08:59 24 May 2024

First batch of Ukrainian pilots successfully complete F-16 training in US

Photo: RAF

Arizona National Guard spokeswoman Erin Hannigan reported that the first group of Ukrainian pilots has already completed training on F-16 combat aircraft at the military base in Arizona, US.

Politico reports this.

According to the spokeswoman, the completion of training will be a decisive step toward ensuring that modern American-made fighter jets appear in Ukrainian skies.

The pilots were trained at the National Guard's 162nd Air Force Base in Tucson.

Hannigan would not say how many graduated or the exact graduation date "for their safety reasons."

It is also known that the pilots are now heading to Europe for additional training.

The US National Guard previously said that the first group of four Ukrainian pilots began training in the US in mid-October 2023 and will complete it by the summer.

The second group, also comprised of four pilots, commenced training in January. The third group, beginning in February, focused solely on training in the English language, a vital skill for flying fighter jets.

All pilots were expected to complete their training between May and August, although the exact schedule would depend on progress in mastering the program.

Moreover, ten Ukrainian service members underwent training in the Netherlands to maintain F-16 combat aircraft.

The first F-16 combat aircraft maintenance specialists have already started returning to Ukraine.

For reference:

At the end of March, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, said Ukraine should receive Western F-16 fighter jets according to previously established plans and schedules.

Three F-16 multi-purpose fighters, on which Ukrainian pilots will be trained, arrived in Romania on April 17.

It is also worth adding that Ukrainian pilots, who are trained on F-16 fighter jets in Denmark and the United States, are already practicing the tasks they will face in Ukraine, in particular, striking missiles and UAVs.

It should be noted that the fighter coalition will transfer a "significant number" of F-16 combat aircraft to Ukraine. These aircraft will be equipped with the latest weapons and able to strike behind the front line.

However, President Volodymyr Zelensky states that Ukraine needs at least 120-130 F-16 fighters to completely control the sky.

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