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CNN: US signals to allies that it won’t block them from exporting F-16 jets to Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 19, 2023 3:14 AM 2 min read
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Sources familiar with the matter told CNN that the Biden administration has conveyed to European allies its willingness to permit them to export F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. The move comes in response to mounting pressure from Congress members and allies urging the White House to assist Ukraine in acquiring the aircraft as Russian aerial attacks intensify.

However, administration officials are not currently aware of any formal requests from allies to export F-16s, and the State Department officials responsible for processing approvals for such third-party transfers have not received any instructions to proceed.

Several European countries possess a supply of F-16 jets, including the Netherlands, which has indicated its readiness to export some of them to Ukraine. Nevertheless, given the sensitive U.S. technology incorporated in the aircraft, the U.S. would need to grant approval for the third-party transfer.

In recent months, high-ranking Ukrainian officials have amplified their public advocacy campaign for U.S.-made F-16s, emphasizing the urgent need for these aircraft to defend against Russian missile and drone attacks.

Yahoo News also reported on May 18 has exclusively obtained an internal U.S. Air Force assessment that concludes it would take only four months to train Ukrainian pilots to operate the fighter jets, a far shorter time frame than what has been repeatedly cited by Pentagon officials.

The assessment, written by Lt. Col. Jared P. White of the 162nd, concludes that the Ukrainian pilots were able to carry out a number of “relatively technical” maneuvers in their simulated environments such as landing the aircraft after losing an engine in a scenario called a “flameout.”

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