February 24, 2024

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France to train Ukrainian fighter pilots from early 2024

France to train Ukrainian fighter pilots from early 2024

Pilatus PC-21, where aspiring pilots are trained. Air/Security

France will provide “initial training” before the pilots continue training in other countries aligned with Ukraine, the Armed Forces Ministry announced.

That was on May 15, during TF1’s 8pm interview. “We opened the door to train Ukrainian pilots. And it is ready with many other European countries», announced Emmanuel Macron, hoping that the exercise could begin.Right now“. Seven months later, the contours of this announcement are becoming clear. In a speech summarizing the results of 2023 based on support for UkraineThe Ministry of Armed Forces pointed out that “The first pilots will arrive in early 2024».

Since the start of its war against Russia, Ukraine has desperately needed fighter jets to master the skies or at least challenge its adversary’s air superiority. In July, the US gave the green light to take delivery of F-16s. In fact, the training of Ukrainian pilots on these planes has already started from June 2023. France, which does not have the F-16, began training “military aircrew” on the Mirage 2000* earlier this year. , Came to know The Picaro . But no pilots yet.

Training at Salon-de-Provence and Cognac?

In its note dated December 19, the ministry indicated that France would grant an exemption this time.Initial training» To Pilots, Before They Proceed”Their training on fighter jets through training provided by our partners“. If Ukrainian pilots follow the French pilot’s classic circuit, they must participate in initial training, theoretical and practical, at Air Base 701 in Salon-de-Provence, which hosts the Initial Military Aviation Training Center (CFAMI). .

Apart from the essential simulator, enthusiasts can fly “On Cirrus SR-20 devices», an American single-engine four-seater aircraft, according to Xavier Tiedelman, aeronautical consultant and former crew member in naval aviation. The rest of the course usually takes place at Cognac, where future fighter pilots fly either Grob or Pilatus PC-21 training aircraft. “France usually provides initial training to foreign pilots, having already trained Belgians or Singaporeans», referring to the former pilot.

Learn the basics of flight

This initial training will be given to Ukrainian pilots who have no experience in combat aircraft. Some airline pilots, for example, want to become fighter pilots for war. “They should be taught the basics of piloting and military skills like patrolling, low-altitude flying, use of radar.», Xavier Tiedelmann explains. Ukrainian fighter pilots have been directly “transitioned” into the F-16, because they already know all the bombing, patrolling or air combat techniques they have experienced in their MiG-29 aircraft.

After this initial training, future Ukrainian pilots will be trained in handling F-16 aircraft, especially at the Fetesti Air Base in Romania, where the American Lockheed Martin will run an international training center in early 2024, the manufacturer will provide American equipment, training and maintenance.

* Dassault Group owns “Figaro”.

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