Yuriy Ignat, the spokesman of the Air Force of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said on the air of the telethon that the F-16 fighters will be delivered to Ukraine in units, and not individually. At the initial stage, several dozen of these aircraft may be transferred.
"Certainly, no one will hand over these planes one by one. They will be transferred in units. Aviation units are at least a squadron. In our version, it is 12 plus planes. Western partners have a larger squadron — up to 18 aircraft. In this way, several dozen aircraft can be transferred to Ukraine first to solve current tasks," Ignat said.
He called the decision on the F-16 historic. The transfer of these planes, according to him, will be an impetus on the way to Ukraineʼs victory in the war against Russia.
Earlier, the adviser to the Ukrainian Minister of Defense Yuriy Sak said that Ukraine wants to receive 40 to 50 F-16 fighters to form three or four squadrons.
- On May 16, Britain announced the start of an international coalition of countries that will train Ukrainian pilots on fourth-generation Western fighters, including the F-16. The coalition included the USA, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Portugal. Pilot training will begin in the coming months.
- On May 20, the White House confirmed that in the following months, the United States and its allies will discuss when and how many fighter jets Ukraine will receive. The US agreed to the transfer of F-16s to Ukraine.
- On May 21, US President Joe Biden confirmed that the United States will begin training Ukrainian pilots in the near future. He also stated that he received "clear assurances" from Volodymyr Zelenskyi that Ukraine will not use F-16s on Russian territory when it receives them. Zelenskyi separately expressed confidence that Ukraine will receive F-16.