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Sweden confirms it will train Ukrainian pilots to use Gripen jets

SAAB JAS 39 Gripen fighter jet. Photo: Flickr Finnish Aviation Museum / Tuomo Salonen
Sweden confirms it will train Ukrainian pilots to use Gripen jets
As part of a new military aid package, Sweden will provide Ukrainian pilots with introductory training on Gripen fighter jets. The country has also allocated money for military equipment for Ukraine.

Sweden will train Ukrainian pilots to use its Gripen fighter gets as part of a new support package for Ukraine, valued at approximately SEK 250 million ($29.6 million) that the Swedish government unveiled on 16 June.

The orientation training will be conducted, as “Ukrainian armed forces have expressed requests to be able to operationally evaluate the JAS 39 as one of the most urgent measures is to strengthen the Ukrainian air defense with a modern combat aircraft system,” the Swedish government’s statement says.

Funds for procuring weapons

One significant component of the support package is the allocation of $16.6 million through the British fund International Fund for Ukraine, which will be used to procure defense equipment. The fund is planning to purchase long-range robots to be donated to Ukraine.

Additionally, the Swedish government has pledged $10.7 million to NATO’s support fund for Ukraine, known as the NATO Ukraine Comprehensive Assistance Package Trust Fund. The purpose of this fund is to procure defense equipment, fuel, medical supplies, military training equipment, and provide support to enhance and modernize Ukraine’s defense and security institutions.

Centers for repairing western equipment

The Swedish government has instructed the Swedish Armed Forces to develop a supply solution for military equipment systems to be delivered to Ukraine. This solution will involve personnel on the ground in Poland, Romania, and Slovakia, with up to 60 individuals. Sweden has been delivering various types of military equipment systems to Ukraine since 2022, but the new support package aims to establish a long-term supply solution to sustain the operational effectiveness of more advanced weapons and sensor systems, aka repairs.

The Swedish Armed Forces, the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration, and relevant Swedish industries will collaborate to create this supply system, which includes technical support, spare parts, replacement units, and ammunition. The mission is set to continue until 31 December 2025.

“Fighter jet coalition”

Amid over a year of Ukraine’s please for fighter jets, Ukraine’s partners have created a so-called “fighter jet coalition,” which currently includes eight countries: The UK, Poland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Portugal, and France. They may start training Ukrainian pilots in July on American F-16s, and options for training on Saab Gripen and Eurofighter Typhoon are also being discussed.

However, no country has yet committed to providing Ukraine with fighter jets. Kyiv says it needs about 120 aircraft. Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov expects F-16s to make up the largest share but believes that Eurofighter and Gripen could take up some of the slack.

Why does Ukraine need western jets and where could it get them?

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