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News > Ukraine

US To Host Ukrainian Pilots for Training on F-16s in September

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky walk past an F-16, Eindhoven, Netherlands.

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky walk past an F-16, Eindhoven, Netherlands. | Photo: X/ @WIONews

Published 25 August 2023

The training, which will include several pilots and dozens of maintainers, will start in September at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

On Thursday, the Defense Department announced that the U.S. will begin training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets in September at U.S. Air Force bases in two southern states.


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The training, which will include "several pilots and dozens of maintainers," will start in September with English-language classes to be offered at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder said.

After the trainees grasp the necessary language skills, they will then be trained on how to actually fly the F-16, and this process will begin in October at Morris Air National Guard Base in Arizona.

The training in the United States "will be the fundamental fighter pilot training," Ryder said, adding that the exact curriculum for the Ukrainian pilots will depend on their levels of experience, of which an assessment is also part of the training program.

On the duration of the training, Ryder said it typically takes eight months for a new F-16 pilot with not a lot of training on the U.S. side to complete the process, and "within the five-month range" for an experienced pilot receiving "upgrade training."

Currently, European countries are leading the effort to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16s and other advanced fighters made by Western countries, with Demark and the Netherlands now prepared to undertake the task.

The U.S. government previously said it would do its part to provide training on U.S. soil if and when Europe reached the full capacity.

Without giving a specific timeline of F-16 deliveries, Ryder said it could be months ahead, adding that European countries are looking to provide the aircraft "and the United States will support that effort through the third-party transfer process."

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