US President Joseph Biden has given the green light to training Ukrainian pilots on American F-16 combat aircraft, said the national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, at a press conference.
Sullivan noted that the nature of military assistance to Ukraine is changing "as military operations move forward in the conflict with Russia," and promised that training will begin in the coming months.
Possibility of deliveries of American fight jets to Ukraine has faced many difficulties, although this idea has many influential supporters. Yesterday, CNN reported that the White House administration made it clear to European allies that it would not object to deliveries of F-16 aircraft to Ukraine. The US government agreed to such a step under pressure from congressmen and European politicians. This Wednesday, a group of congressmen from both the Democratic and Republican parties wrote a letter to Joe Biden asking to grant permission to export combat aircraft to Ukraine.
Such exports would not make much sense without providing appropriate training to Ukrainian pilots. As expected, following yesterday's announcement of consent to export the aircraft, the US authorities gave the go-ahead for the training of Ukrainian pilots.
At the same time, such training is difficult and time-consuming. For example, Israeli military flight courses last three years. Only after undergoing such training a cadet becomes a novice pilot.
Ukrainian pilots already have basic training, but the very transition from Soviet aircraft to modern American fighters means a complete change in the concept of machine control and air combat. The F-16 also requires long runways, which Ukraine does not have.
Russians may not be in danger of facing American aircraft in Ukrainian airspace in the coming months, unlike modern missiles and air defense systems, which cause the Russian troops a lot of trouble and prevent them from seizing new territories.