The United States has officially approved the transfer of F-16 fighter jets from Denmark and the Netherlands to Ukraine after the training of Ukrainian pilots is completed.
Source: Reuters, citing an unnamed US official. Later it was officially confirmed by Denmark and the Netherlands.
The US gave the green light to Denmark and the Netherlands
Washington has provided Denmark and the Netherlands with official assurance that the US will expedite the approval of all required third-party requests for the transfer of F-16s to Ukraine so that it can receive the fighters when the pilots are trained, the agency reports.
Denmark and the Netherlands, which lead the fighter jet coalition for Ukraine, earlier sent a request to the US for appropriate guarantees.
A Reuters source said Secretary of State Anthony Blinken sent letters to his Danish and Dutch counterparts assuring them that the requests would be approved.
“With this letter, I express the full support of the United States for both the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine and the training of Ukrainian pilots by qualified F-16 instructors,” Blinken said in the letter, a copy of which was seen by the Reuters agency.
Denmark and the Netherlands confirmed the permission to transfer F-16s to Ukraine
Denmark and the Netherlands have confirmed that they have received permission from the United States to transfer F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.
Danish Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen stated on TV 2.
“I can confirm that there has been an exchange of letters between me and Anthony Blinken, based on the fact that the Minister of Defence and I have turned to the United States to explore our options,” he said.
At the same time, he noted that the timing of the transfer of fighter jets to Ukraine has yet to be determined.
Commenting on the US approval, Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra called the decision “an important event” for Ukraine.
“We welcome Washington’s decision to pave the way for delivering F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. We sincerely thank Anthony Blinken for good and fast cooperation,” he wrote on Twitter.
Hoekstra added that the topic of F-16s for Ukraine will now be discussed with European partners.
Ukraine will receive F16s when its pilots will complete the training
According to Blinken, approval of the third-party requests will allow Ukraine to “take full advantage of its new capabilities as soon as the first set of pilots graduate.”
The United States is open to training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 aircraft on its territory if “the potential for training in Europe is achieved”. John Kirby, coordinator of strategic communications for the White House National Security Council, said this.
Recently, the Ukrainian Air Force spokesman, Colonel Yuriy Ihnat, said that Ukraine would not be able to defend its skies with US F-16s in the coming autumn and winter. And at this period, according to British intelligence, Russian troops plan to bombard Ukraine’s energy infrastructure as they did in the autumn of 2022.
8 Ukrainian pilots are ready to start training on F-16
The first group of Ukrainian pilots that will participate in F-16 training have been identified. According to Politico, 8 Ukrainian pilots are ready to start training on F-16. All of them are fluent in English.
Another 20 Ukrainian pilots with some language knowledge will attend language courses in the United Kingdom, probably in August, the media reports, quoting an unnamed US official. A total of 32 pilots have been selected.
Denmark and Romania will host F-16 training for Ukrainian pilots
NATO countries Denmark and the Netherlands are leading an international coalition effort to train Ukrainian pilots and support staff, maintain aircraft, and eventually supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets.
A fighter jet coalition of 11 NATO nations will help Ukrainians learn how to fly the F16s, with much of the training expected in Romania and Denmark.
Romania confirmed it will host F-16 training for Ukrainians in a new NATO pilot training centre in the country to operate F-16 fighter jets.
Training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighters may take 6 months, but the exact time frame is still to be confirmed.