US refuses permission to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16s – NYT

Alexander Topchy11:34, 18.05.23

Without clear American approval, the training of Ukrainian pilots is limited to familiarization with technical language and tactical lessons without even touching the F-16.

The US is banning Ukrainian pilots from training on F-16 fighters in European countries, despite the willingness of several countries to conduct such training.

The New York Times writes about this , citing Ukrainian and American officials. The publication notes that the US reluctance to allow the exercises will seriously limit the proposed new European coalition to help Ukraine get F-16s and fly.

Without clear American approval, the training of Ukrainian pilots is limited to familiarization with technical language and tactical lessons without even touching the F-16.

It is noted that the Biden administration, which must approve any transfer of American-made aircraft, is still convinced that Ukraine does not need expensive aircraft, which are the main element of many modern military arsenals.

The Biden administration is still unwilling to send its own F-16s to Ukraine, in part because of their high cost, which could spend a large chunk of the budget supporting Ukraine, according to a senior US official. However, according to the official, the Biden administration is more focused on accelerating the transfer of other American weapons to Ukraine for a counteroffensive against Russia. The official adds that the planes will not reach the battlefield in the coming months anyway.

At the same time, a US official did not rule out the possibility that the Biden administration would issue re-export licenses to the European military, allowing them to transfer their F-16s to Ukraine.

According to a Ukrainian official, the Netherlands is one of four European countries that have privately announced their readiness to send F-16s to Ukraine. Norway, which retired its unspecified number of F-16s last year in favor of the more advanced F-35, is also ready to do its part, the official added.

It is noted that thanks to its powerful radar, which is able to detect targets at a distance of hundreds of kilometers, and advanced missiles, the F-16 contains secret and other strictly limited systems, which is why the United States does not want them to be duplicated or fall into the hands of enemies.

(C)UNIAN 2023


  1. That’s because the Biden administration wants us to believe that air power is not important.

  2. The Biden Regine is not interested in Ukraine winning.

    They weren’t in 2014, and they’re not now

  3. Exactly what I was saying. Biden wants a STALEMATE, for the situation to return before the invasion, and to make the west oblivious again. Or he genuinely believes Ukraine can’t do better.

    When russia’s political pressure seemed more “favorable,” it seemed like a win-win, because the billionaires could get their fancy yachts and mansions through “peaceful trade” of “cheap gas.” Russia got money from the west, the west got cheap gas, and promises of “peace,” though with hidden strings attached. The trade meant that An invasion makes it harder for corrupt mobsters to continue getting their wealth, but russia was expecting to seize Ukraine within a week. Then the admirably ferocious skill of Ukraine’s military as they started defending their country, surprised the doddering old fool-in-chief (I will always be embarrassed to say he’s an American president 🤮), biden even offered Zelensky a ride out, but Ukrainians are more braveer than to just turn and run. So then he starts sending American aid, but always only enough to make a difference in a pitched battle. Never enough to force the russians out and to keep them out.

    Either biden wants to weaken putin, but keep the options open for “cheap” russian gas later, or believes putin will surrender when the kremlin realizes they face only a continual “bleeding-out” of the russian economy. I don’t expect a surrender from putin, but I think biden does, and this is “cheaper” than sending allied troops with fully supportive military equipment.

    • Biden doesn’t want a stalemate.
      Why do you think they are so heavily invested in this counter offensive?

      I absolutely do believe he is not doing enough, but I don’t believe at all he is satisfied with a stalemate. You are not giving hundreds of armoured vehicles and you don’t arrange tanks if you want a stalemate.

      Also, why do you think he allocated almost double of the aid of this fiscal year for the next year? Because he wants Russia to retain a foothold in Ukraine?

      He is very much aware that there is much more at stake than just Ukraine, which is democracy.

  4. Biden shat his pants when he met the Pope. Incontinent both in brain and sphincter!

  5. I think that if there is a clear plan from other NATO states to provide F-16’s there will be permission.
    The Biden administration has said they weren’t against other countries supplying jets. I think this article is more pessimistic than might be necessary, as there probably hasn’t been any formal request yet as the fighter jet coalition is only a few weeks old at best.

    Also, I do think they are planning fighter jets for the new fiscal year, as the aid package is almost twice as large.
    Like with everything that Ukraine was denied before, it will eventually come.

    I think the main reason is the budget cap of the current aid package, so if it runs out before September the U.S. can no longer send ammo.

    I also listened to a British buy on the Times channel on YouTube, that argued ATACMS probably were sent before, but in small quantities, as there were several unexplained long range strikes in Crimea before the British missiles arrived.
    I don’t know if it is true, but at least they had long range missiles before, but they could also be Ukrainian made.

    It isn’t unlikely that there is a deal with China, which denies the U.S. the right to send long range missiles in exchange for China not helping Russia. If this is true, they might do it covertly.

    This sad, I am annoyed by the cowardice and the slow pace of arms deliveries by the Biden administration. But the good thing about the Biden administration is that if they say no, you can be sure it will become a yes eventually.

    • The Biden administration has signaled to European allies in recent weeks that the US would allow them to export F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, sources familiar with the discussions said, as the White House comes under increasing pressure from members of Congress and allies to help Ukraine procure the planes amid intensifying Russian aerial attacks.

      Administration officials are not aware, however, of any formal requests by any allies to export F-16s, and State Department officials who would normally be tasked with the paperwork to approve such third-party transfers have not been told to get to work, officials said.

      A handful of European countries have a supply of the US-made F-16s, including the Netherlands, which has signaled a willingness to export some of them to Ukraine. But the US would have to approve that third party transfer because of the jets’ sensitive US technology.

      While the US remains reluctant to send any of its own F-16s to Kyiv, US officials told CNN that the administration is prepared to approve the export of the jets to Ukraine if that is what allies decide to do with their supply.

      National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby declined to comment specifically on the possibility of the US sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, but said broadly that the US has been forward-looking about “future capabilities” and needs. F-16s are “not on the agenda” at the G7, he said, though the aircraft could certainly come up on the sidelines of the summit.

      US lawmakers and congressional staffers have joined in the F-16 lobbying campaign, urging the administration to provide the jets so that Ukraine can establish control over its skies.

      As a bipartisan group of lawmakers, we view the transfer of F-16 fighter aircraft to Ukraine as essential for providing Kyiv with the air support capability required to fully defend their nation against Russia’s unprovoked, illegal, and brutal invasion, and to make the territorial gains necessary to reclaim their country,” a group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers wrote in a letter to President Joe Biden on Wednesday that was obtained by CNN.

      The issue is expected to be a subject of debate at the next NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, in July, officials said.

      Another open question is where Ukrainian pilots would train on these F-16s. A spokesperson for UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said earlier this week that the UK and the Netherlands were looking to form an “international coalition” not only to procure the jets for Ukraine but also to train Ukrainian pilots on the 4th generation fighters, which are more advanced than the Ukrainian fighter fleet.

      In March, the US hosted two Ukrainian pilots at a military base in Tucson, Arizona to evaluate their skills using flight simulators and to assess how much time they would need to learn to fly various US military aircraft, including F-16s. But US has no plans as of now to expand that training, a defense official told CNN, despite Congress setting aside money in the 2023 budget for such training.

      US allies with F-16s could conduct training for Ukrainian fighter pilots, or the aircraft’s manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, could carry out training as a private contractor. But the defense official said such an arrangement would likely need some level of US participation, even if it doesn’t require an official US sign off like the transfer of US weaponry overseas.

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