First Ukrainian pilots complete F-16 training in the U.S.


The first group of Ukrainian pilots has completed their training on American F-16 fighter jets at a military base in Arizona, Politico reported on May 23.

This milestone is a significant step toward seeing modern American-made fighter jets protecting Ukrainian skies, Air National Guard spokesperson Erin Hannigan told Politico.

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

For security reasons, Hannigan did not disclose the exact number of pilots who completed the training or the specific timing.

Read also: Ukraine to receive first F-16 jets after Easter celebrations - UA Air Force

The pilots are now headed to Europe for further training, Politico said, citing individuals familiar with their movements.

Ukraine is set to receive over 60 F-16 fighter jets from Norway, Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine

The Netherlands and Denmark promised in August 2023 to jointly provide Ukraine with 61 American F-16 fighter jets. This was preceded by a transfer authorization from the United States.

Read also: Ukrainian F-16 maintenance specialists return after overseas training

Norway has also confirmed its intention to supply F-16s.

Belgium will provide Ukraine with F-16s, but in 2025.

The Netherlands announced its decision to begin preparations for the transfer of the first 18 aircraft to Ukraine in December, and later increased this number to 24. In total, the country has promised Kyiv 42 fighters.

The tentative timeline for the delivery of the fighter jets to Ukraine was the first half of 2024.

Read also: Ukraine needs 120-130 F-16 jets to counter Russian air power — Zelenskyy

The first F-16s will arrive in Ukraine around June 2024, Foreign Policy reported on Feb. 18, 2024, citing European officials.

Specific dates that Ukraine expects to receive the F-16s from its allies were impossible to speak about, Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson, Yuriy Ihnat, said in response.

The first 10 Ukrainian pilots completed basic flight, ground, and language training on F-16s in Britain. The military will now move on to advanced flight training provided by the French Air Force, the UK government said on March 22.

The first F-16s with trained Ukrainian pilots will arrive in Ukraine by summer 2024, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on April 18.

Read also: Ukraine receives first F-16 fighter jet trainer - Air Force

The Netherlands plans to start sending F-16s to Ukraine in the fall, Dutch Defense Minister Kees Ollongren said on May 6,

The F-16s should arrive by summer, said Denmark's Ambassador to Ukraine, Egberg Mikkelsen.

The first Western F-16 fighter jets will arrive in Ukraine within a few weeks, The Standard reported on May 10, citing a high-ranking military source.

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