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White House considers training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 in US

by Olena Goncharova August 12, 2023 6:45 AM 2 min read
An F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft extended its landing gear to land at the U.S. military airfield at Spangdahlem. (Photo credit: Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

The White House said on Aug. 11 the United States is “certainly open” to training Ukrainian F-16 pilots on U.S. soil. However, this process might take some time.

White House spokesperson John Kirby, speaking to reporters, said “it's going to be a while before the jets can show up in Ukraine, and for them to be integrated into the air fleet.”

On Aug. 9, the Pentagon confirmed that U.S. President Joe Biden "has given the green light" to allow and support the training of Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighter jets.

“The reason we're doing this is part of a longer, broader effort to make sure that we are continuing to improve Ukrainian self-defense and military capabilities for the long term,” Kirby told the press. In addition to transferring planes and training pilots, Ukrainian allies also had to set up "all the maintenance logistics and sustainment efforts that go into having modern aircraft like the F-16 in your fleet."

The Washington Post reported earlier that first Ukrainian pilots to undergo F-16 jet fighter training will not be ready to fly them until summer 2024, according to Ukrainian government and military officials.

Only six pilots, which is about half a squadron, will undergo the first round of training, two unnamed Ukrainian officials reportedly said. Two more pilots have been identified as reserve candidates, the Washington Post reported.

ISW: Ukrainian forces make significant advances in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast amid continued counteroffensive
Geolocated footage published on Aug. 11 and analyzed by the Institute for the Study of War confirms that Ukrainian forces reached the northern outskirts of Robotyne, located 10 kilometers south of Orikhiv in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
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