighter jets in Denmark

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This is stated on the UK government's website. 

According to the statement, six Ukrainian pilots began their flight and English language training in the UK in August this year. Upon completion, they went to Denmark. 

"Pilots undergoing the basic flight training scheme are conducting practical lessons in Grob Tutor aircraft with experienced RAF (Royal Air Force - ed.) instructors, learning general handling procedures, instrument flying, medium and low-level navigation, and formation flying," the statement reads. 

Another ten pilots who participated in the language training remain in the UK to continue their practical basic flight training and study aviation medicine. In parallel with the pilots, the technical staff who will continue to maintain the aircraft was also trained.

"I am proud of the support the Royal Air Force is providing to the next generation of Ukraine’s combat air pilots and ground crew, who will be the first line of defence in protecting Ukraine’s skies. The UK has been instrumental in building Ukraine’s air defences since Putin launched his full-scale invasion, providing hundreds of missiles and munitions, as well as radar and weapons systems," said Defence Secretary Grant Shapps. 

He emphasized that the UK will continue to support Ukraine, in particular, by continuing to train pilots on fighter jets. The program provided by the country is designed to develop the skills necessary for the military to move on to the next stage of training on fighter aircraft of partner countries.

F-16 fighters for Ukraine

On May 21, US President Joe Biden approved the training of Ukrainians on F-16s. Volodymyr Zelenskyy assured that Ukraine would not use these aircraft to strike at Russian territory. 

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says that the first F-16 fighter jets are likely to fly in Ukraine's skies by the end of March 2024.

On August 17, the United States approved the shipment of F-16 multi-role fighters to Ukraine.

At the same time, Denmark said it would supply Ukraine with the aircraft if they were not used in Russia. 

On September 15, Belgium joined the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16s. The Belgian Defense Ministry had previously said it would not provide Ukraine with F-16 fighters, but later the government suggested that several F-16s might be delivered to Ukraine next year. In 2024, the Netherlands plans to provide Ukraine with the first batch of F-16 fighters.

On October 11, Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen said that the country would be able to deliver the first F-16s to Ukraine in March-April 2024.

On October 12, it is reported that the Netherlands will send F-16s to Romania, where Ukrainian pilots will begin training in a few weeks.

On October 26, Ukrainian pilots began flight training on F-16 fighter jets at an air base in Arizona, USA.

ISW noted that Ukraine is likely to receive the first batch of F-16 fighters by the end of 2023.


 
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