The first Ukrainian pilots to have undergone intensive training under the guidance of Royal Air Force instructors have graduated from flight school, say the Ministry of Defence.

The 10 pilots received basic flying, ground school and language training in the UK and will one day form the first line of defence in protecting Ukraine’s skies from Putin’s forces.

The cohort will now move to advanced flying training provided by the French Air Force before learning to fly F-16 fighter jets.

Secretary of State for Defence, Grant Shapps said:

“I would like to congratulate these brave pilots on completing their initial training here in the UK. Thanks to the world-renowned skills of RAF, these pilots have received some of the best training available and are now a step closer to joining the fight against Putin’s illegal invasion.

The UK has led the way in building Ukraine’s air capabilities over the last two years, enhancing its aircraft with additional equipment, as well as being the first nation to provide long-range cruise missiles to Ukraine.

Ukraine has been using its Air Force to devastating effect, degrading the Russian Black Sea Fleet and severely damaging its Headquarters. This milestone is another step forward for Ukraine’s aerial capabilities – together with our allies we are showing that we will continue to stand by Ukraine’s side.”

The news release also stated:

“A modern air force will provide a significant boost to Ukraine’s capabilities, which currently consist of Soviet-era aircraft, acting both as a strong deterrent and highly effective countermeasure against Putin’s own forces – limiting their ability to attack targets within Ukraine.”

While the UK does not operate the F-16 fighter jets which Ukraine has chosen to form the core of its modernised air force, the Prime Minister and Defence Secretary have consistently urged partners and allies to back an international programme to provide training and jets to the Ukrainians, which is scheduled to deliver the first F-16s to Ukraine by summer 2024.

You can read more on this from the Ministry of Defence here.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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George Amery
George Amery
12 days ago

Hi folks hope all is well.
Good to see. And hopefully these pilots will survive to tell of their stories!
Once aging the UK is demonstrating the ability to step up in support in the hard core of war fighting. Wonder if main stream media is reporting this?
Cheers
George

George Amery
George Amery
12 days ago
Reply to  George Amery

Sorry “again” predictive as per.

Tommo
Tommo
12 days ago
Reply to  George Amery

Cheers George main media ? Doubt it there’s no diversity in the men that are off to defend their country from aggression might make Forces Dot net though

DB
DB
12 days ago

Give them the Tranche 1 tiffies and spares; that would make the commie eyes smart.

George
George
12 days ago

I wonder who paid for their training?
While the RAF is struggling to train our own lads.

John Clark
John Clark
10 days ago
Reply to  George

‘train our own lads’, has the woke wonk revolution not caught up with you George, we are currently looking for one legged colour blind ethnic minority lesbians to man (that word can’t be right either) our Airforce….

White men most certainly need not apply with their horrendous and absolutely appalling unconscious bias…..

George
George
10 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

It caught up John but I beat it to death with my caveman club. Best if we leave it there. Some on here have no sense of humour. Too easily triggered by common sense statements about primate gender roles that have evolved over millions of years.

AlexS
AlexS
6 days ago
Reply to  George

RAF do have big strain with jet class training – that is why is sending pilots to Italy and US – not much for initial classes with propeller aircraft.
I believe that is inevitable that all or almost all RAF jet combat pilots will be trained aboard.

DaSaint
DaSaint
9 days ago

All the best to these pilots. Interesting that their next phase of training is in France, which creates further language difficulties. Regardless, they should have aircraft in hand by Summer, along with those being trained in the US and the Netherlands.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
9 days ago
Reply to  DaSaint

I think but don’t quote me on this that the french pilots use English. I think most airforces do for certain tasks.

DaSaint
DaSaint
9 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

I believe you’re right, but these guys just learned or are not proficient in English, who now have to hear ‘English’ with a French accent. It probably doesn’t make a difference, just thought it was a curious transition.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
9 days ago

I like the Ukraine has chosen to form its airforce around the F16. Like they had a big choice of what to take.
It would be great if they could get a 2nd jet to run alongside.
Main thing the F16 gives is lots of available airframes, upgrades etc.
the U.K. could order typhoons or gripen for Ukraine to receive in the future. Could pay for them with Ukraine taking an interest free long term loan. Delivery in a few years allows time for training etc.
if it all goes wrong the U.K. has some extra jets to operate.