Start of training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16

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Recent announcements confirm that the training of Ukrainian pilots can begin. A first group of pilots has even already left for one of the training centers. In total, nearly 11 countries have confirmed their willingness to train Ukrainian pilots and ground personnel on F-16 fighter jets.

A Last American Barrier?

While talks of delivering F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets are still ongoing, the training of Ukrainian pilots and mechanics seemed more promising as June was cited as the start of training. However, at the beginning of July, Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister, announced that the training of Ukrainian pilots had still not started:

I assumed that training should start in June, as we were initially promised. Training did not start in June. This means that the training schedule is starting to change.

Moreover, other barriers, political this time, still seemed to exist. Indeed, on July 16, Jake Sullivan, national security adviser to the President of the United States confirmed on CNN :

The President has given the green light and we will authorise, enable, support, facilitate and in fact provide the necessary tools for the Ukrainians to start training on F-16s, as soon as the Europeans are ready.

The first group is gone!

Direct consequence (or not?), on July 18, the spokesman of the Ukrainian Air Force, Yurii Ihnat, announced:

The first group of pilots is the first wave that will go to re-train, then the second, and so on. These pilots will already follow direct training with instructors from many countries, providing us with training sites. We’re talking about a dozen or so. We are waiting; the first group left, the second will follow.

From then on, with a month and a half delay, the Ukrainian pilots will indeed train to fly Fighting Falcons.

John Walker Avatar