NewsUkrainian pilots near completion of F-16 training in Arizona, ready to operate transferred NATO aircrafts

Ukrainian pilots near completion of F‑16 training in Arizona, ready to operate transferred NATO aircrafts

Americans train Ukrainians to fly F-16 fighters
Americans train Ukrainians to fly F-16 fighters
Images source: © EPA, PAP | Robert Ghement
8:59 AM EST, February 21, 2024

As announced by Captain Erin Hannigan, a spokeswoman for the Arizona National Guard, a second group of four pilots began training in January. A third group is also mastering the specialized English language terms essential for piloting a fourth-generation fighter.

Ukrainian Pilot Training

"We predict that all pilots will have finished their training somewhere between May and August," said Hannigan, stressing that the exact timing relies on the progress made in carrying out the program.

On Monday, the Ukrainian Air Forces' spokesman, Colonel Yuriy Ihnat, revealed that Ukraine is already making infrastructural adjustments to accommodate the American F-16 fighters. He noted that Ukraine's partners are ready to transfer these aircraft.

The Ukrainska Pravda website quoted the words of Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday: "I believe we will see (F-16 fighters) in Ukraine in June."

In early February, the Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren announced on platform X that a total of 24 F-16 fighters will be provided to Ukraine by her country. Denmark has also pledged to transfer this type of machine to Ukraine.

NATO's Joint Arrangements

In July 2023, ministers from 11 NATO countries formed a coalition at the North Atlantic Alliance summit in Vilnius to train Ukrainian pilots and mechanics on using and maintaining F-16s.

In August this year, the United States officially assured Denmark and the Netherlands that they would accelerate the approval of all necessary third-party requests to transfer F-16s to Ukraine. This move ensures that Kyiv can receive the fighters immediately after the training of its pilots.

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