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First group of Ukrainian pilots to complete F-16 training by summer

Wednesday, 21 February 2024, 05:52
First group of Ukrainian pilots to complete F-16 training by summer
An F-16 fighter jet. Photo: Getty Images

The first four Ukrainian pilots will complete their training on F-16 fighter jets by summer.

Source: CNN, citing the Arizona National Guard

Details: The pilots commenced training in mid-October with the 162nd Fighter Regiment in Tucson, Arizona. The Pentagon noted that the training process will take several months.


Captain Erin Hannigan, spokesperson for the Arizona National Guard, said a second group of four pilots began training in January, and a third group of four pilots is currently attending English language courses that are required prior to undergoing training to fly the fourth-generation US fighter jets.

All pilots are expected to finish their training in the period from May to August, although the exact timeline varies depending on the progress of the programme.


  • On 14 February, a meeting was held in the Ramstein format, during which Ukraine's partners reported on progress in training Ukrainian pilots and delivering Western fighter jets to Ukraine.
  • Following the meeting, Ukrainian Defence Minister Rustem Umierov announced that "everything is going according to schedule and within the framework of all agreements with partners".
  • The F-16s are expected to arrive in Ukraine this spring, which the head of Ukraine's mission to NATO described as realistic.
  • Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte stated that the fighter jets may be delivered "on schedule", adding that there will be at least 24 aircraft.
  • Denmark and the Netherlands were the first countries to commit to providing Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets, although this will happen after Ukrainian pilots have completed their training. Norway and Belgium have also made similar pledges.
  • The Ukrainian government has repeatedly stated that the commitment of Western-made fighter jets to Ukraine could change the situation on the battlefield, as Russia currently has "complete air superiority" in the occupied territories.

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