Ukrainian Pilots’ F-16 Training Underway in Arizona

A small number of pilots will train in F-16 fundamentals over the next several months at Morris Air National Guard Base in Tucson.

Two F-16s assigned to the 162nd Wing, Arizona Air National Guard based at Morris Air National Guard Base, Arizona. [Courtesy: DOD]

Ukrainian fighter pilots began F-16 flight training this week at Morris Air National Guard Base, Arizona.

"The 162nd Wing, Arizona Air National Guard [ANG], located in Tucson, began training a small number of Ukrainian pilots this week in F-16 fundamentals," a spokesperson for the unit told FLYING. "The training curriculum consists of both academic and flight training, which will align with the foundational knowledge and skills of each pilot and is expected to last several months." 

Called the "face of the USAF to the world," the ANG Wing has trained pilots from 25 countries to fly the F-16.

The Ukrainian Air Force said recently that its fighter pilots were already familiarizing themselves with flying the jets by using desktop virtual reality flight simulators.

“Our goal is to have complete F-16 flight simulators, trainer aircrafts, and flight crew training centers in Ukraine, but everything starts small,” the Ukrainian Air Force said in late September in a statement accompanying a video of training. “While our brothers master the F-16s abroad, the Ukrainian Air Force fighter pilots continue to protect the Ukrainian sky and destroy the occupiers on the ground. In their free time, the pilots get to know the cockpit of the F-16 in virtual reality and perform joint missions over the territory of Ukraine in sections, flights, and squadrons while being in different regions of Ukraine.”

Earlier this month, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said while attending a NATO defense ministers’ summit in Brussels that the U.S. will lead a new coalition to develop Ukraine’s air force by training F-16 fighter pilots. Denmark and the Netherlands will also join the effort. The two countries, along with Norway, have pledged to donate F-16s to Ukraine, which has long sought access to the aircraft following Russia’s invasion in 2022.

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get the latest FLYING stories delivered directly to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter