US Evaluates Ukrainian Pilots for Possible F-16 Training

US Evaluates Ukrainian Pilots for Possible F-16 Training

The United States is working with Ukrainian pilots in the US to determine how long they would need to learn to fly F-16 fighter jets, three sources with knowledge of the matter told CNN.

Two Ukrainian pilots are currently at a US military base where their skills are being tested on flight simulators to see how long it would take them to learn to fly various US military aircraft, including F-16s.

A US military official told reporters traveling with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to the Middle East that the Ukrainian pilots were in Tucson, Arizona, for “a familiarization event” that he described as a “military activity routine as part of our military-to-military dialogue with Ukraine.

“The familiarization event is essentially a discussion between Air Force personnel and an observation of how the US Air Force operates,” the official said.

“This event allows us to better help Ukrainian pilots to become more effective pilots and better advise them on how to develop their own capabilities.” The pilots will not be flying any platforms during this event, but will be using a simulator during parts of their visit.”

The official added that “there is no news to provide regarding the F-16s to Ukraine” and that there are no immediate plans to increase the number of Ukrainian pilots in the US.