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Ukrainian pilots graduate from flying training

Ten Ukrainian pilots have graduated from Elementary Flying Training with the RAF, preparing them for advanced fast jet training and conversion to F-16 with partner nations.

Pilots sitting in a Tutor cockpit

The newly qualified pilots took part in a graduation ceremony to mark the event, recognising their success with basic flying, aviation medicine and high g-force training ready for their next steps towards being combat ready.

Chief of the Air Staff giving out certificates

“I would like to congratulate these brave pilots on completing their initial training here in the UK. Thanks to the world-renowned skills of RAF, they have received some of the best training available and are now a step closer to joining the fight against Putin’s illegal invasion.

Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Defence

Secretary of State for Defence, Grant Shapps, said: “The UK has led the way in building Ukraine’s air capabilities over the last two years, enhancing its aircraft with additional equipment, as well as being the first nation to provide long-range cruise missiles to Ukraine. 

“Ukraine has been using its Air Force to devastating effect, degrading the Russian Black Sea Fleet and severely damaging its Headquarters. This milestone is another step forward for Ukraine’s aerial capabilities - together with our allies we are showing that we will continue to stand by Ukraine’s side.”

Standing in front of centrifuge

The ceremony was overseen by the RAF’s Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Richard Knighton, who was accompanied by representatives of the nations that make up the Air Force Capability Coalition.

“The conflict in Ukraine highlights the importance of air and space power, and the need to gain and maintain control of the air to defeat an enemy. I salute the courage and determination of these Ukrainian pilots.

“I am incredibly proud of their efforts and that of my team – RAF, Civil Service and contractor – in preparing them for their next steps towards being combat ready.”

Air Chief Marshal Knighton

Pilot training with screens in front

The Ukrainian pilots also undertook English language training to enable them to get the best from their elementary flying course, making them suitably qualified to move on to advanced fast jet training followed by F-16 conversion with partner nations.

“I have enjoyed being in the United Kingdom and being part of this training program. The course has been challenging and enjoyable It has made me a better pilot. I am grateful to the UK for its support to Ukraine and I am personally grateful to the Royal Air Force instructors for preparing me for the future”.

One of the Ukrainian pilots

Sitting in a line witthe Interstorm patches showing on people's arms

RAF flying instructors have taught the pilots general handling, instrument flying, low level navigation and advanced formation flying, to prepare the pilots for Advanced Fast Jet Flying Training prior to F-16 conversion with coalition partners. On the ground they completed an Aviation Medicine Course and high g-force centrifuge training. Babcock provided the Grob Tutor aircraft along with technical and operational support. Together with the RAF team they completed the training ahead of time with 100% aircraft availability.

Looking up at the flypast