Ukraine is hoping to see its first Western jet fighters in the coming months. Preparations for this historic event are in full swing and it is believed that the first batch of… F-16s Will come this summer. However, this enthusiasm has to be tempered a bit.

Ukraine is awaiting its first F-16s.Ukraine is awaiting its first F-16s.

Ukraine is awaiting its first F-16s. Image credit: GerardvdSchaaf by Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

Institute for the Study of War (ISW) noted. That a full squadron of 20 fighters requires 40 pilots. However, at the current training pace, it would be possible to produce this number of Ukrainian pilots in only a year or so. In other words, Ukraine will reach the required number of F-16 pilots only in 2025.

“To support Ukrainian ground operations if Ukraine is able to use Western long-range strike capabilities to significantly destroy Russian air defense assets inside Russia, pilots capable of flying the F-16 able to get sufficient cadre, and timely delivery and sufficient number of F-16 airframes,” the ISW report said.

Meanwhile, Politico writes that Ukraine has repeatedly contacted the United States about its readiness to immediately send 30 more people to train to become F-16 pilots. However, the US will only be able to train 12 people by September 2024. The U.S. explained the limitation by stating that there are other countries preparing to acquire F-16s, and the U.S. cannot violate its other obligations.

By November, Denmark will train 8 more Ukrainian pilots, but after that it will no longer participate in the training program as the Danish Air Force transitions to more advanced jet fighters. Romania also cannot accept as many Ukrainian pilots as Kiev would like, although there have been some positive signals from the country recently.

By the end of summer 2024, Ukraine will receive more than 60 F-16s. More fighter jets will arrive next year as well. They will fly from Denmark, Holland, Belgium and Norway. Some of these fighter jets will be kept in reserve in other countries to keep them out of reach of Russian drones and missiles – Ukraine will still have no pilots for them.

Part of the problem is that Ukraine desperately needs pilots. The F-16 is not just some jet. It is a complete weapon platform that takes at least two years to master. Ukraine needs to do this very quickly and therefore some steps are being taken to speed up the process. However, at the same time Ukrainian pilots in training face obstacles – a different language, an unfamiliar fighter jet, brand new missiles and bombs. The Ukrainian Air Force has never operated a Western-made fighter jet before and now the transition has to be done in the shortest possible time during an active war – a monumental task.

written by Povelas M.

Source: NEXTA.tv