F-16 fighters training for Ukraine may be ‘significantly reduced’ - Air Force

The training programme for Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets can be significantly reduced compared to standard timing, the Chief of Aviation of the Ukrainian Air Force Command said on national television on Thursday.

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Ukraine has long been asking for modern fighter jets, claiming that its current Soviet-era aircraft are not capable of countering offensives of Russian forces and are too old to be combat-effective.

While such deliberations are known to be taking place, no country has so far committed to delivering Ukraine modern aircraft.

According to Brigadier General Serhii Holubtsov, the Air Force was very much looking forward to the high performance of the Ukrainian pilots tested in the United States.

"Two pilots passed the test in the United States. The score was quite high. And, let's just say, at the end of the report, there is a note that the F-16 programme for Ukrainian pilots 16 may be shortened," Mr Holubtsov said.

"I'm not going to say the timing, it may happen... But it will be significantly reduced compared to standard pilot training programmes."

The Ukrainian Air Force commander said that preparations for the F-16 delivery would take some time, including infrastructure and procedural issues.

"I think that with sufficient determination and political will, this period can be reduced. And, let's just say, it can be reduced significantly," Mr Holubtsov stressed.

"But it cannot be shorter than the procedure for training personnel and infrastructure to operate these aircraft."