Espreso. Global

12 Ukrainian pilots will be ready to fly F-16 fighters in summer

11 March, 2024 Monday
11:40

By the summer of 2024, twelve Ukrainian pilots will be ready for combat missions on F-16 fighter jets, but there won't be enough aircraft for all of them

The New York Times reports.

It is noted that currently, the F-16 fighter jets are ready, while instructor pilots are awaiting at the new training center in Romania, established for training Ukrainian pilots in flying combat aircraft F-16.

“But there’s a catch: The Ukrainian pilots have yet to arrive, despite declarations last summer that the center would play a crucial role in getting them into the air to defend their country from increasingly deadly Russian strikes,” the article says.

However, it is still unclear when Ukrainian pilots will begin training at the center located at the Fetesti airbase in southeastern Romania, which NATO allies also use for training on fighter jets.

Read also: F-16 fighters in Ukraine: game changer for situation on battlefield?

At the same time, the article's authors emphasize that this does not mean Ukrainian pilots are not preparing. It is expected that twelve pilots - fewer than a full squadron - will be ready for combat sorties on F-16s by this summer after 10 months of training in Denmark, Great Britain, and the United States.

It is emphasized that by the time the pilots return to Ukraine, only six out of approximately 45 promised F-16 fighter jets will have been delivered by European allies.

F-16 fighter jets 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. 

The Netherlands will provide 42 fighter jets. At the same time, Norway will provide Ukraine with F-16s, but the exact number is unknown.

On September 15, Belgium joined the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16s. Earlier, the Belgian Defense Ministry said it would not provide Ukraine with F-16 fighters because they are outdated and in poor condition. Such aircraft are dangerous to operate.

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, the media reported that the Netherlands would send F-16s to Romania, where Ukrainian pilots would begin training in a few weeks.

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

On November 1, the Pentagon said that the training in Arizona could last from 5 to 9 months.

In early January 2024, Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Patrick Ryder said that Ukrainian pilots would complete training on F-16 fighter jets this year.

On February 8, Ambassador to the Netherlands Oleksandr Karasevych said that Ukraine would receive F-16 fighter jets from the Netherlands this year, but the exact date was not announced.

On February 17, on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that the delivery of F-16 multi-role fighters to Ukraine was on schedule.

On March 1, the Air Force said that Ukrainian pilots are practicing strikes on air and ground targets using F-16s, but the transition to them cannot be quick.




 
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