U.S. to Start Training Ukrainian Pilots

According to a report on July 16th, the U.S. House of Representatives approved $100 million in funding to train Ukrainian pilots to use U.S. aircraft as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 329-101 passed this week.

The report said that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked the U.S. for F-15 and F-16 aircraft since March, but Ukrainian pilots had been accustomed to aging MiG-29 and Sukhoi fighter jets.

In an interview with Defense News, Rep. Adam Kinzinger said he has been in contact with Kiev and added $100 million for training as an amendment to the NDAA this week. The goal of the move is to help Ukrainian military shift away from Soviet-era technology.

The Biden administration has been wary of sensitive U.S. technology falling into Russian hands on the battlefield, and worried about Moscow’s response if Ukrainian forces use advanced U.S. weapons to attack Russian territory. But Kinzinger expressed that the Ukrainians can be trusted to use American-made weapons.

He pointed out that the U.S. is ready to train Ukrainian pilots at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi, and in Texas as well if possible. It would take about three months to train pilots to fly the F-15s and F-16s at a basic level.

The Senate is not expected to vote on its version of the NDAA until September at the earliest, after which both chambers must reach a consensus on compromise legislation in conference committee. If Kinzinger’s amendment gets passed, the U.S. could train Ukrainian pilots as soon as next year.

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Translator: Formosa Taiwan English Team – Kelvin Liao
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