Previously, it was not known from which countries the fighters would be released. Western fighters are unlikely to be seen in Ukraine until next year.
The US has approved sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine from Denmark and the Netherlands.
An official source tells the news agency Reuters about it. The news agency has seen the foreign minister by Antony Blinken The letters he sent to Denmark and Holland in which he confirms the matter.
Danish Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen has confirmed to the Dane for the TV 2 channel having received Blinken’s letter.
The United States already said in May that it would accept the handover of F-16 fighters. Previously, however, it was not known from which countries the fighters would be sent.
Due to arms trade rules, fighter jets could not have been sent to Ukraine without US permission.
Ukraine has previously had no Western fighter fleet. So far, there is no information on the number of fighters to be handed over to Ukraine.
The fighters will probably not be in use until next summer
It seems that the fighters will not be in real action in Ukraine until next year. According to Danish Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, no decision has been made yet on the date of the handover.
According to the US, the fighters can be handed over once the Ukrainian pilots are trained to operate the machines. A coalition of a total of 11 countries is supposed to start training fighter pilots in Denmark in August.
Minister of Defense by Troels Lund Poulsen Denmark hopes that the results of the training would be visible from the beginning of 2024.
Newspaper for the Washington Post however, the Ukrainian sources who spoke estimate that the pilots will not have been trained until the summer of 2024. The pilots and the maintenance crews to be trained will have to start with a four-month English course, which will stretch the schedule. The combat training itself takes half a year.
According to two Ukrainian sources of the Washington Post, only six pilots will participate in the first training batch. Another batch of the same size would be trained at the end of next year.
However, according to the newspaper, the United States is considering the possibility of training pilots in the United States as well. The country’s air force trains about 400 F-16 pilots every year.
It is true that the Ukrainian pilots have received some kind of F-16 training even before the beginning of the training period that is starting now. This was stated by the Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg in June.
Ukraine needs fighters to avoid heavy losses in a counterattack
Those who visited in the morning Emil KastehelmiOSINT analyst from the Black Bird Group and MPKK military professor, Lt. Col. Aki-Mauri Huhtinen commented on the importance of F-16 fighters to the war.
– At the moment, Ukraine has not achieved air supremacy, and it uses its fighters very carefully, because the losses cannot be compensated, says Kastehelmi.
The risk is that the operational capability of the Ukrainian Air Force will drop too low through fighter losses. Equipment is needed from the west, so that fighters would dare to use more in the attack.
Fighters and air defense systems are needed to be able to control the airspace during an attack and protect the troops on the ground, says MPKK’s Huhtinen. Because of Russia’s massive minefields, the attack by the ground forces progresses intermittently: First they clear the mines, then they stop to fight.
– If then the air becomes a threat and at the same time you get indirect fire on your neck, then there will be losses. This is exactly the weakness of Ukraine, where they have to improvise.