First group of Ukrainian pilots to complete US F-16 training by summer

First group of Ukrainian pilots to complete US F-16 training by summer

The first four Ukrainian pilots are scheduled to complete training on F-16 fighter jets by summer.

That’s according to the Arizona National Guard, Ukrinform reports, referring to CNN.

The first group of pilots began training in mid-October with the 162nd Fighter Wing in Tucson, Arizona. The Pentagon said the training process would take several months to complete.

A second group of another four pilots began training in January, according to Capt. Erin Hannigan, a spokeswoman for the Arizona National Guard, while a third group of four is currently going through English-language training, which is required to fly the fourth-generation US fighter jet.

Read also: Air defence, drones and F-16s: Umerov reports on results of Ramstein meeting

According her, all of the pilots are expected to complete their training between May and August, though the exact timeline depends on the progress of the program.

As reported by Ukrinform, on February 5, 2024, the Dutch Ministry of Defense announced that it was preparing to deliver six additional F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. This brings the total number of fighter jets promised by the Netherlands to Ukraine to 24.

On December 22, 2022, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that his country would begin preparations to transfer 18 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

Simultaneously, the Netherlands sent 18 F-16 fighter jets to Romania to train Ukrainian pilots. Currently, the Netherlands has 42 F-16 aircraft in service.

Despite the United States running out of funds to send aid to Kyiv, the US National Guard still has enough money to complete training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets. In August 2023, President Joe Biden announced that the United States would begin training Ukrainian pilots on F-16s. The training began in the autumn at the Morris Air National Guard Base. Since then, Ukraine's military fund, which the United States used to provide Ukraine with weapons and aid, is out of money. As a result, the US has not been able to send Ukraine any new arms packages. However, training for Ukrainian pilots has continued.

Yuriy Ignat, the spokesperson for the Ukrainian Armed Forces Air Force, stated that Ukraine is currently modifying its infrastructure for F-16 fighter jets.


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