Denmark one step closer to donating fighter jets, but Ukrainian pilots must first be trained

Support is growing in the Danish Parliament to donate F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

The defense rapporteurs for the Blue Blok parties Liberal Alliance, Danish People’s Party and Conservative – all members of the opposition – support following Poland’s lead.

Yesterday, the country became the first NATO country to donate combat aircraft to Ukraine with a batch of four MiG jets.

At present, acting Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen’s position is that any aircraft donation must be done in “cooperation with other countries”. reports DR – a position also occupied by Radikale.

There is an urgent need in Ukraine
Denmark is currently phasing out its F-16 jets ahead of the arrival of the more modern F-35s, so the proposal to send them to Ukraine seems well-timed.

“We believe that we must send our F-16 aircraft to Ukraine as soon as possible so that they can support the Ukrainians’ fight for freedom against Putin’s invasion,” says Carsten Bach from the Liberal Alliance to DR.

Both Alex Ahrendtsen from the DF and Rasmus Jarlov from the Conservatives agree.

“I think it is obvious that the Danish F-16 aircraft – which are almost out of service and do not have very many flight hours left, but are nevertheless a very modern and powerful weapon – are put into use where there is the greatest need . for them. And it is in Ukraine,” Jarlov claimed.

However, it will not be a smooth landing
Bach addressed the issue of training – while the Ukrainian pilots are used to flying MiGs, they must learn to handle the F-16s. Mechanics must also be retrained.

“That plan could include training Ukrainian pilots in Denmark first, and then as we phase out our F-16 aircraft, we will send them to Ukraine at the rate we receive F-35 aircraft ourselves,” Bach suggested.

However, Kristian Søby Kristensen, head of the Center for Military Studies at the University of Copenhagen, warns that it will be a “comprehensive and lengthy process”.

“Fighters have a hugely advanced weapons system and are also quite specialized, so it’s not a question of flying these planes to Ukraine and then giving the key to a Ukrainian pilot. It is an extensive training effort, even if you are an experienced Ukrainian pilot, before you can fly an F-16 aircraft,” he said.

In addition, there have been delays regarding the arrival and deployment of the F-35s, which begin arriving this summer but will not officially replace the current jets until next year, and Kristensen is concerned that any F-16s departs too early. “holes” in Denmark’s defence.

READ MORE: Delivery of new fighter jets delayed

Source: The Nordic Page

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