Ukrainian pilots start flight training on F-16 in the US
Ukrainian pilots have started flight training on F-16 fighter jets at an air base in Arizona, USA
The statement by a spokesman for the US Air Force says this, Air & Space Forces Magazine reports.
A US Air Force spokesman said that a "small number" of Ukrainian pilots began training in "F-16 basics" earlier this week at the 162nd Air National Guard unit in Arizona.
“The training curriculum will align with the foundational knowledge and skills of each pilot and is expected to last several months,” a US Air Force spokesperson said.
Prior to that, a small group of Ukrainian pilots who arrived in the United States in September underwent language training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.
In Arizona, the Ukrainians are expected to first learn the basics of F-16 operation in the classroom and on simulators, and then move on to flying real aircraft. However, the course may be accelerated due to the need for Ukrainians to return to participate in combat operations at home.
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 previously announced that it would not provide Ukraine with F-16 fighters, but later the government suggested that Ukraine could receive several F-16s next year In 2024, the Netherlands plans to provide Ukraine with the first batch of F-16s.
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 became known that the Netherlands would send F-16s to Romania, where Ukrainian pilots would begin training in a few weeks.