The Ukrainian Air Force will update the Aviation Development Concept for Western aircraft
The Ministry of Defense and the Government of Ukraine have started work on adapting the aviation development concept to the transition to Western-style aircraft.
Volodymyr Zelensky announced this on his official social media page.
“We have started work on a comprehensive concept of our aviation development, considering the transition to new aircraft types. A new organizational structure, pilot and staff training, necessary infrastructure, material, and technical support, etc.,” Volodymyr Zelensky wrote.
The decision was announced shortly after the United States authorized the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to allies and supported a joint effort with other countries to train Ukrainian pilots.
To date, five countries have undertaken the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets. These are the Netherlands, Portugal, Denmark, Poland, and Belgium. The Canadian government has also expressed its readiness to join the training campaign.
It is currently unknown when Ukrainian pilot training will start and how long it will take. However, US Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall mentioned it would take at least “several months” before Ukraine would have the capability to operate F-16 fighter jets.
According to him, it is necessary to work out a number of details before Ukraine’s air force will be able to fly Western jets in significant amounts.
One of those “details” might be related to the preparation and modernization of the ground flight infrastructure, which should receive the aircraft transferred by the allies.
Even before Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine, the issues with the Ukrainian Air Force’s vision of reequipping with Western aircraft were actively discussed. At that time, it was emphasized that the country lacks proper service, airfields with appropriate coverage and individual protected hangars, and related infrastructure.
However, despite the current unpreparedness, it is realistic to build within a short period of time a network for the use of F-16 fighter jets based on the current civil and military aviation infrastructure in Ukraine, which would ensure the deployment of aircraft and their ongoing maintenance.
If the structure of the aircraft requires serious intervention, it can be transported on its own or by land to a service center located in neighboring Poland.
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