In early 2024, France will participate in the initial training of Ukrainian pilots on Western fighter jets, which European partners will continue.
The report of the French Ministry of Defense on military assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion mentioned France’s upcoming participation in the F-16 training for Ukrainians.
The French Ministry of Defense recalled that in May, French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed his readiness to train Ukrainian fighter pilots together with several European nations.
Ukrainian pilots are expected to arrive in France in early 2024
“The first pilots will arrive at the beginning of 2024. After initial training in France, they will continue their fighter jet training at courses organized by our partners,” the report said.
For France, military support for Ukraine is organized around three major milestones, according to the French ministry:
- Armaments equipment transfers
- Participation in Ukrainian military training programs
- Setting up financial mechanisms to enable Kyiv to acquire its own equipment.
Denmark and the Netherlands lead the fighter jets coalition
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. The Netherlands has assisted in opening a training center in Romania, which will also host Ukrainians.
The United Kingdom has also announced its intention to train Ukrainians on Western-style fighters that Ukraine will soon receive to fight Russian military invasion.
F16s 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.