09:31 05 Mar 2023

Two Ukrainian pilots to fly military simulators in US – Reuters

Two Ukrainian pilots are in Arizona to conduct training on flight simulators: the American military aims to assess the capabilities of pilots from Ukraine.

On condition of anonymity, two American officials announced that on Saturday, the Reuter's agency informed.

A US Department of Defense representative noted that the pilots' stay in Arizona is a "familiarization event." This approach will facilitate dialogue between Ukrainian and American personnel. And will also provide an opportunity to observe how the US Air Force operates.

"This event allows us to better help Ukrainian pilots become more effective pilots and better advise them on developing their own capabilities," the defense official said.

"The program involves watching how Ukrainian pilots conduct their mission planning and execution in flight simulators to determine how we can better advise the Ukrainian Air Force on how to use capabilities they have," an administration official said on condition of anonymity.

The defense official said other allies have also conducted similar events in the past. The defense official did not say how long the Ukrainians had been in the Southwestern state.

The officials said no updates were regarding F-16 fighter jet pledges to Ukraine.

"It's about training on their own planes," said an administration representative, "and not on the F-16," they emphasized.

On Tuesday, Colin Kahl, the undersecretary of defense for policy, told members of the House of Representatives that the U.S. had not begun any training of Ukrainians on the F-16.

The Pentagon's assessment for even the most expeditious delivery of F-16s and concurrent training is 18 months, "so you don't actually save yourself time by starting the training early," Kahl told the panel.

Also, CNN reported, citing three sources, that the United States is working with two Ukrainian pilots to determine how long it will take to train them to fly F-16 fighter jets.

The TV channel sources also reported that additional Ukrainian pilots could arrive in the US already this month.

In February, US President Joe Biden said that Ukraine "does not need F-16s now", despite repeated public requests from Ukrainian officials and increased pressure from Republicans in Congress.

The Committee on Armed Forces of the US Congress House of Representatives determined that the possibility of sending F-16 fighters to Ukraine "is not a wise use of resources necessary to win the war."

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