The spokesperson of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Yuriy Ihnat has said that the F-16 pilot training programme is “going to plan.”
Western countries are currently training a vast amount of pilots to fly the multi-role “game changing” F-16s which should be operational in spring 2024.
Ihnat said, “Everything is going according to plan. Every time pilots take to the skies with instructors, I have already talked about this.
“Perhaps this number of pilots with instructors is becoming large. Next we expect independent flights. I think that in the near future we will find out more.
“I don’t want to announce anything, else.”
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Earlier this year the US, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands announced they will provide Ukraine with the F-16s and will train Ukrainian pilots in the fighter jets, the US and the UK are also training them.
Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin said in October that the first F-16 aircraft could arrive in to the Ukrainian Air Force no earlier than the spring of 2024.
At the end of October the Netherlands said that the F-16 fighter jets promised for Ukraine will arrive in Romania in a few week’s time and the pilots “will fly them” shortly after.
This will provide the Ukrainian air defense with more strength to combat Russian warplanes, drones and missiles.
They will arrive at the training center in Romania in two weeks, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“That means that the training courses for the Ukrainian pilots who will fly them can start shortly,” Rutte said on Twitter.
He said that the Netherlands will continue to support Ukraine in the face of Vladimir Putin’s ongoing aggression for as long as necessary.
He said, “The devastating situation in Israel and Gaza will not divert our attention away from Ukraine.
“The existential need to push back against Russian aggression is still our priority, both for Ukraine and for the security of Europe as a whole.”
“The atrocities that Russia has committed must not be forgotten. In order ensure this, the Netherlands remains involved in investigating Russia’s crimes. A fourth Dutch forensic mission is currently in Ukraine, under the auspices of the International Criminal Court, gathering evidence of war crime,” Rutte stressed.