Report says US F-16s exceed Ukrainian pilots’ expectations
Ukrainian pilots training on US F-16s are “very impressed” with the fighter jets, a report said.
The Ukrainian Voice of America service report cites a Ukrainian Air Force pilot.
The F-16 can be used in air-to-air and air-to-ground combat, according to the US Air Force.
Ukrainian pilots ‘very impressed’ with US F-16 fighter jets, Ukrainian service Voice of America mentioned.
A pilot who used the call sign “Phantom” said in an interview with the outlet that Ukrainian pilots training on the multirole fighters in the United States and Europe had praised the plane.
“Our pilots are very impressed,” he said. “This aircraft has simply exceeded their expectations. Even with the amount of information they received during training, they already see great prospects and great potential for how this aircraft will help our Air Force.”
“And you can imagine there’s information that they don’t know yet, that they haven’t given them yet, about what else this plane might be capable of.”
But Phantom added that retraining pilots on advanced aircraft posed certain challenges, like many others They used to fly old Russian-made Su-27 and MiG-29 planes.
Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. General Pat Rader Announced in August The United States will begin training Ukrainian F-16 pilots “to support international efforts to develop and strengthen Ukraine’s long-range defenses.”
The United States began training Ukrainian pilots in October, while the British Royal Air Force began in August, putting the pilots through flying and English lessons before the first batch began specific training on F-16s in Denmark in December. the first.
Grant Shapps, British Defense Secretary, said in a… press release While Ukraine was “vulnerable” to Russian air attacks during the early stages of the conflict, “its armed forces are now able to intercept and destroy the vast majority of incoming munitions” thanks to international backers providing air assistance to Ukraine. Air defences.
“Together, we are now going further by ensuring that Ukraine will have a modern air force in the future, consisting of the highly capable fourth generation F-16 fighter aircraft,” he added.
“Ukraine highly appreciates the pilot training provided by the UK and other partners,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustam Umarov said, adding that it had provided “a fast and effective program to equip Ukrainian pilots with the skills they need in the war against Russia.” “.
It will take several months before they see action against Russian forces. A Ukrainian Air Force spokesman said.
Netherlands, Denmark and Norway The Telegraph reported that the company is offering up to 60 F-16 aircraft to Ukraine.
The 49-foot-long aircraft can carry two 2,000-pound bombs, two AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, two AIM-120 Advanced Intermediate-Range air-to-air missiles, and two 2,400-pound external fuel tanks. . It is also equipped with a 20 mm M-61A1 multi-barrel gun.
It adds that it can fly more than 500 miles when conducting air-to-ground operations.
But the Atlantic Council A think tank expressed doubt in an August report that the fighter jet would be a game-changer in the war, as Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems would likely pose a serious threat to all Ukrainian aircraft and force them into combat. Flying at low altitudes, which puts them at a disadvantage.
Despite this, the report noted that “the effort to train Ukrainian pilots, ground crews and logistics to operate and maintain these aircraft will have long-term value.”
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(Tags for translation)Ukrainian Air Force