Two Ukrainian pilots are currently undergoing training evaluation in the United States to fly American fighter jets, including F-16s.
F-16 aircraft are believed to be the aircraft Ukraine want to fight the most The invasion of Russia in the heavens.
Ukrainian President, Volodymyr ZelenskyTo said to the western nations the country needs jet planes to effectively fight the next stage of the war.
And at a military base in Tucson, Arizona, the WE seems to be trying to provide some of the help Ukrainians need.
Both pilots are being evaluated and their skills are being assessed by simulators, according to two congressional officials and a senior US official.
A US defense official called the training a “familiarization event”.
The program aims to improve the skills of pilots and assess the duration of an appropriate training program.
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“We have not made a decision”
Officials have made it clear that the Ukrainians will not be flying an actual plane – but rather using a simulator that can mimic the flight of various types of planes.
The presence of the pilots in the country does not mean there are any updates on the US decision to supply the fighter jets to Ukraine, officials also stressed.
“Since we didn’t make the decision to supply F-16s and neither did our allies and partners, it doesn’t make sense to start training them on a system they may never have. “said Undersecretary of Defense Colin Kahl.
Mr Kahl predicted the country would need 50 to 80 F-16s to replenish Ukraine’s current air force, at a cost of £9.1bn ($11bn), depending on the model and the number of aircraft delivered.
If a proper training program is put in place, it should take about 18 months, the same time it would take the United States to send older, refurbished aircraft models to Ukraine.
New F-16s, built from scratch, would take up to three to six years.
There are also no immediate plans to increase the number of pilots beyond the two in Tucson, but an official told NBC they “are not closing the door on future opportunities.”
Ukraine has told the United States and other allies it has fewer than 20 pilots willing to travel for fighter jet training.
Last month, during an interview with ABC, President Joe Biden resisted repeated requests from Ukrainian President Zelenskyy to send up to 128 planes, especially F-16s, arguing that the country did not have any. need at the moment.
Some officials have called for additional aid to be sent to combat attacks by Iranian-made drones in Ukraine. At the end of last year, such attacks contributed to 4.5 million Ukrainians losing power.
But critics have warned that even with US fighter jets, Ukraine’s air force would be no match for Russia, which currently has around 500 planes.