Ukrainian pilots can start using the F-16 in combat as early as February 2024, that is, this winter.
Citing officials from Ukraine and the USA, The Wall Street Journal writes that the first pilots who speak English well can be trained in five months. The Ukrainian side is counting on this.
The first group, with just under 10 pilots, will begin training at Morris National Guard Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. They are the first to switch to the F-16. At the same time, dozens of Ukrainian pilots will start an English course at the Lakeland Air Force Base in San Antonio.
The American side is more restrained in its forecasts. The newspaper says that F-16s require about 16 hours of maintenance on the ground for every hour in the air. Training of technical personnel can be more difficult than training of pilots.
- The training of Ukrainian pilots has already started in Denmark and Britain, and in Romania, it was agreed to create a training center. France will also join in pilot training. The Netherlands, Denmark and Norway have already agreed to transfer the planes to Ukraine. The Netherlands will transfer all of its (42 total) F-16s to Ukraine, but a "small part" will be for training. Denmark will transfer 19 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine and expects the first batch to arrive closer to the New Year. The number of aircraft that Norway will transfer is still unknown.