Norwegian Air Force starts training of Ukrainian personnel

Norwegian Defence Minister Bjørn Arild Gram was passenger on one of the last flights of two F-16s before their departure to Denmark. (Martin Melquist, Forsvaret)

Two F-16 fighter jets are sent from the North Norwegian airbase of Bodø as part of efforts to educate Ukrainian pilots and Air Force technicians.

The two aircraft are soon on their way to Denmark, where they will be used for training of Ukrainians. Included in the mission are ten Norwegian instructors, the Norwegian Ministry of Defence informs.

Norway is one of several NATO countries that have decided to donate fighter jets to the Ukrainians and the training of Ukrainian personnel is an important part of the package.

Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram during a visit to Northern Norway in 2022. (Atle Staalesen)

“The Ukrainian pilots have experience from other aircraft types and are now being trained to handle the F-16 system,” Minister of Defence Bjørn Arild Gram says.

“The support for Ukraine’s establishment of a modern Air Force is a big and long-term work where a number of allies and partners contribute,” he underlines.

The training of the Ukrainian technicians takes place in the USA, Belgium and Denmark.

The defence minister was this week visiting the Bodø Airbase from where the two F16s will soon take off towards Denmark.

During the visit, Gram himself took the seat of co-pilot and flew with the fighter jet over the north Norwegian city.

It is not clear how many jets ultimately will be donated by Norway, but the number could reach ten. The total number of F-16s donated by allied countries could amount to about 100.

The Norwegian Air Force has over the last years replaced its fleet of F-16s with the far more advanced F-35.

“In the current extraordinary security situation it is of paramount importance to continue to support Ukraine. We must plan for a long war,” Defence Minister Gram said during his visit to Bodø.

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Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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