The American Air Force is examining Ukrainian pilots for the possibility of being converted to fly F-16 aircraft, the American CNN network reported from three different sources in the Pentagon.
According to the report, two Ukrainian pilots arrived at the base of the American Air Force in the United States in order to test their abilities in flying various fighter jets of the American Air Force, including the F-16.
A senior member of the United States Army told the news network that the pilots arrived at the US Air Force base in Tucson, Arizona, for what the Air Force called a "familiarization event."
The official described the arrival of the Ukrainian pilots as part of a "routine activity of dialogue between the two armies".
"The introductory event is actually a conversation between Air Force personnel and a transfer of the working principles of the US Air Force," the source told the news network.
Demonstrators call on Biden to send fighter jets to Ukraine, photo: Reuters
"This event will help Ukrainian pilots to become better pilots and guide them on how to develop their abilities and skills. The pilots will not fly any platform during the event but will use simulators during part of their visit," the official added.
The source added that there are currently no new updates regarding the possibility of transferring F-16s to Ukraine and that he is currently not aware of a broader plan to train Ukrainian pilots.
Senior American officials, including the President of the United States Joe Biden, have already said in the past that the United States will not transfer F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.
One of the reasons given for the refusal to transfer the fighter jet requested by Kiev, with the aim of preventing Russian air superiority in the country's skies and harming the Russian army beyond the combat lines, is the time it will take to train and adapt the Ukrainian Air Force to receive Western fighter jets.
However, it is possible that Washington has not completely abandoned the possibility and the Pentagon is interested in examining and understanding the challenges of receiving the planes in Ukraine.
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