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Air Force: Ukrainian pilots transition from simulators to F-16 live flights in “few weeks”

After simulator training, Ukrainian pilots are slated to take real-life F-16 flights with instructors in a few weeks. Concurrently, infrastructure enhancements for F-16s are in progress.
Danish Army’s F-16 fighter jets. Photo: Denmark’s Defense Ministry
Air Force: Ukrainian pilots transition from simulators to F-16 live flights in “few weeks”

Ukraine is preparing the infrastructure for the use of F-16 aircraft as Ukrainian pilots training abroad will start flying with instructors on real aircraft in a few weeks, according to a Ukrainian Air Force spox.

According to Ukrinform, Ukraine’s Air Force spokesperson Yurii Ihnat. said on the national telethon on 12 October:

“There were some far-fetched reports about the infrastructure because F-16 and F-15 landed in Ukraine in 2012 and 2018. As we have military operations ongoing, we will not build the infrastructure as in peacetime so that everything there shines beautifully, we need it to work so that a plane can land on the runway, so that there are shelters for it so that the enemy cannot destroy it there, etc. Well, the means of controlling that plane, communication – we are working on this, Ukraine is doing its homework. The main thing is that we have been waiting a long time for this green light, now it’s lit, it is only a matter of time. It is clear that it is not easy to retrain on a Western fighter from the Soviet one, which was designed back in 1970, so it takes a little time. Even if it is spring, it’s not much time to wait till spring. It is clear that it is difficult at the front, but we have to wait,” he said commenting on the readiness of the Ukrainian infrastructure for the use of F-16 aircraft.

Ihnat noted that Ukraine had a long-term plan to re-equip the entire aircraft fleet.

“We have a long-term plan of cooperation with partners. We will not replace it [aircraft fleet] at once, and the re-equipment of the aircraft fleet will happen in 2025, 2026, 2030. We will leave everything Soviet in the Soviet Union, in Russia, and we will adopt everything new, from air defense systems to aircraft,” the spokesman emphasized.

In his remarks regarding the training process of Ukrainian pilots to operate F-16  fighter jets, Ihnat noted that this process was progressing quite successfully.

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