Ukraine F-16 Training Starts In August


Ukrainian air force pilots and support personnel will begin training on the F-16 at bases in Denmark and Romania in August. A coalition of 11 countries was formed at the NATO summit in Lithuania to guide the training. The U.S. is not a member of that coalition and has not agreed to send aircraft to Ukraine, but it has said it will not block other countries from sending their surplus Vipers to the fight. Denmark and the Netherlands recently mothballed their F-16 fleets as they took delivery of F-35s and are expected to lead the training effort.

“We have to defend our civilian population, our infrastructure, critical objects, our schools, our universities. That’s why for us it is very important that this fighter jet coalition starts up,” Ukraine Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told reporters at the summit. “I’m especially grateful to Denmark and the Netherlands for their outstanding leadership in this process.”

It’s still not clear how many F-16s will be transferred to Ukraine but officials said they need at least 48 to tip the balance against the Russians. Reznikov said he hopes to see the new fighters making a meaningful difference in the war within about six months. The program may not end with the F-16s, however. Reznikov said the coalition is considering adding other types to the Ukraine war effort, but he did not specify which.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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    • I agree the Europeans should step up and take the lead here. Let’s not forget though, that “It’s a European problem” was quoted before the first and second WW. It’s ALL of our problem. Just because it’s far away doesn’t mean we should stick our proverbial head in the sand or anywhere else…

      • You’re so right, Mr. Joe P. Would it exist in USA really veterans if they didn’t fight abroad in defense of another countries? And the free world is, as well as USA, very proud of them.

  1. I’m gonna guess that anywhere the Vipers are parked will be #1 target for the Rooskies drone strikes. WAY ahead of apartment buildings in Kiev, etc……the Ukes better have a good plan for THAT! Doesn’t take much flak damage to ground a Viper….

  2. Oh… and IF the Ukes are real fighter pilots already, and since there’s a war going on back home… I’m guessing their pilots are gonna ‘catch on’ really quickly… no ‘many months’ of training needed. But ground maintenance and parts may be more of a concern….?