F-16 training centre opened in Romania, Ukrainian pilots to start training

Romania has opened a training centre to train Ukrainian pilots to fly the F-16. The training centre is located at the Fetești Air Base, 150 kilometres east of Bucharest. 

The Ministers of Defense of Romania and the Netherlands, Angel Tîlvăr and Kajsa Ollongren, officially inaugurated the centre, DW reports.

The Netherlands provide 12 to 18 fighter jets for training

The Netherlands provide 12 to 18 fighter jets to train Ukrainian and Romanian pilots. The Dutch authorities sent the first five F-16s to Romania a week ago.

Lockheed, the manufacturer of the F-16, is providing instructors and technical staff for the training. According to preliminary estimates, the training of pilots will take at least six months.

Denmark to supply Ukraine with F16 jets

Denmark said it would supply Ukraine with 19 aircraft, provided they are not used in Russia. The first group of Ukrainian pilots has already begun training on F-16s in Denmark. 

Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen said that Denmark could deliver the first F-16s to Ukraine in March-April 2024. The Netherlands will provide Kyiv with 42 fighter jets. Norway will provide Ukraine with F-16s, but the exact number still needs to be determined.

On September 15, Belgium joined the program of training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16s.

On October 11, Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen announced that the country would be able to deliver the first F-16s to Ukraine in March-April 2024.

On October 26, Ukrainian pilots begin flight training on F-16s at an air base in Arizona, USA.

How will F-16 jets protect Ukraine? 

Russia is increasingly using guided bombs against Ukrainian border towns. The planes do not fly close to the border and bomb civilians from a safe distance with impunity. 

Ukrainian Armed Forces will only have a way to counter such tactics once they receive F-16 universal combat aircraft from the West. 

Although they will not be a panacea for all Russian air attacks, they can close many gaps in the defence of Ukrainian skies. Ukraine insists that the main guarantee of safe skies is modern Western aircraft. The F-16 provision is a quick and effective solution.

The range of tasks that F-16 jets will perform in Ukraine is also quite wide. First, it will strengthen Ukraine’s air defence, as the F16 is an ideal hunter for Russian combat drones.

Secondly, the long-range missiles used on F-16s will help the Ukrainian Army to destroy Russian equipment and logistics. The war is far from over, and in early 2024, the renewed Ukrainian Air Force may surprise the Russians, ending their superiority in the air.

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