Experienced Ukrainian pilots will be able to undergo training in the USA on F-16 fighters in three months.
This was stated by the Director of the Air Force of the US National Guard, Michael Law, at the annual convention of the Air Force Association in Maryland, citing the Associated Press and Breaking Defense.
"For the ones that are currently their fighter pilot cadre that are experienced, that are flying day-to-day sorties over there, that are defending their homeland — I think three months is absolutely realistic," Michael Loh said.
During the nine-month period, the F-16 will be able to train pilots who have no experience with fighter jets.
However completing training in the States does not mean that pilots can immediately transfer to the F-16. The pilots will then go to Europe for additional training, after which commanders will decide whether they are ready. Logistical support, as well as trained maintenance specialists, must also be provided, a schedule that, according to Lo, would be better informed by representatives of the US European Command.
According to him, in order to comply with the short training period, it will be necessary to change some of its other international obligations regarding the training of pilots and bring Ukraine to the forefront. "This is a national priority," Loh said.
Ukrainian pilots are expected to arrive at the Morris Air National Guard Air Base in Tucson, Arizona, by October. Pilots are currently being tested for English language proficiency.
- 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. American newspapers write that pilots can start using F-16 in combat already this winter.