Solely eight out of 32 pilots had adequate English to participate within the instruction program, the outlet reported
Western efforts to coach Ukrainian pilots to fly superior F-16 jets are being hampered by the service members’ poor English language expertise, Politico reported on Friday, citing sources.
In keeping with a US official and an individual conversant in the matter interviewed by the outlet, an preliminary group of eight Ukrainian pilots who’re proficient in English are prepared to start out coaching as soon as a proper instruction plan is drawn up by a number of European nations and authorised by the US.
Nonetheless, “English proficiency stays a sticking level” with the remainder of the 32 Ukrainian pilots earmarked for instruction on the F-16 fighter jets, Politico mentioned. Consequently, 20 personnel with fundamental English will reportedly begin language programs in Britain this month.
Kiev has been asking its Western backers for F-16s for months, arguing that the fighters will assist “win the conflict” with Russia. This sentiment, nonetheless, isn’t shared by Washington. Nationwide Safety Advisor Jake Sullivan has urged that the plane would have a restricted affect as a result of intensive use of air protection methods in Ukraine.
Nonetheless, in mid-Could, the UK and the Netherlands introduced an “worldwide coalition” to assist Ukraine procure the US-made jets, with a complete of 11 NATO nations, together with the US, getting on board. In keeping with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, the instruction marketing campaign is about to start this month, whereas Ukrainian International Minister Dmitry Kuleba mentioned final month that he anticipated the primary fighter jets to reach within the embattled nation in early 2024.
Nonetheless, efforts to put the groundwork for the deliveries apparently hit a number of obstacles, with a current Politico report suggesting that the US and its allies had not agreed on who precisely would practice Ukrainian pilots, or the place the instruction would happen.
One other report from the identical outlet claimed that European nations had not acquired formal approval from Washington on the matter, with requests for the switch of instruction manuals, flight simulators, and different supplies nonetheless in limbo.
Russian officers have repeatedly warned the West that the supply of F-16s to Ukraine would result in an escalation of the battle, with International Minister Sergey Lavrov suggesting that the US-made jets may doubtlessly carry nuclear weapons.
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