The first cohort of Ukrainian pilots to receive training from the Royal Air Force are now learning to fly F-16 fighter jets in Denmark, having completed a basic programme of training in the UK.

The Ministry of Defence say here that the RAF began delivering flying and English language training in August as part of the UK contribution to the international Air Force Capability Coalition for Ukraine, which sees allies and partners working together to bolster Ukraine’s air capabilities.

“The group was formed of six experienced Ukrainian combat fighter pilots who received aviation-specific English language training to increase their ability to engage with coalition training and support. A further ten Ukrainian trainee pilots took part in the language training and remain in the UK to continue with practical basic flight training, as well as to learn important skills such as aviation medicine and centrifuge training.”

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said:

“I am proud of the support the Royal Air Force is providing to the next generation of Ukraine’s combat air pilots and ground crew, who will be the first line of defence in protecting Ukraine’s skies. The UK has been instrumental in building Ukraine’s air defences since Putin launched his full-scale invasion, providing hundreds of missiles and munitions, as well as radar and weapons systems.

While Ukraine was highly vulnerable to attack from Russian aircraft, drones, and missiles in the early months of the invasion – with support from the UK and our allies, its Armed Forces are now able to intercept and destroy the overwhelming majority of incoming ordnance – protecting their civilian population and vital infrastructure. Together we’re now going further by ensuring Ukraine has a modern air force in the future, formed around the highly capable fourth-generation F-16 fighter jet. Combined with training from the world-leading RAF, this is a significant step forward from Ukraine’s current Soviet-era capabilities.”

The MOD add that the programme is designed to give trainee pilots the skills required to advance to the next phase of training on fighter jets with partner nations and bring future Ukrainian pilots closer to a NATO standard approach to flying.

“Pilots undergoing the basic flight training scheme are conducting practical lessons in Grob Tutor aircraft with experienced RAF instructors, learning general handling procedures, instrument flying, medium and low-level navigation, and formation flying. Alongside the pilot training, dozens of Ukrainian aircraft technicians are also receiving English language training, geared towards engineering.”

Defence Minister of Ukraine, Rustem Umerov, said:

“Ukraine highly values the pilot training that the UK and other partners are providing, to help us prepare for operating F-16s in Ukraine. It is a rapid and effective programme to equip Ukrainian pilots with the skills they need in the war against Russia.”

Once they have completed their training with the RAF, pilots will be trained by another European nation on advanced flying training. This will prepare them for training on the F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft, overseen by Denmark, the Netherlands, and the United States, which lead the Air Force Capability Coalition.

Avatar photo
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
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

29 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jonno
Jonno
3 months ago

This is helpful but NOT enough. Instead we read the Typhoon early Mk 1’s are being dismantled for spares. What a disgrace.

These should be refitted for use by the Ukrainians. Is the RAF so strapped for cash it has to continue on its disastrous policies? They seem to only work 9-5 weekdays compared to the RN, who are often on 6 months deployment overseas with ships running 24/7.

Get with it the Air Staff. Stay awake.

Micki
Micki
3 months ago
Reply to  Jonno

What needs the RAF it,s at least 200 aircraft instead of the present ridículous strenght, the thyphoons instead to be scrapped better would stay in the RAF.

Steve
Steve
3 months ago
Reply to  Jonno

I would guess not enough of them to make it worthwhile gifting to Ukraine (unlike tanks etc the expertise and logistics for flying fast jets is significantly more involving), especially when combined with spare parts for maintance. The fact they are being salvaged for parts would indicate the RAF is lacking parts for their own fleet which is more than slightly worrying.

Last edited 3 months ago by Steve
MattW
MattW
3 months ago
Reply to  Jonno

From everything I have seen, Typhoons are not a practical option for Ukraine to use, and we have known that since the start.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
3 months ago
Reply to  Jonno

The RAF is deployed globally. 24/7. QRA North/South and the Falklands is manned 24/7. Duty tanker 24/7. ISTAR assets are globally deployed. Op Shader out of RAF Akrotiri is a 24/7 commitment. Typhoons will not be transferred to the Ukraine. The engineering and logistics pipeline is to complex. And they would not want the risk of a highly complex 4th gen fighter landing in Russian hands. T1 Typhoon is costly compared to the capability they provide. £2.35Bn is being spent on upgrading the T2/3 fleet. Serious money. Also. The RAF take annual leave just like the RN do. Many RN… Read more »

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
3 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

BAE has confirmed to the MoD that the 30 T1 Typhoons to be broken up could be upgraded if the government was prepared to spend the money. In my view that is not the issue, it’s the lack of sufficient trained pilots to fly them.

The RAF has opened a new £1 million facility at RAF Valley to train ground crew maintainers for the service’s Hawk trainer aircraft fleet. Hopefully they will be able to resolve the technical issues with the Hawk II Rolls Royce engines which are believed to have been caused in part by lack of maintainence

Last edited 3 months ago by David Lloyd
Louis
Louis
3 months ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

It’s costing over 2 billion to upgrade the 40 T3s. The cost to upgrade the T1s would be astronomical. It would be much better to just order new aircraft. By now there isn’t 30 T1s in service anyway as 10 are in storage at Shawbury.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
3 months ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

I don’t think it’s due to a lack of pilots on the Typhoon force. The T1 fleet is a fleet with in a fleet. And they are costing the RAF a fortune to maintain. I’m not defending cuts, just offering a balanced voice. As there is often more to these decisions than meets the eye. New builds would be the best option. But the RAF would rather upgrade the remaining T2/3 aircraft to an extremely high standard that will offer force commanders more option’s. A reduction in numbers is never popular. But today’s combat air capability is measured in technical… Read more »

jjsmallpiece
jjsmallpiece
3 months ago
Reply to  Jonno

Like all UK Forces the RAF is a shadow of its former self. As we all know all 3 services have been massively cut back due to the short sighted outlook of the UK government(s) for the past 30yrs. For the RAF in particular since my time, the RAF is now roughly a 1/3 in size in terms of manpower strength.- down from circa 90000 to just over 30000. Aircraft might be more capable individually than the old Cold War Jags and Buccs but numbers have a quality. They can’t be everywhere at once. Especially once you factor in training… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
3 months ago
Reply to  jjsmallpiece

But today’s RAF would eclipse the RAF of the 80’s/90’s. Manpower has reduced to much. But todays capability would trump the numbers of the past.

JJ Smallpiece
JJ Smallpiece
3 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Indeed, I don’t disagree in 1 sense, that individually aircraft are more capable as technology changes etc. However the low numbers of air frames remains a concern. They haven’t worked out yet how 1 aircraft can be in more than 1 bit of the sky. Low numbers obviously means less ability to take combat losses but still have a fighting force. Plus random maintenance failure/incidents or in war repairable damaged aircraft being out of service.

Was it Stalin who said ‘quantity has a quality all of its own’

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
3 months ago
Reply to  JJ Smallpiece

It does. And our combat air mass should be a little higher than it is. That said. Every air campaign we have been involved in since the end of the Cold War has been as a combined force with our allies. We are not going to be going it alone against another nation. And having the very best capability allows us to operate shoulder to shoulder on the first night of war with the Americans. That might be unpopular. But that’s the reality. You would have to go back to 2003 when the RAF last deployed fast jets in greater… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Robert Blay
DaveyB
DaveyB
3 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Yes that’s true initially. However statistically things would even out after a week of conflict. This is mainly due to maintenance and logistical supply. If we look at the RAF in the early 90s prior to the full on digital age. In-service aircraft were a lot simpler to maintain and repair. But also the RAF as a whole were more technically savvy. This meant that if an aircraft suffered battle damage, the Squadron engineers were capable of doing most repairs. Today, you would have to call out specialists. As the RAF dumbed down what engineers are allowed to do, hence… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
3 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Hi Davey. I’m not sure I agree the RAF were more tech savvy back in the early 90’s compared to today. I would say the opposite is true as aircraft and systems have got ever more complex. Today’s technician training is ever more focused on avionics and systems diagnostics. And techs are dual traded these days instead of separate Avionics, Engines, airframes and electrical trades. We have also been sustaining Typhoon operations overseas for a good few years now on Op Shader with 95% + availability rates. With the logistics chain supporting 24/7 operations far from home. But the way… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Robert Blay
Sooty
Sooty
3 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Agree. The depth of knowledge and experience has gone. Second line maintenance has been contracted out. While maintainers are now called “dual trade” the depth of training in each trade isn’t as it was with the previous practice of single trades. Seems geared to first line only.

Paul T
Paul T
3 months ago
Reply to  Jonno

I watched a Ward Carroll /Justin Bronk video on the challenges that Ukraine faces just getting the F16 into service, I think the Typhoon would be too much of a burden at this time. Justin Bronk said that to operate a fleet of 200 F16’s ( a reasonable amount considering the circumstances) would take them around 5 years to achieve.

Alan Ferguson
Alan Ferguson
3 months ago
Reply to  Jonno

The early Typhoons are NOT air to ground capable. Their air defence role only severly limits their use in Ukraine. That’s why the F-16 is a much better option.

John Clark
John Clark
3 months ago
Reply to  Alan Ferguson

And yet you can grab a relatively worn out F16A, delivered in 1980, put it though Falcon UP and upgrade the avionics to something approaching Block 60 plus and redeliver a highly capable fighter at a reasonable price. That’s on a design 15 – 20 years older than Thypoon, that can’t be upgraded in the same way without massive and prohibitive cost. Makes you think the RAF should have just bought 150 F16C’s, they would have done everything the RAF wanted to do over the last 30 years and been swing role from day one! They could have also been… Read more »

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
3 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

It would be interesting to see some Cost analysis of how much of the money the typhoon programme has benefited the U.K. economy. When exports are taken into account it could be it’s made more money than the MOD has spent. That is a huge reason why other government departments should be funding U.K. defence projects as well as the MOD. The money spent on foreign projects, paid for in dollars only helps the country it’s purchased from. This is not an MOD problem. Their budget shouldn’t be a jobs creation program. Skills retention is important for the MOD for… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
3 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

There’s always a very fine line between national Geo political, industrial interest and actually providing the equipment needed. Incidentally I recall speaking to a small group of 11squdron aircrew at Farnborough back in the early 90’s, I remember asking them if they were looking forward to Eurofighter, their ‘ideal’ at the time was, sod that, they would rather have an Su27 with Western avionics! To be fair, everyone (aircrew too) stood open mouthed at Anatoly Kvochurs Flanker demos appeared to defy the very laws of gravity! It totally captured the Zeitgeist of the time, but in reality, it’s circus trick… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB
3 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Bearing in mind when Eurofighter was first envisaged. It was to be a replacement for F4 Phantoms, F104 Starfighter and Tornado ADV. Primarily as an air defence and interdiction fighter. Ground attack was seen as a secondary role. As the Future combat air system was going to replace Harrier and Jaguar for tactical strike. Except these requirements got subsumed into the Tornado ground attack requirement. Which is now the F35, originally the RAF wanted a separate tactical strike aircraft to the long range strike aircraft. But with the “peace dividend” and financial constraints. Typhoon was asked to do more, hence… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
3 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

I suppose so Davey, but it’s beyond obvious that Eurofighter should have been aiming at F16’s market and been multi role from the start.

By the time Typhoon was easing into service in 2003, the F16 had been fully (swing) multi role for many years, with a massive arsenal of AA/AG ordnance available to it.

Project Centurion has been slow as molasses and still, a full 30 years on from first flight, the aircraft has yet to complete multi role development. Quite frankly that’s pathetic…..

Paul T
Paul T
3 months ago
Reply to  Alan Ferguson

Tranche 1 Typhoons have always had the capability to drop Guided Bombs ,its the array of Missiles available that they cannot Launch.

Ernie
Ernie
3 months ago

It’s called reduce to produce as the tornado fleet got older they stripped the older aircraft for parts they did the same with the vc10 certain aircraft were stripped as parts became scarce due to age. The Americans bought our harriers not to fly to strip them for spares

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
3 months ago

Urgent order for F16, gripen should have been placed months ago. Newer radar, ECM and meteor. Folks wondering why Russia has been losing more aircraft recently. F16 has arrived. SU30s down at opposite ends of the country.
The Russian aircraft were doing high altitude drops of glide bombs. Hopefully these shoot downs slow that down. Russian MOD says it’s already eliminated 6 F16s the other day.
They always pump out a story after taking a hit. When atacams hit the helicopter base Russia said it took out 20 Ukrainian aircraft in one day. 😂😂😂

Paul T
Paul T
3 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

The long awaited F16’s have only just arrived in Ukraine,i doubt that they have been involved in operations of any note yet.Russian claims of destroying F16’s can obviously be taken with a massive pinch of Salt but if true these would have been hit on the Ground not in the Air.

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

It could just be a coincidence that a lot more Russian aircraft have been dropping out the sky at Kherson and mauripol. A long range SAM could have done it but it’s at opposite ends of the country.
The high altitude needed to drop the guided bombs, with an F16 coming head on would give AMRAAM a long range.
Maybe we will find out in several years

Paul T
Paul T
3 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

All the information available suggests that the Ukrainian Pilots are still learning on the F16’s, those Aircraft losses are the result of an extra or redeployed Patriot Battery.

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
3 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

The report from Ukraine is that availability of more Patriot systems thanks to the generosity of Netherlands and Germany enabled AFU to build a trap for the SU-24s used to launch gliding bombs and successfully spring the trap on 5 aircraft.
Thus the orcs are grounded for fear of further unsustainable losses.
Slava Ukraine! 🇺🇦
#StandWithUkraine