Military analyst Sean Bell spoke to Sky News about the promise to send F-16s to Ukraine, as well as pilot training.
Asked when fighter jets could be seen flying in Ukraine’s skies, he said: “President Zelenskiy would ask as soon as possible, no doubt. But inevitably there are a lot of factors. Two of the main ones are pilot training .The US has evaluated two of the Ukrainian pilots in their training system and they believe that it would take a year to do more training, but with an intensive program, flight training, ground skills, etc., they estimate that they can reduce time to 4 months for experienced Ukrainian pilots”.
He added: “The other thing is how to get the planes to them, because every nation has one
In addition, Bell said, once the new plane reaches Ukrainian airspace, “the Russians will target it – so it will be vulnerable.”
“They’re going to have to make sure that Ukraine’s needs make it fully integrated behind air defense systems, surface-to-air missiles and things like that. And the other thing they have to do, without management, is to ensure that their own Ukrainian air defense systems do not target and shoot it down,” he said.
US President Joe Biden signaled to G-7 leaders on Friday that he would give the green light to Western deliveries of fighter jets to Ukraine, including US F-16s, a senior White House official said on Friday.
“During the training period, in the coming months, our coalition of states participating in this effort will decide when to provide the planes, how many and who,” said the quoted source.
AFP noted that the wording “when” and not “if” represents the most favorable signal from the United States so far regarding the delivery of these planes requested by Kiev.
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