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Ukraine Wants To Retake Control Of The Skies — The Problem? Their Pilots Aren’t Ready For Combat

Ukraine is preparing to use fighter jets for a major air strike against Russia, but it's unclear when the country will have fighter pilots trained to actually fly the jets, The New York Times says. The paper reported on Monday.

The NATO alliance and European partners are shipping F-16 jets to Ukraine to shore up Kiev's counteroffensive against Russia, which has been largely stalled as of last year. The plan is to have them fielded by summer, but so far only a few of the promised fighters have been delivered and it is unclear when they will be able to fly them, as Ukrainian pilots have not yet completed their training. . according to To NYT. (Related: Pope Francis tells Ukraine to have 'courage to negotiate' with Russia)

According to the NYT, the Ukrainian pilots began training at Sklydstrup Air Base in southern Denmark last August while waiting for a new training center to be built in Romania. The training process, which normally takes years, was condensed into a few months due to the urgent need to fly the jet. However, pilots' lack of English proficiency and lack of understanding of Western flying methods has delayed the training process beyond its targets. The timeline the allies wanted.

French military personnel look on next to a Dassault Rafale fighter jet at the Fetesti Air Base in the Boruca commune near the town of Fetesti, Romania, October 19, 2023. Three Dassault Rafale fighter jets from the 30th Fighter Squadron from Mont-de-Marsan are located in southwestern France, flying the Eagle mission since the start of the Ukraine war, aimed at defending NATO territory from a possible Russian attack. participated in. (Photo by Daniel Mikhailescu/AFP)

Fetesti air base The airfield in southeastern Romania, first announced at the NATO summit in July, is already complete, allowing flight instructors to begin training Ukrainian pilots using the F-16 jets available at the base, according to the NYT. It is said that it became like this. However, the Ukrainian pilots have not yet arrived at the base, and it is unclear when they will arrive to begin training.

According to the NYT, 12 pilots have completed training at the Danish base, and eight pilots are scheduled to begin training during the summer. It is unclear when training will begin at Romania's Fetesti base, even though Western countries have promised that the base will play an urgent role in preparing pilots.

Even if the pilots complete the necessary training, the question remains how many F-16 jets will be available at that time. According to the NYT, NATO and European allies have jointly promised to ship 45 jets, but so far only six will be delivered by the time Ukrainian pilots are ready to begin flying them. That's what it means. Mr. DeMarque promised to send the first six people later in the spring.

Other allies that have committed to sending fighter jets to Ukraine have not set a schedule for delivery, according to the NYT. The Netherlands has promised to send 24 of the 45 planes, but will not do so until Ukraine is ready.

More broadly, Ukraine has called on its allies to provide more military aid in the fight against Russia, but there are concerns that Kiev does not have a final strategy and may not be able to secure military strength. As concerns grow, Congress has become increasingly divided over the outlook. victory. President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass more aid to Ukraine during Thursday's State of the Union address.

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