US to supply critical F-16 spare parts as Ukraine pilot training kicks into high gear
F-16 (Photo: Pentagon)

The US Department of Defense has commenced pilot training initiatives to equip Ukrainian aviators with the capabilities to fly F-16 aircraft. The Pentagon is also addressing critical logistical support needs, working to ensure the steady provision of spare parts to guarantee at least three months of continuous operational readiness for Ukraine's fighter fleet, reported the press service of the Pentagon.

"The Defense Department is already participating in providing training to help ready Ukrainian pilots to fly the F-16 aircraft," the message says.

Ukrainians are trained in both flight operation and maintenance of these aircraft in the USA and Europe.

The United States is expected to provide a flow of spare parts for these aircraft.

Earlier this year, the US State Department approved the transfer of F-16 aircraft to Ukraine by third parties. The Netherlands, Denmark and Norway have announced their intention to do so by withdrawing the aircraft from their own fleets.

US Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment William LaPlante noted that without spare parts, the F-16 fighter jets, which will be flown by Ukrainian pilots, "could be grounded" within a few months. Therefore, Washington plans to create a stock of spare parts for aircraft for 90 days.

LaPlante noted that regardless of what will be transferred to the Ukrainians, because the United States has allocated $44.2 billion for equipment and ammunition since February 2022, it is important to ensure the availability of spare parts for the maintenance of this equipment.

"We're not going to let that happen. And just because other countries provide their airplanes, we have to make sure if they don't provide the spares that we find the spares and provide them," he said.

The minister added that the United States and its partners are working together to ensure that Ukraine has everything it needs and is able to sustain itself in the long term.

"We're working really hard with U.S. industry and actually with the Europeans and other countries around the world to begin to coordinate these industry days with the Ukrainians. I think what you're going to see is this pivot for U.S. companies and companies around the world to help the Ukrainians build back what they have," LaPlante assured.

On August 30, 2023, the defense ministers of the Netherlands and Romania signed an agreement on the establishment of a training center

On November 10, the spokesman of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine yuriy Ihnat said that some pilots are already training in the sky with an instructor on combat planes.

On November 13, Romanian National Defense Minister Angel Tîlvăr together with his Dutch colleague Kajsa Ollongren opened the European Training Center for F-16 fighters at the Fetești Air Base, where Ukrainian pilots will be trained.

Read also: How the F-16 multi-role fighter jet could boost Ukrainian defense options