Espreso. Global

Ukrainian pilots train in Denmark, F-16s won’t arrive in Ukraine soon – Air Force

5 December, 2023 Tuesday

The spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force Command, Yuriy Ihnat, noted that the handover of F-16 aircraft to Ukraine is a complex process that includes a range of measures

He said this on the Espreso TV channel.

"Statements regarding the arrival of F-16 fighters in Ukraine vary somewhat. But it won't happen quickly, they are unlikely to appear by the end of the year. There were statements by our diplomats that by the end of winter, in the spring. Let me remind you that the process of delivering the aircraft is a very complicated one, which includes a range of activities. This includes preparing the infrastructure, pilots, and aviation engineers who need to be taught how to use and program the bombs and missiles that will attach to the aircraft. No country in the world has ever had the experience to switch from a Soviet aircraft to a Western one in such a short time, and we are the first. That's why we hear such different terms in the statements of politicians regarding the F-16," Ihnat emphasized.

The Air Force Command spokesman also added that Ukrainian pilots are not currently training in Romania.

"The media made a mistake when they reported that F-16s were flying from the Netherlands to the Romanian center. The training center in Romania is still under construction. Its training and material base is being completed so that as many pilots, instructors and aviation technicians as possible can be trained there. This center is located close to Ukraine, which is very convenient. The jets that have already been donated by the Netherlands will serve as training aircraft. There are single-seat and two-seat combat training aircraft, and the pilot takes off with an instructor. Currently, such flights are taking place in Denmark, where pilots are already flying with instructors and performing flight missions," Ihnat explained.

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.

On November 7, 5 Dutch F-16 fighter jets arrived in Romania, where a training center for Ukrainian and Romanian pilots would soon open.
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