WASHINGTON — Ukrainian pilots already fly the American A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft but on simulators. A video circulating on social networks confirms this information. The American online magazine Time also confirms this information. According to the magazine, retired American pilots train their Ukrainian colleagues on simulators.
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BulgarianMilitary.com was one of the first media outlets in the world to announce the possibility of the US donating A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft to the Ukrainian Air Force. However, Congress has not yet taken such a decision and Ukraine does not yet have these aircraft.
Ukrainian pilots who train on the A-10 simulator are confident that they can change the balance of power in the air. “You will see the difference in the number of targets we can hit. You see this when attacking positions are weakened. And you see it in the confidence of our infantry to go from defense to attack,” says one of the Ukrainian pilots in training.
According to information in Time magazine, five Ukrainian pilots were trained on the A-10 simulator. Speaking on the subject, Ukrainian infantry officer Oleksandr Gorgan said: “Typically training a pilot takes years and costs the military millions of dollars just for jet fuel. They are more valuable than generals. Even before the Russian invasion, the identity of active fighter pilots was a closely guarded secret in Ukraine, and they all lived at risk of assassination.”
However, Ukraine hopes not to receive the A-10, but the F-16 or F-15. As we wrote on August 21, the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine needs, first of all, a multifunctional combat aircraft capable of using weapons against both air and ground targets.
Thus, the spokesperson of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Yuriy Ignat, in a comment for the Ukrainian Truths show, appreciated the idea of enthusiasts regarding the possible replenishment of the fleet of tactical aviation with American attack aircraft A-10 Thunderbolt II.
“In particular, these are American F-16, F-15, or F-18 multi-role fighters with certain modifications or their European counterparts,” said the representative of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
At the same time, the Air Force has not confirmed that its pilots are currently undergoing appropriate training. The press service of the Air Force explained that their specialists have tested the equipment, but for the moment there is no talk of planned pilot training.
It is worth noting that at the moment both the armed forces and the enemy have the same type of Soviet attack aircraft – the Su-25. But both countries, due to the threat of losing aircraft, in most cases use unguided cruise missiles. That is, from a long distance and without direct visibility of the target being hit.
In such conditions, one of the main advantages of the A-10 Thunderbolt II – the seven-barreled 30 mm gun GAU-8 Avenger – does not have favorable conditions for effective use. A stormtrooper can work with it for the purpose of diving, that is, entering the air defense zone. The successful use of pigs, for example, in Iraq’s Desert Storm campaign took place under conditions of total Allied air supremacy – suppressing enemy air defense and fighter threats.
The Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is interested in receiving a single multifunctional platform capable of using modern high-precision air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons. Several Western aircraft can claim this role.
We recall that on July 15, the US Congress adopted the draft budget of the Pentagon, in which it provided 100 million dollars for the training of Ukrainian pilots of F-16 and F-15 aircraft. US senators have appealed to the US Department of Defense to include F-16 and F-15 aircraft in future military aid packages to Ukraine. The Pentagon announced that they are currently conducting studies on the prospect of transferring multi-purpose aircraft to Ukraine.
Ukrainian pilots are lobbying for the prospect of transferring advanced aircraft and anti-aircraft missile systems to Ukraine. In the summer of 2022, a delegation of the Air Force of the Armed Forces visited Washington, where they held several meetings in the interest of future rearmament. Sean Penn is also an active participant in the advocacy campaign regarding the transfer of F-16s to Ukraine.
According to their estimates of Ukrainian pilots, mastering an F-16 type aircraft at an appropriate level under the accelerated program could take up to six months.
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