Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Ukrainian pilots are being trained on French soil


By the end of 2024, 26 Ukrainian pilots will be trained by the French military. Ten are already training at a secret base in the south of France. Reporting in cockpits with instructors and trainees.


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AlphaJet to take off in May 2023.  Illustration (JEAN MARC FERRÉ / MAXPPP)

On June 6, the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings, Emmanuel Macron announced that France would deliver Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets to Ukraine by the end of 2024 to bolster its air assets against Russia. Defending Ukraine from the air: After deploying Mamba anti-aircraft systems and Grodale missiles, France has pledged to train Ukrainian pilots in 2023. The training for ten of them began at a secret base in the south of France.

In the Alpha Jet, a French instructor in the back of the cockpit, and a young Ukrainian soldier in front. The training of these Ukrainian pilots is a real challenge: only six months before they are immediately sent to war. Half as much as a French pilot.

These pilots are between 20 and 22 years of age. Their training in Great Britain began with learning English and the basics of fighter flying. It now continues in France, passing through the French patrol aircraft Alpha Jet. A perfect relay between the propeller plane and the F16 fighter jet that Ukrainian pilots have to fly. Trainees will learn the specialties of the F16 during the third phase of their training, probably in Romania.

“Our training is very diverse, the tactics used are correct, we are very close to what the F16 does, and this is what we can see in the Mirage 2000.”, an instructor explains. The purpose of French training “They’ve learned as much as possible so when they go to a conversion force they only need to add what’s specific to the F16 or the Mirage.”The coach continues.

“Here, we’ll give them all the basics: apply routines, work in tactical situations, know how to react in the event of a breakdown.”

A flight instructor

At franceinfo

This intensive training program includes: 80 hours of flight time, 50 hours of simulator time with experienced instructors. Trainers teach them a Western method far removed from the Soviet-era Russian standards used by the Ukrainian military.

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“The Russian systems are not very autonomous and are mostly based on information from ground controllers, who have radar stations to guide their planes.”, the instructor explains. The methods are the opposite of what Westerners do “Of course we rely on the information provided AWACS type of avionics or ground controllers, but we really need to develop the autonomy of our trainers, and this is where the challenge lies for their future training.”The soldier concludes.

In total, 26 Ukrainians will be trained at this secret site.

Six months to be ready to fight: the training of Ukrainian pilots on French soil is progressing. Report by Claude Kuibel

Agapito Llano
Agapito Llano

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