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US gave the “green light” to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16

US authorities allowed to begin and support training Ukrainian troops on F-16 fighter jets, with Denmark and the Netherlands taking the lead.
A F-16 fighter jet. Illustrative image. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
A F-16 fighter jet. Illustrative image. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
US gave the “green light” to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16

The United States allowed other countries to train Ukrainian pilots to fly American F-16 fighter jets, Deputy Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh said on 8 August.

At a briefing, she mentioned that Denmark and the Netherlands were taking the lead on training, but she didn’t have any further updates.

“The President (Joe Biden) and we have given the green light to allow and support the training to move forward, but I don’t have any further updates at this time when it comes to specific pilots being trained,” Sabrina Singh said at a briefing.

On August 2, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighters will begin in August 2023.

Earlier in July, Politico reported that a coalition of 11 countries led by Denmark and the Netherlands was ready to train Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16s but could not without official permission from the United States.

The spokesperson for the Ukrainian Air Force, Yuriy Ihnat, said that Ukraine is also ready to begin transferring F-16 jets essential for the success of its soldiers in liberating territories from Russian troops.

In July, John Kirby, US National Security Council’s Strategic Communications Coordinator, said that Ukraine would likely receive the planes by the end of 2023.

At the NATO summit in Vilnius, the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, Dmytro Kuleba, said this would happen in early 2024.

Ukraine needs the F-16 fighter jets to defend against the Russian aircraft dropping modernized high-explosive bombs effectively.

“Our systems… hit at a maximum range of 75 kilometers – these are the S-300, and the Buk – at a range of 40 kilometers. Thus, the enemy, without flying into the air defense zone, at a distance of 50 kilometers from the combat line or the state border, fires these bombs, and they hit the frontline area more and more,” Ihnat said.

According to Ihnat, F-16 fighter jets capable of launching missiles up to 180 kilometers would be the most effective solution.

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