The first group of Ukrainian pilots have completed basic training with the Royal Air Force and are now training to fly F-16 fighter jets in Denmark.
This was reported by the British government’s press service.
In August, the UK began basic training in F-16 piloting and an English language terminology course.
Six experienced Ukrainian pilots have completed the training, and ten more trainee pilots remain in the UK to continue basic flight training and master aviation medicine and centrifuge training.
“I am proud of the support the Royal Air Force is providing to the next generation of Ukraine’s combat air pilots and ground crew, who will be the first line of defence in protecting Ukraine’s skies”.Grant Shapps, UK Defense Secretary
The British program aims to equip Ukrainian pilots with the necessary skills to advance to the next stage of training on Western fighter jets and align them with NATO standards for flying.
The pilots undergoing basic flight training conduct practical exercises on Grob Tutor aircraft, learning general control procedures, instrument flying, medium and low-level navigation, and formation flying.
After completing their training in the UK, the pilots will undergo further training in another European country to enhance their flying skills. The training in the UK has prepared Ukrainians for training on the F-16 jets, overseen by Denmark, the Netherlands, and the US, which lead the Air Force Capability Coalition.
Ukraine highly values the pilot training that the UK and other partners are providing, to help us prepare for operating F-16s in Ukraine. It is a rapid and effective programme to equip Ukrainian pilots with the skills they need in the war against Russia.Rustem Umerov, Defence Minister of Ukraine
Also, dozens of Ukrainian aviation technicians are undergoing English language training focused on engineering specialties.
France to join F-16 training for Ukrainian pilots
Earlier, we reported that France would start training Ukrainian pilots on Western fighters in 2024. The first Ukrainian pilots will arrive in France in January. After initial training in France, they will continue their F-16 fighter jet training in other NATO countries.
The Netherlands assisted in opening an F-16 training center in Romania in November, which will also accept Ukrainian pilots.
Denmark and the Netherlands lead a coalition that organizes training for F-16 fighters in Europe.
Ukrainian pilots have already begun training on F-16s in the United States, where they have begun flight training, and Denmark.
F-16s will strengthen Ukrainian capabilities to increase Russian losses – Stoltenberg
In November, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that the F-16 fighter jets, that the Ukrainian pilots are training to fly on, will boost Ukraine’s air defense and enhance their ability to inflict greater losses on the Russian invading troops.
“F-16s will change the situation for the better. They will strengthen Ukrainian capabilities to increase Russian losses. The F-16s will also help to strengthen Ukrainian air defense”, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated.
Ukraine will receive F-16 fighter jets: in brief
In the summer, the United States officially approved re-exporting F-16 fighters to Ukraine. After that, the Netherlands and Denmark were the first to agree to provide 61 planes to Ukraine. Norway also agreed to provide Ukraine with the aircraft.
The Netherlands says that fighter jets’ delivery to Ukraine will likely begin in early 2024. Ukrainian pilots and engineers are currently undergoing retraining.
The Netherlands has sent 5 combat training F-16s to a training centre in Romania. Ukrainian pilots are starting their F16 training in Romania.
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.