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10 Ukrainian pilots complete basic F-16 training program in UK

10 Ukrainian pilots complete basic F-16 training program in UK Illustrative photo (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

Ten Ukrainian pilots have completed their basic flight training course on F-16 fighter jets in the UK, according to the British government.

"The 10 pilots received basic flying, ground school and language training in the UK and will one day form the first line of defence in protecting Ukraine’s skies from Putin’s forces."

This group will now proceed to advanced flight training conducted by the French Air Force, before eventually learning to fly the F-16 fighter jets.

"This effort is a key UK contribution to the Air Capability Coalition, co-led by the United States, Denmark and the Netherlands, which is helping build an air force consisting of modern fighter jets to form the cornerstone of Ukraine’s armed forces," the statement reads.

F-16s for Ukraine

Last year, Denmark and the Netherlands pledged to provide Ukraine with 61 F-16 fighter jets. However, before deliveries can commence, pilots and support staff must undergo appropriate training. Ukraine, for its part, must prepare the necessary infrastructure for the fighter jets.

Former spokesperson for the Ukrainian Air Force, Yurii Ihnat, previously said that the training of the first group of Ukrainian pilots on F-16s in the United States was expected to be completed by early summer.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that by this summer, 12 Ukrainian pilots would be ready for combat missions on F-16s. However, there won't be enough aircraft for all of them.

The Pentagon has said that the F-16 fighter jets will provide Ukraine with "unique air capabilities," but their use will be limited to sovereign territory.