ua en ru

Democrats urge Pentagon to train more Ukrainian pilots on F-16 - Politico

Democrats urge Pentagon to train more Ukrainian pilots on F-16 - Politico Illustrative photo: The Pentagon has been urged to expand training for Ukrainian pilots on F-16s (Getty Images)

A group of Democrats in the US House of Representatives has called on the Pentagon to expand training for Ukrainian pilots on operating F-16 fighter jets, Politico reports.

According to the source, lawmakers led by Congressman Adam Schiff supported Ukraine's request to train an additional ten pilots. The corresponding letter was sent to the Pentagon.

"The request comes at a critical juncture in Ukraine’s ongoing conflict with Russia, where the deployment of F-16 aircraft has the potential to significantly influence the outcome of the war," stated the letter signed by 15 congressmen.

They also claim that by the end of 2024, Ukraine will lack pilots for the F-16s that partners will have provided by then.

"This situation threatens to undermine the strategic advantages these aircraft could provide Ukraine," the congressmen noted.

In the letter, they also assert that NATO allies can meet Ukraine's needs for pilot training. However, it is necessary for the Pentagon to lead this effort to ensure the "most expedient means" for expanding the program.

"This effort not only enhances Ukraine’s ability to utilize the F-16s effectively but also reinforces the broader coalition’s commitment to supporting Ukraine in its fight for sovereignty and territorial integrity," the Democrats emphasize.

Training of Ukrainian pilots

Ukrainian pilots have been continuing their training on operating F-16s in several countries since last year. Ukraine is expected to receive its first fighter jets this summer.

At the end of May, the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced that Ukrainian pilots had completed their training on F-16s in Arizona.

Additionally, a few days ago, it was reported that Denmark had prepared the first group of Ukrainian specialists who will service the American fighter jets.