The US government has confirmed Ukrainian pilots could be trained in America if capacity was reached at F-16 programs in Europe.
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Denmark and the Netherlands recently announced negotiations for the possible supply of 61 F-16 fighter jets and pilot training for Ukrainian pilots after in-person discussions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
A coalition of 11 NATO countries in Europe have reportedly offered to help train Ukrainian pilots in Denmark, Romania, and potentially, Greece.
Additionally, the Pentagon would consider training Ukrainian pilots stateside on F-16s if training capacity was reached in Europe, according to comments made by Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder during a press briefing on 22 August.
“As it relates to Ukrainian pilot F-16 training in the US, we are prepared to support a training effort here in the continental United States if capacity is reached in Europe,” he said.
“I don’t have any specifics to provide right now in terms of which bases that training could occur at, but certainly, if the decision is made to do that and we move forward, we’ll be sure to provide you with updates on that.
“First of all, we are very grateful to our European allies, Denmark and the Netherlands in particular, for leading this effort. Because this is a US system, there are certain laws and regulations in place, in terms of how that equipment can be used by third parties.
“We’ll have much more details to provide in the future as Denmark and the Netherlands kick off this program and we’ll be able to illuminate some of our additional support on that front.
Brig Gen Ryder said recent updates have seen the US State Department publicly announce intents to support any requests as part of the process and detail a long-term commitment to Ukraine’s security and defence.