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UK Defense Ministry: First 10 Ukrainian pilots complete RAF flight training

by Kateryna Hodunova March 22, 2024 1:52 PM 2 min read
Ukrainian pilots participated in the training under the guidance of Royal Air Force instructors in the U.K. in March 2024. (Royal Air Force/X)
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The first 10 Ukrainian pilots graduated from the flight school under the guidance of Royal Air Force (RAF) instructors, the U.K. Defense Ministry's press service reported on March 22.

The U.K. has been supporting the fighter jet coalition since it was established by 11 founding nations in July 2023 at the Vilnius NATO summit to assist Ukraine on its path to acquiring and operating modern fighter jets.

Ukraine expects to receive the first F-16 fighter jets this summer. Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and Belgium promised to deliver dozens of their U.S.-made fourth-generation jets to bolster Ukraine's Air Force.

Several countries have also made some of their F-16 jets available for training Ukrainian pilots.

According to the U.K. Defense Ministry's statement, the first cohort has completed basic training and will move to advanced flying training provided by the French Air Force before learning to fly F-16 fighter jets.

The training program for Ukrainian pilots included general aircraft handling, flying by the aircraft's instruments, low-level navigation, and advanced formation flying by experienced RAF instructors.

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The pilots also underwent English-language training to "boost interoperability with NATO air forces," as English is the standardized international flight language.

"Ukraine has been using its Air Force to devastating effect, degrading the Russian Black Sea Fleet and severely damaging its Headquarters," U.K. Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said.

"This milestone is another step forward for Ukraine's aerial capabilities – together with our allies, we are showing that we will continue to stand by Ukraine's side," Shapps added.

In February, CNN reported that the first four Ukrainian pilots are scheduled to complete U.S.-led training on F-16 fighter jets by this summer.

Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen said that the final delivery of the first batch of Danish F-16s depends on the readiness of Ukraine's infrastructure, pilots, and support personnel, among other factors.

F-16s for Ukraine: When will they arrive and what can they do?
The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is an American air superiority fighter that Kyiv has begged for since the start of the full-scale invasion and is expected to finally start receiving this year. It’s a versatile workhorse of a jet that’s fought in dozens of wars and is

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