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Two experienced pilots of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are being familiarized with American specialists in the United States in order to examine the level of knowledge and skills of Ukrainian aviators “who may potentially be involved in future training” in the United States. This is how the spokesman of the Air Force of Ukraine, Yuriy Ignat, commented for the Voice of America on the news about the simulator training of Ukrainian pilots in the American state of Arizona.
Ignat said that during the visit of Ukrainian pilots to the USA, they will assess “how much time is needed for their training, the level of knowledge will be assessed.” “And all these points are taken into account, and further steps will be taken to understand the algorithm of actions: how we will act next, where we will teach [пілотів ЗСУ]if a decision is made about [надання Україні] one or another type of aircraft”.
Ignat added: “Consultations are still ongoing, the Ukrainian side is closely cooperating on various fronts: diplomatically, militarily, and so on – with our partners. [Якщо] a decision will be made about that other type of aircraft – then we will already know the number of pilots and where to send them for this training. For now, the American side is studying the capabilities of our pilots, how much time they will need to retrain for modern fighters.”
A spokesman for the Air Force added in a comment for the Voice of America that “in addition to pilots, an equally important factor is the training of the aviation engineering staff who will service this equipment. This is a very important point, because one aircraft serves 10, and even more – dozens , let’s say, the specialists who operate and maintain it every day look after all systems.”
“That’s why this issue is also timely, and infrastructure preparation is already being done in stages in Ukraine,” Ignat said, adding that the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine “is currently working on adapting airports, reserve airfields, and operational airfields to receive these aircraft.”
“The Aviation of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has identified the needs that Ukraine needs in terms of fighter jets. In any case, it is necessary to replace the old fleet of Soviet aircraft, which is already working at the limit of its capabilities. These are the old aircraft that we have today: attack aircraft, bombers , fighters, the youngest of which is 91 years old, the same age as Ukrainian independence. We need wings to protect the country. We need Western-type aircraft compatible with NATO states,” Ignat added. He said that Kyiv acts “in close consultation” with Western partners on the issue of armaments.
Earlier, the Voice of America reported that two Ukrainian pilots are in Arizona for training on flight simulators and improving their skills.
The representative of the US Ministry of Defense stated that there is no new information about the possibility of transferring American F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, and emphasized that “it is about their training on their own planes, not about F-16.” At the same time, American publications note that this training of Ukrainians on simulators will help the Pentagon to estimate “how much time it may take to train them to fly F-16 fighters.”
Earlier, US President Joe Biden said that Ukraine does not yet need American fighters: “Now, according to our military, there is no basis for arguments to provide F-16s.”