The Danish government has confirmed that it is training Ukrainian Air Force pilots to fly Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets. The Acting Minister of Defense, Lund Poulsen, also confirmed in an interview that the fighter jet will be withdrawn from service two years ahead of schedule, as of 2025.
“Now that we have taken the step of starting an additional training and education effort for Ukrainian pilots, we will also consider whether we should make a concrete donation to Ukraine of Danish F-16 fighter jets and how many there should be,” said Poulsen, according to the outlet DR, from Denmark.
According to the minister, the Ukrainian pilots will undergo six to eight months of training and that the F-35s that are being delivered could become operational ahead of schedule.
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Because of this, Denmark revised the forecast to start the retirement of the F-16 from 2027 to 2025.
“That doesn’t mean you can’t make a decision beforehand. But they (F-16 fighters) will stay in Denmark until 2024,” added Poulsen.
The Royal Danish Air Force received 43 F-16A/B fighters from the 1980s and about 30 of these aircraft are still active. The jets were supposed to start being withdrawn from service in 2025, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine has motivated the government to keep them operational longer.
Despite the prospect of donating the fighters to Ukraine, the Danish government has made it clear that any action in this regard will be taken in conjunction with other NATO members and that not only Denmark will pass on its planes.
Although they are early versions, the Danish F-16s have been updated over the years.