In the Ramstein 12 meeting, the Western allies agreed on a plan to train Ukrainian pilots on various types of aircraft, including the F-16.
Denmark and the Netherlands will lead a European coalition to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighters. Pentagon Chief Lloyd Austin announced the decision after the 12th meeting in the Ramstein format.
“Today, allies and partners announced plans to train Ukrainian pilots on fourth-generation aircraft, including the F-16. These exercises are important for coordinating the contact group,” Austin said.
In the coming weeks, Danish and Dutch experts will work with the United States and other allies to develop a map of the exercises.
“I want to especially thank Denmark and the Netherlands for choosing to lead the European coalition to provide F-16 training to the Ukrainian forces,” Austin said.
He added that Norway, Belgium, Portugal and Poland have also offered to contribute to the training. “We expect more countries to join this initiative soon,” the US Secretary of Defense emphasized.
According to the minister, the exercise will further strengthen and improve the capabilities of the Ukrainian Air Force in the long term.
Also, during the meeting, Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov made a report on the current situation at the front and Ukraine’s needs for the coming months. The parties discussed three key issues, including strengthening Ukraine’s ground-based air defence system.
At the same time, Yuriy Ihnat, spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, said that dozens of Ukrainian pilots would be trained on F-16 fighters and predicted that the training could take up to four months.
He added that young pilots who are better able to master the latest technologies will be the first to master the F-16.
“We told the Air Force that this training would last six months. The Americans concluded that it would last up to four months. And who knows, maybe someone will master it faster. People are different; everyone has different individual training. These are the good predictions about the training, and I think they will come true,” Ihnat said.
Earlier, the media reported that about 20 Ukrainian pilots would begin the first phase of F-16 training in the UK. This will be basic ground training for Ukrainian pilots, after which they will be ready for more specialized training in fighter jet control.