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ISW outlines factors for effective use of F-16s in war in Ukraine

ISW outlines factors for effective use of F-16s in war in Ukraine The West needs to take a number of measures for the effective operation of F-16s in Ukraine (photo: Getty Images)

Restrictions on the West's training program for F-16 pilots will negatively impact Ukraine's ability to effectively utilize these aircraft in the future, according to a report from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

In the report, reference is made to an article by Politico, which states that American, Danish, and Romanian training centers can only train a limited number of Ukrainian F-16 pilots. The issue is that these training centers are facing problems with available training slots for military personnel.

ISW noted that a full squadron of 20 aircraft requires 40 pilots. Such specialists will only be trained by the end of 2025, and until then, Ukraine will not be able to fully utilize all the received fighters effectively.

"Ukraine may be able to set conditions to have Ukrainian aviation operate in the air domain to support Ukrainian ground operations if Ukraine is able to sufficiently destroy Russian air defense assets within Russia using Western long-range strike capabilities, obtain a sufficient cadre of pilots capable of flying F-16s, and receive a timely delivery and a sufficient number of F-16 airframes," the ISW report said.

F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have been appealing to partners to provide F-16 fighters. As of today, four European countries - the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, and Denmark - have agreed to transfer aircraft.

Ukraine is set to receive over 60 aircraft as early as the summer of 2024.

On June 5, Politico reported that Kyiv was demanding the US and European countries to expedite the training of Ukrainian pilots for the F-16.

Additionally, France has agreed to transfer Mirage 2000 combat aircraft to Ukraine.