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How Much Time Ukrainian Pilots Took to Switch From Soviet Jets to F-16

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A Ukrainian pilot-in-training heading to a Grob Tutor trainer jet during basic training in preparation to master F-16 / Photo credit: UK Ministry of Defense
A Ukrainian pilot-in-training heading to a Grob Tutor trainer jet during basic training in preparation to master F-16 / Photo credit: UK Ministry of Defense

This includes both piloting course and learning all necessary terminology in English

The UK government, through its defense department, has reported that the first group of six pilots from the Ukrainian Air Force has completed the basic training program in the country, and now they continue learning to fly F-16 multirole fighter jets in Denmark.

The British training, hosted by the Royal Air Force, started in August 2023 and took five months to complete, including a special English language course.

Read more: Britain Denies Ukraine of Eurofighter Typhoon to Scrap Them Instead
Ukrainian pilots-in-training in the United Kingdom
Ukrainian pilots-in-training in the United Kingdom / Photo credit: UK Ministry of Defense

"It is a rapid and effective program to equip Ukrainian pilots with the skills they need in the war against Russia," as noted by Rustem Umierov, Ukraine's Minister of Defense.

Additionally, the next group of ten Ukrainian trainee pilots are currently undergoing training in the UK. After completing language training, they will proceed to practical basic flight training, where they will learn various skills, including aviation medicine and centrifuge training (colloquially known as high-g training).

The practical training involves the use of Grob Tutor aircraft, covering control, instrument flight rules, navigation at medium and low altitudes, formation flights, and more. Aircraft maintenance technicians are also part of the training program, focusing on domain-specific English.

Illustartive photo: Grob Tutor trainer aircraft
Illustartive photo: Grob Tutor trainer aircraft / Photo credit: Royal Air Force

The UK government had earlier announced its participation in the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets as part of a defense aid package for Ukraine. This initiative is an extension of the broader effort that has seen over 53,000 Ukrainian military personnel trained in the UK since 2014.

As for the materiel the Ukrainian pilots will have to work with, the Netherlands has recently started preparing the first batch of 18 F-16 fighters for the transfer to Ukraine.

F-16 multirole fighter aircraft
F-16 multirole fighter aircraft / Illustrative photo credit: U.S. Air Force
Read more: Preparation for Transfer of First 18 F-16s From the Netherlands to Ukraine Has Begun