US to start F-16 training for Ukrainian pilots in October

Washington, Aug 24 (EFE).- The United States will begin training Ukrainian pilots in F-16 fighter planes in October, the Pentagon announced Thursday.

“Following English language training for pilots in September, F-16 flying training is expected to begin in October, at Morris National Guard base in Tucson, Arizona,” Pentagon spokesman, Brigadier General Pat Ryder, told a press conference.

Ryder avoided specifying the number of Ukrainian soldiers who will receive the training, although he anticipated that it will include several pilots and dozens of training workers.

He pointed out that Denmark and the Netherlands have confirmed they will deliver F-16s to Ukraine, and that the US maintains “close” contact with those countries and other allies to ensure that US training complements the efforts of other coalition partners supporting Kyiv.

“We know that as the Danes and the Dutch prepare to train those pilots, at a certain point in time in the future capacity will be reached, so preemptively, acknowledging that and leaning forward in order to assist with this effort is the impetus for why we’re doing this now,” Ryder said.

The US has given assurances to Denmark and the Netherlands that it will expedite the necessary approvals to secure the delivery of F-16 fighters to Ukraine upon completion of the training led by the two countries.

In July, Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen assured that the coalition of 11 allied countries that will participate in the training of Ukrainian pilots to operate F-16s would begin their military instruction in August.

The Netherlands, for its part, confirmed that the training center will be located in Romania.


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