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The US has will start to coach Ukrainian fighter-jet pilots in Arizona this autumn, the Pentagon stated on Thursday.


The pilots are anticipated to start out coaching on the Morris Air Nationwide Guard Base in Tucson in October after finishing English language training in September at Lackland Air Drive Base in San Antonio, Texas.

“America will quickly start coaching Ukrainians to fly and keep F-16 fighter plane in help of the worldwide effort to develop and strengthen Ukraine’s long-term defences,” Pentagon press secretary Patrick Ryder stated.

Ryder stated the US didn’t but have a selected quantity for what number of pilots could be included however stated the Pentagon anticipates the coaching would contain a number of pilots and dozens of crew members to keep up the superior fighter jets. Ukraine will choose the pilots who take part.

American officers had indicated they might be open to coaching Ukrainian pilots inside the US if European capability was not adequate. Ryder stated the US choice was a pre-emptive transfer geared toward ensuring that the worldwide programme can function as wanted.

Kyiv’s European allies intention to ship F-16s to Ukraine as soon as the coaching is full. The US has stated it could help the transfers however wouldn’t be supplying its personal plane.

“We’re speaking months, not weeks,” Ryder stated, including that the plane have been meant to help Ukraine’s long-term safety somewhat than the present counteroffensive.

The US programme is geared toward complementing different coaching efforts in Europe, together with these by Denmark and the Netherlands. Each international locations pledged on Sunday to donate F-16s to Ukraine and Norway on Thursday stated it could additionally present the fighter jets.

Denmark started coaching eight Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16s earlier this week.

A part of the American effort shall be geared toward assessing particular person pilots’ talent to assist decide how lengthy the coaching will final.

F-16 coaching for American pilots with out a lot expertise sometimes lasts eight months, whereas extra skilled pilots typically practice for 5 months or so.

“So much goes to rely on these particular person pilots,” Ryder stated.

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