September 21, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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Training of Ukrainians on F-16s has been postponed, and planning is at risk

Training of Ukrainians on F-16s has been postponed, and planning is at risk

Denmark’s intention – which together with the Netherlands leads Ukraine’s F-16 alliance – to start training Ukrainian Air Force personnel this month has proven overly optimistic. Those exercises may not start on Danish soil until October.

This puts the schedule at risk. During a NATO summit in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius last month, the outgoing Dutch defense minister, Kajsa Olongren, among others, spoke of “a phase between August and the beginning of next year, when you have to ensure that people are trained” for flying and potentially combating the F-16.

The coalition of NATO countries willing to satisfy Ukraine’s strong demand for F-16 fighters has expanded to twelve. The Netherlands and Denmark play a leading role in this alliance, in which Belgium, Canada, Norway and Poland also participate, among others. “We will start in Denmark in August,” Olungrenz (acting) told his Danish counterpart Troels Lund Poulsen in Vilnius.

According to the commander of the Dutch Armed Forces, Uno Eichelsheim, “Denmark will ensure that they can actually start training from the third quarter of this year.” This was stated by the Netherlands’ highest military officer on Tuesday evening on the NPO 1 radio programme This is today. The Danish Ministry of Defense does not immediately respond to questions on this subject.

Specific English slang

What starts this month is English language training for about eight Ukrainian pilots. The American F-16 system is complex. Mastery of the very special English terms is essential for both manuals and usage. “It’s not the easiest of books,” said a Department of Defense spokesperson. Language courses are offered in the UK.

Typically, training to become an F-16 pilot takes several years. The program, which is designed for Ukrainians, is an intensive course of four to eight months. Not only pilots, but also maintenance engineers, operations planners, and other ground support personnel must receive this training.

Eichelsheim on NPO radio reiterated what military experts have been saying for months: expectations regarding the Ukrainian deployment of the F-16 as a major factor in the war are very high. You should not expect to be this golden nugget that will suddenly win the war. It is part of the long-term support that we are ready to provide to Ukraine.

No US approval yet

If it were for the actual delivery of the F-16s to Ukraine, separate US permission would be required. American news channel CNN Last week I reported that Washington has not yet received a concrete F-16 training program from European allies, which means that it will not be possible to give formal US approval to use, among other things, the (military secret) manuals. and flight simulators.

In the absence of a training program, the Americans can, he said CNN Also not to decide on any assistance by American F-16 pilots in training the Ukrainians.

CNN Based, among other things, on a leaked Air Force memo. With this leak (about the alleged delays from the European side), Washington would like to prevent the image in Europe of resisting the Americans in supporting the Ukrainian F-16s.

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