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Politico: First batch of Ukrainian pilots graduated from F-16 training in Arizona

They are now heading to Europe for additional training, according to the US National Guard Air Force spokeswoman Erin Hannigan.
F-16 trainer aircraft
F-16BM ET613 trainer aircraft during a training flight. Credit: Militarnyi
Politico: First batch of Ukrainian pilots graduated from F-16 training in Arizona

The first group of Ukrainian pilots has completed training on F-16 fighter jets at a military base in Arizona in the US, US National Guard Air Force spokeswoman Erin Hannigan tells Politico.

She said the pilots were trained at Tucson’s 162nd Air National Guard Base. The spokeswoman did not name the exact number of pilots or the training completion date “for security reasons.”

Politico reported that the pilots are now heading to Europe for additional training.

On 22 May, Ilya Yevlash, spokesman for the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), said during a telethon that the first specialists servicing F-16 fighter jets had begun to return to Ukraine.

The Air Force spokesman said, “The specialists will also be able to share their experience with other Ukrainian military technicians.”

The Dutch Ministry of Defense said earlier in May that ten Ukrainian servicemen had been trained to maintain F-16 fighter jets in the country.

The Danish Ministry of Defense said the country would provide Ukraine with F-16 fighters this summer. The ministry noted that it is difficult to establish a clear schedule for the transfer of F-16s because “there are several conditions that must be met for Ukraine to use the provided aircraft.”

Ukrainian pilots are currently undergoing training. According to The New York Times, Ukraine may receive only six of the approximately 45 F-16s promised by Western countries by July. It is expected that 12 pilots will be ready by this summer, less than a full squadron.

The Ukrainian government has repeatedly stated that the arrival of Western fighters in Ukraine could change the situation on the battlefield, as Russia has “complete air superiority” in the occupied territories.

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