Two Belgian pilots head to France for Ukrainian pilot training
The Belgian Armed Forces are sending two instructors to the Cazaux airbase in France to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets alongside French military personnel. They will remain there throughout the year.
After a months-long appeal by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, several Western countries decided to donate F-16 fighters to fight Russia. Among them were the Netherlands, Denmark and the UK.
Belgium also joined the F-16 coalition for Ukraine, but for the time being is sticking to training Ukrainian fighter pilots, who are only used to Soviet-era aircraft. The federal government has already announced its intention to supply Ukraine with F-16s from 2025, but this decision will have to be confirmed by the next government after the elections.
Belgium is working with France, among others, and will now send two instructors to the Cazaux airbase in the west of the country. They will continue to train Ukrainian pilots there throughout the year using Alpha Jet training aircraft. These aircraft were used to train French and Belgian fighter pilots until 2020.
Later this year, between March and September, Belgium will also send two F-16s and around 50 people to Denmark to train Ukrainian pilots for two eight-week periods. They will help train pilots, technicians and mission planners.
© PHOTO JOHN THYS / AFP