France to train 26 Ukrainian F-16 pilots in the next two years

F-16 fighter jets. Photo:

Having reduced the time of training for Ukrainian pilots, France now intends to prepare 26 F-16 pilots in 2024-2026.

This was reported by Le Monde.

Having discussed it with Ukraine, the French Air and Space Force has cut the training duration shorter, from 1,5 years to 6 months. Thus, the first pilots are expected to be certified in September 2024 as ten Ukrainians started their training in the southwest of France in April 2024.

The Ukrainian pilots are learning to operate Dassault Alpha Jets training aircraft that mimick the F-16 dashboard.

“They have to acquire as many skills as possible so that when they get into the conversion squadron they will only need to learn something specific to the F-16 or Mirage jets,” the instructor explains.

No more details about location, training and pilots have been shared due to security reasons. It is, however, known that the future F-16 pilots are quite young, 21-23 years old.

The French Air and Space Force representatives also stated that some of the Mirages promised by President Macron will be taken from the stocks of the squadron currently based in the Haute-Saône department.

During Zelenskyy’s visit to France on June 6, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the transfer of Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets to Ukraine, the number of the jets remains uknown.

Read also: Netherlands facilitates delivery of F-16s for Ukraine