First ten Ukrainian pilots complete initial F-16 training in UK and move on to France

F-16
F-16

The first ten Ukrainian pilots to have undergone intensive training under the guidance of instructors from the UK's Royal Air Force instructors have graduated from flight school, the British Defense Ministry said in a March 22 press release.

These 10 pilots received basic flight, ground school, and language training in the UK and will one day form the first line of defense in protecting Ukraine’s skies from Putin’s forces.

Read also: F-16s for Ukraine: initial batch of six jets ready for July, allies pledge more

The cohort will now move on to advanced flight training provided by the French Air Force before learning to fly F-16 fighter jets.

“I would like to congratulate these brave pilots on completing their initial training here in the UK,” said Secretary of State for Defense, Grant Shapps.

“Thanks to the world-renowned skills of RAF, these pilots have received some of the best training available and are now a step closer to joining the fight against Putin’s illegal invasion.”

This training is the UK's key contribution to the Air Capability Coalition, co-led by the United States, Denmark and the Netherlands, which is helping build an air force consisting of modern fighter jets to form the cornerstone of Ukraine’s armed forces. The capability coalitions were established last year to provide a long-term commitment to supporting Ukraine’s armed forces, with the UK co-leading the maritime and drone coalitions.

<span class="copyright">NV</span>
NV

Key points about Ukraine's F-16 acquisition:

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that his country, along with the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Denmark had agreed to participate in training Ukrainian pilots on Western fighter jets on May 19, 2023.

On July 6, 2023, Romanian officials said that they were opening a regional training center for F-16 fighter pilots, which would be available to its allies and partners, including Ukraine.

The United States has authorized Denmark and the Netherlands to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets. This was confirmed when the Netherlands and Denmark announced that they would provide Ukraine with 61 F-16 aircrafts — 42 and 19, respectively, on Aug. 20.

Norway and Belgium have also confirmed their intentions to supply F-16 jets to Ukraine, with Belgium's contributions starting in 2025.

Read also: Romanian president greenlights Ukrainian F-16 pilot training

On Jan. 10, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported that Ukrainian pilots are still being trained on F-16 fighters in different programs worldwide.

On March 20, Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said that Ukraine would receive first F-16 fighter jets this summer, with the first batch of aircraft coming from Denmark.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine