SU-30SM, SU-35S, and SU-34 flying in formation - Sputnik International, 1920
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Lockheed Martin Says Ready to Train Ukrainians to Pilot F-16s Once NATO Reaches Agreement

© Sputnik / Kostis Ntantamis / Go to the mediabankGeneral Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon military aircraft
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon military aircraft - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.06.2023
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Pentagon contractor Lockheed Martin is ready to train Ukrainians to fly and maintain F-16s, if NATO allies agree to send the jets to Kiev, Frank St. John, the defense manufacturer's chief operations officer, said on Monday.
"We are standing by, ready to not only backfill need as it arises with new F-16 builds but also any modifications to F-16s as well as training, equipment and systems," St. John was quoted by the British newspaper as saying ahead of the Paris Air Show, adding that a decision on this would be made only after discussions between Ukraine, the US and its NATO allies.
U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons flying in formation. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.05.2023
Why Does Ukraine Want F-16s?
Lockheed Martin may also consider establishing a base in Ukraine or near its territory after conflict is over, the company official said.
"When these hostilities end, there will have to be a sustaining presence for training and maintenance and then the logical place would be for that to be in and around Ukraine," St. John added.
Last week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the timing of the delivery of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine would depend on progress in the training of Ukrainian pilots.
F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft releases a flare - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.05.2023
Ukrainians May Fly F-16s With Wing & Prayer, But Won't Be Effective in Combat
Earlier in the month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said at a European Political Community press conference in Kishinev that a number of countries were ready to provide Ukraine with F-16s, the fighter jet of its choice.
Russia has slammed the possible delivery of F-16s to Ukraine, warning that the jets will become a legitimate military target for Russian forces. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has warned that the delivery of F-16 fighters to Ukraine will be a further escalation because the jets have a modification that makes them nuclear-capable.
US Air Force F-16s take part in a military operation. File photo. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.05.2023
German Media Reveals Real Reason for Sudden Rush to Send F-16s to Ukraine
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