Some time ago, Sweden rejected Ukraine’s request for Gripen fighters twice. But now this country has agreed to train Ukrainian pilots to operate these aircraft.
Swedish Defense Minister Paul Jonsson revealed in an interview with TV4 that a number of Ukrainian Armed Forces pilots will undergo flight training on JAS39 Gripen planes. The training will include simulator exercises as well as actual flight operations.
The specific starting date and duration of the training have not been specified.
Training details are kept secret
The training of fighter pilots is a highly crucial strategic capability that requires extensive time and effort. Consequently, it is imperative to maintain the confidentiality of their identities. Therefore, specific details regarding the location, timing, and methodology of the training are being kept secret.
However, the government of Sweden has expressed its intention to facilitate the training. If the training does occur in Sweden, it is likely to take place in Såtenäs, where they have previous experience in training foreign pilots to operate the aircraft.
No Gripens for Ukraine yet
According to Swedish Defense Minister Pål Jonson, Sweden currently does not have any spare fighters to transfer to Ukraine. All six squadrons of the Swedish Air Force, consisting of a total of 96 JAS39 Gripen aircraft, will remain within Swedish territory to safeguard its interests.
According to media reports, initiating pilot training may still serve as Ukraine’s first step towards acquiring JAS39 Gripen fighters. These aircraft are significantly more advanced than the Soviet-era planes currently in service with the Ukrainian Armed Forces and are more cost-effective compared to the F-16, which is Ukraine’s primary target aircraft for acquisition in the near future.
Moreover, Sweden has demonstrated firm support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, even going so far as to repeal legislation prohibiting the supply of weapons to warring states.
Written by Alius Noreika
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