The Pentagon said that the transfer of F-16 fighters to Ukraine will begin at least in a few months. And this is based on an optimistic scenario.
This was stated by the Secretary of the US Air Force Frank Kendall, writes CNN.
According to him, it will be at least "several months" before Ukraine will be able to operate the F-16. It is also necessary to work out some details before the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine can use Western aircraft in large numbers.
"Under no circumstances are we going to transfer F-16s or other Western fighters in significant numbers to the Air Force of Ukraine sooner than a few months from now," Kendall noted.
At the same time, he emphasized that this is a rather short term, since it usually takes more than 2 years to train a new American pilot to work with such an aircraft. Even a refresher course for an F-16 pilot who hasnʼt flown for a while can take up to 5 months.
- F-16 fighters will be delivered to Ukraine in units, not individually. At the initial stage, several dozen of these aircraft may be transferred. 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 to fly fourth-generation Western fighter jets, 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, the US President Joe Biden confirmed that the United States will begin training Ukrainian pilots in the near future. The American report says that two Ukrainian aces on F-16 simulators exceeded the expectations of the United States. There, they believe that they will be able to train Ukrainian pilots to fly the F-16 in 4 months, instead of 18, as previously planned.