Romanian president approves training of 50 Ukrainian pilots for F-16s

By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

The office of Romanian President Klaus Iohannis has sent a letter to parliament announcing that the president has agreed to train about 50 Ukrainian pilots in Romania.

The authorities did not say when the training would start, but according to Digi24 sources, the Ukrainian soldiers should arrive at the Fetești Air Base this summer.

The Ukrainian pilots are expected to complete their training with the F-16s by the end of the year.

The newspaper also reported that the head of state has approved the transfer of equipment and material goods donated by Finland to Ukraine through the country.

The European F-16 Training Center (EFTC) — established by the Netherlands, Denmark, the U.S. and Romania — was inaugurated in Fetești last November.

Located near the Fetești Danube Bridge of the transport corridor connecting Bucharest to the Black Sea, the training center, set up at Borcea Air Base 86, will train pilots of the Ukrainian army to use F-16 fighter jets, alongside Romanian and other NATO allies. Five Dutch F-16 fighter jets arrived at the training center in Romania in early November and their manufacturer, Lockheed Martin of the U.S., is providing instructors and maintenance personnel for the pilot training.

The Romanian Air Force began the transition from Soviet-made MiG-21s to F-16s in 2019. Romania managed to acquire 17 second-hand F-16 Fighting Falcons (equipped with new engines, electronics and modern weaponry) from Portugal, and last November, Bucharest signed a contract with Norway for the acquisition of 32 more second-hand F-16 fighters.

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