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Ukrainian pilots sharpening skills on F-16 jets - Air Force

Ukrainian pilots sharpening skills on F-16 jets - Air Force Photo: training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16 (illustrative photo by GettyImages)
Author: Liliana Oleniak

Several groups of Ukrainian pilots continue their training in allied countries to fly F-16s. Two of them are already honing their skills on the aircraft, according to Ilia Yevlash, spokesperson for the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

"Currently, two advanced groups are in Denmark and the United States. They are already directly honing their skills on F-16 aircraft," says Yevlash.

He notes that another group is continuing its training and has moved from the UK to France, where they are mastering light aircraft.

"Another group is undergoing ground training in England. In particular, they are learning the language, which is one of the priority areas. The aircraft are foreign-made and proper knowledge of English is required," adds the spokesperson.

According to him, in addition to pilots, technical personnel are being trained so that these specialists can train their colleagues in Ukraine.

At the end of March, ten Ukrainian pilots completed the basic training course on F-16 fighter jets.

F-16 for Ukraine

Last year, Denmark and the Netherlands promised to provide Ukraine with 61 F-16 fighter jets. Before deliveries can begin, pilots and maintenance personnel must be trained. Ukraine, for its part, has to prepare the necessary infrastructure for the fighters.

Former Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat said earlier that the training of the first group of Ukrainian pilots on F-16s in the United States should be completed in early summer.

Meanwhile, The New York Times noted that 12 Ukrainian pilots would be ready for combat missions on F-16s by this summer. However, there are not enough planes for all of them.

Earlier, the Pentagon said that F-16 fighters would provide Ukraine with a unique air capability. At the same time, they can be used only within the sovereign Ukrainian territory.

The other day, Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said that Ukraine would receive F-16s in the first half of this year. She added that the first planes to arrive would be from Denmark.

Recently, it was reported that Belgium has allocated assistance to Ukraine for the maintenance of F-16 fighters, which the Ukrainian Armed Forces will receive shortly.