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Training on F-16 to commence in Denmark, not in Romania

Training on F-16 to commence in Denmark, not in Romania F-16 (Photo: wikipedia org)
Author: Daria Shekina

Ukrainian pilots will begin their training on F-16 aircraft in Denmark in August. They are expected to head to Romania no earlier than the end of 2024, according to a statement from Ray Piselli, Vice President of International Communications at Lockheed Martin, as quoted by"

The preparation of the F-16 pilot training center in Romania is progressing, with the American company Draken International, a subcontractor of Lockheed Martin (the manufacturer of F-16 aircraft), already publishing job vacancies for F-16 instructor pilots.

The training center in Romania will be located near Fetesti, at the 86th Borcea Air Base. The instructors and technicians hired by Draken will be civilian personnel.

Therefore, Romania will provide the infrastructure based on Borcea Air Base, the Netherlands will provide the aircraft, and Lockheed Martin, through its subcontractor Draken International, will conduct the training.

It is worth noting that Draken International, along with Romania, is one of the buyers of Norwegian F-16 aircraft. The American company has purchased around 12 fighter jets from the Norwegian Air Force.

Training of Ukrainian pilots

According to Ray Piselli, Vice President of International Communications at Lockheed Martin, Ukrainian military personnel will receive training in Romania until the end of 2024.

Before that, Ukrainian Air Force pilots will begin flight training on F-16 aircraft at Skrydstrup Air Base in Denmark starting in August.

The training program

The training program will initially involve testing and selecting Ukrainian personnel, and language lessons, followed by theoretical and practical preparation. The goal is to provide the Ukrainian Air Force with basic skills and conditions for flying, servicing, and maintaining F-16 aircraft.

The Netherlands and Denmark are at the forefront of developing the training model. Danish officials have avoided directly answering whether Denmark will gift F-16 aircraft to Ukraine.

"For a start, we plan to prepare two teams. There will be a total of 10 to 12 pilots plus support personnel for aircraft maintenance. Approximately 30-40 technical specialists will also be trained," say Danish military officials.

The training duration

However, it is not possible to determine exactly how much time will be required to retrain pilots from Soviet-era MiG aircraft to F-16 fighters.

"It depends on the pilots' qualifications, both in terms of modern fighters and their experience, as well as their proficiency in the English language," says Danish Army Commander General Flemming Lentfer.

The proficiency of Ukrainian pilots in the English language will influence the duration of their training in Denmark, the Danish official also mentions.

F-16s for Ukraine

Previously, partners announced the creation of an aviation coalition to provide Ukraine with modern fighter jets, including F-16s. The coalition is led by the Netherlands and Denmark, who expressed their intentions to train Ukrainian pilots. These countries have specialized aviation simulators.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed hope that the training of Ukrainians on F-16s would commence in August, and Ukraine would be able to receive the aircraft in six to seven months.

Moreover, at the NATO summit in Vilnius, the Netherlands and Romania officially confirmed that they would train Ukrainian pilots. Romania announced its plan to commence training as early as the next month.

Recently, the National Security Advisor to the President of the United States, Jake Sullivan, stated that the United States would not postpone the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighters.