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F-16 training center opens for Ukrainian fighter pilots

European F-16 Training Center (EFTC) has opened in Romania. Unit will train Ukrainian pilots on the jet. Photo: Dutch Minister of Defense.

The European F-13 Training Center (EFTC) opened this Monday (16), in Romania, starting the training of Ukrainian pilots to fly the North American jet. The opening of the facility comes less than a week after the first F-16s arrived in Romania, loaned by the Netherlands.

Located at the 86th Air Base in Fetesti, 130 kilometers from the capital Bucharest, the EFTC brings together a coalition of NATO countries to train Ukrainian aviators, as well as its own pilots. “The center will be an international center for training F-16 pilots and will facilitate increased interoperability between allies”, said the Romanian Ministry of Defense.

The ceremony was attended by the defense ministers of Romania and the Netherlands, the vice president of Lockheed Martin and the US ambassador to Romania, Kathleen Kavalec. At the event she reinforced Washington's support for Ukraine. “I’m here with a simple message: the United States government is here to support you in any way we can,” stated.

The training center, as well as the transfer of jets, is an initiative of the Netherlands, which will provide between 12 and 18 F-16s for the EFTC. Five planes are already in Romania. Denmark, Belgium and Norway also confirmed the transfer of F-16s to Kiev.

Before providing instruction to Kiev pilots, the EFTC “will first use the aircraft to provide a refresher course for contract F-16 instructors, after which training will be provided to Romanian and Ukrainian pilots. The aircraft will only fly in NATO airspace.”, reported the Dutch Ministry of Defense. 

In parallel, a group of Ukrainian fighter pilots are already in the United States since the end of October, where they also receive instruction in the F-16. Even before training on the planes themselves, Ukraine's fighter pilots were already familiarizing themselves with the F-16. through the DCS simulator and training provided by Belgium and the United Kingdom. 

 

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Gabriel Centeno

Author Gabriel Centeno

Journalism student at UFRGS, spotter and military aviation enthusiast.

Categories: Military, News, News

Tags: F-16, Ucrania, usaexport