Ukrainian pilots begin F-16 flight training with Royal Air Force

UK Ministry of Defence

Ukrainian fighter pilots are now learning to fly F-16 fighter jets with the Royal Air Force (RAF) in Denmark following basic training in the United Kingdom. 

This collaboration is part of the international coalition to boost Ukraine’s air capabilities. 

“Together we’re now going further by ensuring Ukraine has a modern air force in the future, formed around the highly capable fourth-generation F-16 fighter jet,” UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps commented. “Combined with training from the world-leading RAF, this is a significant step forward from Ukraine’s current Soviet-era capabilities.” 

Six experienced Ukrainian pilots completed English language training in the UK, enhancing their ability to work with coalition forces. 10 more Ukrainian trainees continue language training in the UK, focusing on practical flight skills and aviation medicine. 

The training covers general flying procedures, instrument use, navigation, and formation flying, moving upcoming Ukrainian pilots toward adopting a flying approach aligned with NATO standards. The UK’s support extends beyond pilots to include English language training for Ukrainian aircraft technicians. 

After RAF training, Ukrainian pilots will undergo advanced training with another European nation, potentially France, preparing them for F-16 operations overseen by Denmark, the Netherlands, and the United States. 

The UK’s commitment to supporting Ukrainian pilots and ground crew will continue in 2024 under Operation Interflex. 

In early November 2023, the Netherlands delivered the first five F-16 fighters that will be used to train Ukrainian pilots at the European F-16 Training Centre (EFTC) at the 86th Air Base, near Fetești, Romania. 

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