U.S. Brigadier General Patrick S. Ryder, press secretary of the Department of Defense, unveiled plans for the U.S. to train Ukrainian pilots in operating the sophisticated F-16 fighter jets.
Bridging the Language Gap
Ryder highlighted the unique challenges tied to this initiative. "Although some Ukrainian pilots have English language skills, we are anticipating that all the pilots coming to the United States will require some level of additional English language instruction," Ryder noted.
The intricacies of operating such advanced machinery necessitate mastery of a specialized form of English, unique to aviation. As a testament to this commitment, Ukrainian pilots will kickstart their training journey with language courses in September.
Post this, they will progress to actual flight training at Morris Air National Guard Base in Tucson, Arizona, set to begin in October.
Strengthening International Relations
This recent move resonates with President Biden's recent dialogue with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
In their telephonic conversation last Thursday, where Biden extended his wishes for Ukraine's Independence Day, the two leaders also broached the topic of training Ukrainian fighter pilots. Further, President Biden gave assurances for a speedy approval process for other nations to transfer their F-16s to Ukraine.
This would significantly bolster Ukraine's defense capabilities upon the completion of the training. Ryder also touched upon the specifics, albeit remaining somewhat nebulous on the exact figures. "The number of Ukrainians who will be trained in the US has not yet been confirmed, but there will likely be several pilots and dozens of support personnel," he disclosed.
A Collaborative International Effort
Ryder emphasized the collaborative nature of this undertaking, hinting at the global push to strengthen Ukraine's defensive stature. "We know that as the Danes and the Dutch prepare to train those pilots, capacity will be reached at some future point.
So, preemptively acknowledging that and leaning forward to assist with this effort is why we're embarking on this now," he remarked.