The New Voice of Ukraine
Ukrainian pilots will have the opportunity to conduct basic training on SAAB JAS 39 fourth-generation Gripen fighters from FLyvapnet (Swedish Air Force) , Swedish Defense Minister Pål Jonson said during a visit to Ukraine on May 25, as reported by Swedish TV channel TV4.
This initiative allows Ukrainian pilots to use simulators and test the Gripen aircraft, although Sweden currently does not plan to supply Ukraine with these fighters for its defense.
Gripen fighters, which are more economical and considered easier to learn than F-16s, are explicitly designed to defend Swedish airspace against Russian aircraft. They are also capable of landing on short runways and highways, making them an “ideal” choice for the defense of Ukraine, according to The Economist.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy shared on Telegram that his discussion with Pål Jonson covered several topics, including the ‘aviation coalition,’ battlefield situation, essential armaments for Ukraine’s defense, Ukraine’s peace formula, and Euro-Atlantic integration.
Earlier, Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s defense minister, mentioned that Ukraine expects to receive several types of fighters from its allies, one of which will become its main combat aircraft.
On May 19, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that London, along with the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Denmark, has agreed to help train Ukrainian pilots in Western fighters. The United States has specifically committed to support the training of Ukrainian pilots on fourth-generation fighters, including the F-16, a category that also includes the Eurofighter Typhoon and the French Mirage 2000.
The White House noted that discussions in the coming months will determine the schedule, contributors, and quantity of aircraft to be transferred to Ukraine, emphasizing that any fighters delivered must not be used by Ukraine to attack Russian territory.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry anticipates the arrival of the F-16s this fall, and while President Zelenskyy could not provide a precise figure on the number of fighters to be transferred or a specific timeline, he assured of his efforts to speed up the delivery.