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Problems related to the delivery of US-made F-16 fighter jets to the Kiev regime remain – “from the number of pilots who will be able to fly them to crews ready to keep them working,” an unnamed senior American defense official told Defense News.

The “training pipeline” for Ukrainian pilots on the F-16s “is pretty meager,” the official said, adding that training remains the main “kink” in the process to deliver the F-16s to Ukraine.

“Between Europe and the US, there are only a dozen Ukrainian pilots learning to fly the planes right now. That’s just a handful of pilots, and that’s just the pilots,” the source said. Other members of an F-16 crew, such as maintainers who keep the fighter in working order, are also critical, the official said. Other issues include “the length of the course itself – made more difficult by the highly technical English language training required – and finding a place to store the trainers,” they added.

Up to 60 F-16s are expected to be delivered to Ukraine this year from Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has stressed that the F-16s will not change the situation on the battlefield and that they will be destroyed just like other Western military equipment delivered to Kiev.

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