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Ukrainian Pilots Training in the United States?


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Reports from anonymous sources say two Ukrainian pilots are in the United States for an assessment of their fighter jet pilot skills.

The program is reportedly at an Air National Guard base in Tucson, Arizona.

The pilots will fly aircraft simulators to “evaluate their flying and mission-planning capabilities,” according to a Politico report.

Could this be a stepping stone to providing American fighter jets to Ukraine?

Although U.S. officials deny that Ukraine will receive fighter jets, it’s suspicious that they’re training Ukrainian pilots on American soil.

In fact, Ukrainian troops have already trained on American soil.

Ukrainian Troops to Train on American Soil!

Politico reported:

The aim is to assess their overall skills and what training they need to better use “their own capabilities and capabilities we have provided them on their own planes,” said one of the three, who is a U.S. official. The U.S. has provided bombs, missiles and guidance kits for Ukraine’s Soviet-era aircraft.

“The program involves watching how Ukrainian pilots conduct their mission planning and execution in flight simulators in order to determine how we can better advise the Ukrainian Air Force,” the U.S. official said.

A Defense Department official and another person familiar with the program said the aim is to evaluate how long it will take Ukrainian pilots to learn to fly modern fighter aircraft, including F-16s. The program was supposed to begin late last year, but was delayed, the people said.

The pilots have been at the base for a week and will stay for at least one more week. A Defense Department spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It seems that U.S. officials are trying to learn how long it will take Ukrainian pilots to operate an F-16 to know the appropriate time to send the fighter jets to Ukraine.

This means more equipment funded by U.S. taxpayer dollars will go down the Kyiv sinkhole.

NBC News added:

The official, Colin Kahl, told the House Armed Services Committee that the U.S. had not made the decision to provide F-16s and neither had U.S. allies and partners.

He also said the U.S. had “not started training on F-16s” and that the delivery time line for F-16s is “essentially the same” as the training time line, about 18 months.

“So you don’t actually save yourself time by starting the training early in our assessment,” said Kahl, who is the under secretary of defense for policy. “And since we haven’t made the decision to provide F-16s and neither have our allies and partners, it doesn’t make sense to start to train them on a system they may never get.”

Other U.S. defense officials have said the training could be shortened to six to nine months, depending on the pilots previous training and knowledge of fighter aircraft.

Ukrainian officials have told the U.S. and other allies that they had fewer than 20 pilots ready to travel to the U.S. to train on F-16s but have about 30 who could be trained soon, according to American and Western officials.

Asked about the assessment of two Ukrainian pilots, a defense official described it as “familiarization event.”



 

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