Ukrainian Pilots Will Start Training on American F-16 Fighters This August
The states that have joined the so-called "fighter jet coalition" have agreed on a timeframe for the start of training Ukrainian pilots on Western fighter jets - August 2023.
This was reported by Reuters, citing acting Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen.
The training is expected to start in August in Denmark, and the specially equipped training center will be built in Romania. However, first, the allies will select candidates among Ukrainian pilots, conducting language, theoretical and practical training with them at the Danish air base of Skrydstrup in South Jutland.
"To begin with, we plan to train two groups. This will include a total of 10-12 pilots and support staff who will maintain the aircraft. It will be about 30-40 people," said Poulsen.
The Danish official also emphasized that he hopes to see the results of the training early next year.
As a reminder, on the sidelines of the NATO summit, which began on July 11 in Vilnius, Lithuania, Ukraine and its partners signed an official document between 11 states that pledged to help Kyiv conduct training and receive Western F-16 fighter jets.
«It’s official: a coalition for F-16 training of the Ukrainian Air Force has been formed! Today, 11 partner states + Ukraine signed a Memorandum outlining the terms. I'm especially grateful to Denmark and the Netherlands for their outstanding leadership in this process.» Ukraine's Defense Minister, Oleksii Reznikov, said on Twitter.
The report states that the parties agreed on:
- Ukrainian pilots, technicians, and support staff will participate in a training program;
- There is the possibility of including other types of fighter aircraft in the program;
- The coalition is ready to consider other means of granting fully functional F-16 capabilities.
"We must protect our civilians, our infrastructure, critical facilities, our schools, our universities. That is why it is very important for us that this coalition of fighter jets starts working," Reznikov emphasized.
The launch of the so-called "fighter jet coalition" was announced in May. So far, none of the partner countries has been able to officially announce the transfer of Western fighters to Ukraine from their own fleets. However, Poland and Slovakia have found an opportunity to transfer 27 MIG-29 fighters to Kyiv, which replenished the losses among the Ukrainian Air Force.