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Commitments to train Ukrainian pilots, “IT coalition”: results of 13th meeting of Ukraine’s defense allies

F16 fighter jet. Photo: Depositphotos
Commitments to train Ukrainian pilots, “IT coalition”: results of 13th meeting of Ukraine’s defense allies
Following the conclusion of the 13th meeting of Ukraine’s military allies in the Ramstein format, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov announced he is confident Ukraine will have a “bird coalition,” just as a tank coalition, air defense coalition, howitzer, and MLRS families. He also announced the launch of a mysterious “IT coalition.”

The 13th meeting of the Ramstein Coalition and the Ukraine-NATO Commission has recently concluded in Brussels. The primary topics of the meeting of the group of Ukraine’s 54 military allies remain undisclosed, but it’s speculated that the main focus was on Ukraine’s air force capabilities, including aircraft, air defense missile systems, and the strengthening of its air defense, Liga.net reports.

Significant developments have taken place since the previous meeting:

  • Two packages of aid, totaling over $2.4 billion, were provided to Ukraine by the United States.
  • Denmark and the Netherlands have launched an initiative to train pilots on Western fighter aircraft, and Poland and Germany have made efforts in the “Leopard” tank coalition.
  • The aid has since expanded further, with the United States, Britain, Denmark, and the Netherlands declaring they will send air defense systems and hundreds of missiles to Ukraine. This process has already begun and is expected to be completed within a few weeks. Additionally, Denmark and Norway will provide an additional 9,000 artillery shells​

Fighter jet coalition taking shape, with Netherlands and Denmark in the lead

During the meeting, Lloyd Austin, the US Secretary of Defense, expressed his admiration for the Netherlands’ and Denmark’s pilot training plans. However, he also noted that much work still needs to be done, and specific delivery dates could not yet be provided. Mark Milley, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, echoed these sentiments.

Furthermore, Ukraine’s Defense Minister, Oleksii Reznikov, shared important news regarding the fighter jet coalition:

“We will build a consortium structure that will start with F-16. The Netherlands and Denmark will be leaders, and other countries will join. We also heard good news from Sweden, that we can test their capabilities [referring to the Gripen fighter jets].”

At a briefing with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Reznikov said that he had received commitments from Western allies to start training Ukrainian troops on F-16 fighter jets.

He expressed confidence that Ukraine will have a “bird coalition” as it already has a “tank coalition,” an “air defense coalition,” an “artillery family,” a “MLRS family,” and so on.

This means that the future forces of Ukraine will remain the eastern shield of Europe and the eastern shield of NATO, Reznikov summarized.

Austin also commented on the losses of Western equipment during Ukraine’s offensive. According to him, losses in war are inevitable, but Ukraine’s combat potential remains high. The main goal is to enable Ukraine to repair equipment and continue arming​​ it to repel Russia’s invasion.

The meeting’s significance is highlighted by the participation of representatives from Ukraine’s Air Force.

“This shows that the main topic is the capabilities of the Air Force: aircraft, SAMs, and air defense. I hope that this Ramstein will be a fighter aircraft,” Defense Express editor-in-chief Oleh Katkov told LIGA.net, “And sometime after it, there will be specifics regarding timing, perhaps, quantity. I think the focus of this Ramstein is on fighter aircraft.”

According to the expert, the fighter jet aspect is very broad. Ukraine and its partners need to solve many problems: who will train Ukrainian pilots and technicians, who will arm the aircraft, maintain them, and supply spare parts.

Ukraine can probably count on more than just F-16s, according to Katkov. In the Western press, there is talk of the F/A-18 Hornet deck fighter, the Swedish Gripen, and Reznikov did not reject the idea of European Eurofighters.

The Ministry of Defense has said that Ukraine needs four squadrons (48 units) of F-16 multi-role fighters to defeat the Russian invaders. Reznikov says that Ukraine will not use these deploy fighter jets in Ukraine’s offensive, as they can be deployed not earlier than fall or winter.

Canada and Italy announce new military aid for Ukraine

During the meeting, several heads of states announced new packages of military support for Ukraine, including Canada and Italy. According to US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin, Canada has pledged to allocate an additional $500 million to support Ukraine, including 200 critically air defense missile systems. Italy’s assistance package includes “the most important weapon systems for the defense of Ukraine,” Austin said.

Ukraine’s Defense Minister announces “IT coalition” with allies

According to Oleksii Reznikov’s Twitter post, “At today’s meeting of the UDCG (Ukraine Defense Contact Group), my colleagues François Bausch and Hanno Pevkur supported my idea of creating an ‘IT coalition’ within the framework of Ramstein.” The defense ministers of Luxembourg and Estonia, François Bausch and Hanno Pevkur respectively, are ready to take the lead in establishing this group, Reznikov added.

The formation of this IT coalition comes after the establishment of the “tank coalition” and “aviation coalition” with allied nations. The objective and role of this newly formed “IT coalition” remains unclear, as Reznikov’s report did not go into detail.

It’s also worth noting that the Ramstein meeting occurred alongside the NATO-Ukraine Commission meeting. The Commission is expected to lay the groundwork for the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius​​.

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