Espreso. Global

Some of Western-provided F-16s to be stored outside Ukraine — Ukraine’s Air Force

10 June, 2024 Monday
11:07

Part of the Western F-16 fighter jets that partners will supply to Ukraine will be deployed at foreign air bases

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This was stated by the Chief of Aviation of Ukraine’s Air Force Command, Serhiy Holubtsov, in an interview with the Donbas.Realii project.

"As of today, 4 countries have confirmed they would supply aircraft. This does not mean that this is the final decision, because there are many more of these aircraft in the world. And almost all countries that have F-16s in service are gradually rearming with F-35s. Therefore, there will be more of these aircraft. And they will probably be offered to Ukraine as well,” he said.

Holubtsov added that not all the aircraft slated for transfer to Ukraine will arrive immediately.

"Some of them will remain in the centers where our pilots and aviation personnel are trained. These will be Ukrainian aircraft that will be used to train our own pilots. Therefore, the figure should not surprise anyone,” the brigadier general added.

"There is a number that will come to Ukraine. There is a certain number of aircraft that will be stored at secure airbases outside of Ukraine so that they are not targeted here. And this will be our reserve, if necessary, to replace faulty aircraft during routine maintenance. That is, so that we can constantly have a certain number of aircraft in the operational fleet, which will correspond to the number of pilots we will have,” Holubtsov emphasized.

He added that if there are more pilots, there will be more F-16s in Ukraine.

"We have a certain number of airfields prepared and we know the number of aircraft that will enter first this year. We know how many will enter next year. These plans are in place,” the military summarized.

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.

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