Ukrainian pilots to start F-16 training in US next week
Ukrainian pilots will begin training on F-16 fighter jets in the United States. The first stage will include classrooms and simulators, followed by flights on actual aircraft. Modern fighters will help Ukraine gain an advantage in the sky
Politico reported the update.
Next week, Ukrainian pilots will begin training to fly an F-16 fighter jet at the National Guard Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona.
The report informs that a group of pilots who arrived in the United States last month to participate in an English language course at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, have passed their first test for English proficiency and are headed to Morris Air National Guard Base in Arizona, according to one of the officials, who like the others were granted anonymity to speak ahead of an announcement. There, they will train with the 162nd Wing, the main F-16 training hub for the Air Force.
“The pilots will first learn the basics of operating the F-16 in the classroom and in simulators before moving on to flying the actual jets, as is typical for any Air Force pilot training program. However, the course may be accelerated due to the urgent need to get them back to the battlefield,” the officials say.
The group of Ukrainian pilots has been participating in an English language program at the Defense Language Institute English Language Center at Lackland, said Air Force spokesperson Rose Riley.
“Testing will determine their next courses and when the pilots would be able to commence F-16 training. Training location options are still being considered at this time,” Riley said.
The report says that the training begins amid concerns that the Pentagon is running out of money to continue providing military assistance to Ukraine.
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.