Ukrainian pilots get to practice flying Swedish-made Gripen jets – defense minister
Pål Jonson, Swedish defense minister, has announced the training of several Ukrainian pilots on Swedish JAS 39 Gripen fighter jets in response to the Ukrainian side's request.
Several experienced Ukrainian pilots will be able to train on simulators.
Ukrainian pilots will make test flights on the JAS 39 Gripen fighter jets. It is going to be a "familiarisation program," Jonson specified.
Although Sweden and Ukraine still have to make certain decisions for the start of the training program, TV4 notes, it can be considered the first step on the way for Ukraine to receive these fighters.
At the same time, Jonson emphasized that the six JAS 39 Gripen squadrons in service with the Swedish Defence Forces are needed for their defense needs, so the supply of at least one aircraft does not seem likely.
Currently, there is no question of providing Ukraine with any planes, he added.
The Ukrainian government has repeatedly appealed for help with fighter jets to several countries, including Sweden.
Requests were made as early as the summer of 2022, and in February 2023, defense minister Reznikov expressed Ukraine's desire to receive the JAS 39 Gripen jets.
Last week, the UK announced the launch of an international coalition aimed at training Ukrainian pilots on Western fighters, including the F-16. The coalition already includes the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, the US, and Portugal.
The White House also confirmed that in the following months, the US and its allies will discuss when and in what quantity Ukraine will receive modern fighter jets.
The day before, the State Department stated that the US considers providing Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets a priority and will work to achieve this goal in the coming months.