The men are working with USAF counterparts at Morris Air National Guard Base (ANGB) in Tucson, Arizona – home of the US Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing, which is responsible for training international aircrews to fly the F-16 Fighting Falcon - as part of a “familiarization event”. The development was revealed in the UK by MP Robert Courts, during a hearing by the British Defence Select Committee which was discussing the need for giving fighter jets to Ukraine.
He said: “The big-ticket request now, of course, is for jets. That has not been responded to in terms by the West at the moment, although of course in the last couple of days the Americans have got a couple of Ukrainian pilots that they are training on F-16 sims out in Tucson.”
In the past month there have been repeated calls by the Ukrainians for the donation of F-16s that are being retired by several European air forces. Last week an unnamed senior defense official in the US confirmed that two Ukrainian pilots were using the F-16 simulators in Tucson. He told reporters: “The familiarization event is essentially a discussion between the Air Force personnel and an observation of how the USAF operates.
“This event allows us to better help Ukrainian pilots become more effective pilots and better advise them on how to develop their own capabilities. The pilots will not be flying any platforms during this event, but they will be using a simulator during portions of their visit.”