Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram this week visited Bodø Airport, where the Norwegian F-16s used for airspace defense are based. Norway is about to transfer two of its F-16 fighter planes to Denmark which will train and educate ukrainian fighter pilots. Norway is also sending ten instructors who will help with training and education. “The contribution of the F-16s in the defense sector is simply impressive,” said Defense Minister Gram.
The Norwegian government has decided that it will help Ukraine develop a modern air force, with the long-term goal of establishing an enduring defense without the need for international support. This will be vital for European security and stability. This aid will come through several international support frameworks led by the United States, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Norway has decided to follow Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands and will also donate F-16s to Ukraine, and pilot training and education will be an important part of the donation. Ukrainian pilots have experience with several Russian/Soviet fighter aircraft and will now be trained to operate modern Western F-16 aircraft. At the same time, Ukrainian technicians will be trained in Denmark, the United States and Belgium. “Partners and allied states will work with the goal of creating a modern and durable Air Force for Ukraine,” Gram said.
Training of ukrainian fighter pilots will be carried out in Denmark
The Norwegian Air Force has already presented the instructors who will take part in the training, which will take place in Skrydstrup. This program is multinational and will be led by Denmark. The scope of this deployment to Denmark will be decided through dialogue with other partners of this programme, says the Norwegian Defense Minister.
Ukraine has long requested support for the creation of a modern air force. This is necessary so that the country can guarantee its security. Such an independent Ukrainian capability will also be crucial for broader European stability and security.
Last week we wrote that the UK confirmed that the initial group of Ukrainian pilots had completed basic training at the Royal Air Force and moved to Denmark for F-16 pilot training. The donated fighters are part of an international initiative, including Norway’s recent commitment of $31 million in air defense systems. Additionally, a European F-16 training center was opened in Romania in November with the first 5 Dutch F-16s . Furthermore, the Netherlands has committed to the future transfer of at least 18 F-16 Fighting Falcons to Kiev .