Australia could send dozens of retired F/A-18 jets to Ukraine with US consent

A U.S. F/A-18 fighter jet during operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Navy)
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

Australia is discussing with the United States and Ukraine the possible donation of 41 F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets to Kyiv, the Australian Financial Review newspaper reported citing defense department sources.

Australian military expert Robert Potter confirmed the talks but stressed the parties had not yet reached a concrete agreement. According to sources close to the talks, Washington is positively assessing the aircraft transfer. U.S. consent in this matter is required, as it owns the intellectual property rights to the fighter jets.

The planes have been disused by the Australian military and, if they are not given to Ukraine, will be scrapped or sold to a private aviation company for pilot training. According to an informed source, the fighter jets can be restored and ready for service within four months. However, it is noted that some of the planes may only be used for parts.

It was previously reported that Australia had several dozen F/A-18A/B fighter jets that have not been used for several years and are in storage. The Drive publication repeatedly wrote that transferring these fighter jets to Ukraine was the most logical decision.

Meanwhile, groups of Ukrainian pilots have been selected to train in the U.K., where they will learn to fly modern fighter jets, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Monday, according to CNN.

U.S. President Joe Biden gave his support for Kyiv pilots to be trained on U.S.-made F-16s at the G7 summit in Japan on May 19. Training has begun in several EU countries, the bloc’s High Representative Josep Borrell told reporters last month. Poland, Denmark and the Netherlands are among the countries that have said they will participate in the training. On May 26, the Netherlands said that despite helping lead the effort, it had not yet decided whether it would deliver the planes to Ukraine.

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