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Ukrainian pilots to commence F-16 training, Reznikov provides insights

Ukrainian pilots to commence F-16 training, Reznikov provides insights Ukrainian Minister of Defense, Oleksiy Reznikov (Photo: Vitalii Nosach, RBC-Ukraine)
Author: RBC Ukraine

In an interview with CNN, Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksiy Reznikov revealed that Ukrainian pilots are set to begin F-16 training as early as August. While the definitive list of countries hosting the training is still being finalized, the preparations are well underway.

The training program for the use of the advanced aircraft is expected to span at least six months, during which Ukraine will also need to upgrade some infrastructure to accommodate the F-16s.

According to Reznikov's optimistic forecasts, by next spring, pilots will be able to operate F-16s in Ukrainian airspace.

The training is likely to take place in Denmark and the Netherlands, with potential involvement from the United Kingdom or Poland. It will include intensive sessions for technical experts, as emphasized by Minister Reznikov.

He stressed that the maintenance of modern aircraft is a significant task, and while training programs may be divided among participating nations, the final plans are still being fine-tuned.

During the interview, Reznikov lightened the mood by joking that the group of 11 countries committed to assisting Ukraine in F-16 pilot preparation playfully calls themselves the "11 Ocean's Friends," drawing a reference to the popular movie.

F-16 for Ukraine

Ukraine has been engaged in intense negotiations for several months to acquire modern F-16 fighter jets. At the NATO summit in Vilnius, allies officially announced the creation of an aviation coalition. The Netherlands, Denmark, and Romania have confirmed their commitment to training Ukrainian pilots.

As Ukraine awaits the commencement of the first pilot group's training, which is expected to begin in Denmark, earlier statements from the White House suggested that Ukraine could receive the F-16s this year. However, the United States maintains that this will not fundamentally alter the situation on the battlefield.

Moreover, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan recently announced that the United States will initiate F-16 training for Ukrainian pilots within a few weeks.