Canada commits to supporting Ukrainian fighter pilots

Avatar for Skies MagazineBy Skies Magazine | February 14, 2024

Estimated reading time 2 minutes, 1 seconds.

Canada reaffirmed its commitment on to help train Ukrainian fighter pilots, maintenance technicians and support staff on the F-16 aircraft, with a $60 million donation to support the program.

Defence Minister Bill Blair made the announcement in Brussels, Belgium following the 19th Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) meeting on Feb 14.

The contribution to the UDCG Air Force Capability Coalition is intended to help establish a sustainment program for the fighter jet, including sourcing spare parts, weapon stations, avionics, and ammunition.

Following a previous meeting of the UDCG on Jan. 23, Blair announced that Top Aces, which currently provides aggressor air training for the Royal Canadian Air Force, would contribute to Denmark and France’s program to train Ukrainian F-16 pilots and technicians. Under a contract valued at approximately $15 million, the Montreal company will provide instructors, planes, and support staff.

Training is expected to begin in February and will run until at least 2025. 

Under the F-16 coalition training program, Canada is also providing English language training to Ukrainian Air Force personnel at the Canadian Forces Language School.

The UDCG was created by the US Secretary of Defense in April 2022 and Canada committed to the F-16 training program on July 11, 2023, when the ministers of defence for the participating nations in the Air Force capability Coalition – Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom – established the F-16 fighter training program.

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