The U.S. Defense Department announced on Friday an intensified involvement, not only in providing F-16 aircraft but also in ensuring sustained support through vital spare parts.
As per the official announcement, the Pentagon has commenced training Ukrainian pilots to operate the F-16 aircraft. Moreover, the U.S. is committed to ensuring the availability of spare parts necessary to guarantee the operational readiness of these aircraft.
Earlier this year, the U.S. State Department signaled its approval for the transfer of U.S.-made F-16 aircraft to Ukraine via third-party nations such as the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway.
To bolster the proficiency of Ukrainian pilots with the F-16s, comprehensive training programs encompassing both flight operations and maintenance have been initiated in the U.S. and Europe.
Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment William A. LaPlante emphasized the necessity of sustained support, affirming the commitment to provide the required spare parts to ensure the continuous operability of the F-16 fleet in Ukraine.
LaPlante underscored the importance of providing 90 days’ worth of spare parts for the equipment supplied to Ukraine, including the F-16 aircraft valued at nearly a billion dollars.
“That’s what we’re going through right now … to make sure it happens,” he said. “They’ll have enough when they get there. We want … it to be sustained. And it’s oftentimes the thing that gets forgotten.”
Highlighting the critical role of spare parts in the sustainability of aircraft operations, LaPlante cautioned that a deficiency in spares could potentially ground the F-16s within a few months, a scenario the U.S. is resolutely committed to averting.