The incoming chief of the Royal Air Force has said that a plan to train Ukrainian pilots by the UK could affect the Royal Air Force’s ability to educate its own recruits.
Air Chief Marshal Richard Knighton said that the details of the announcement made by Prime Minister Rishi sunak, when Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy was in the UK on Monday, have not been finalised. The Ukrainians will begin basic flying training this summer.
He told a MPs committee on Wednesday, however, that the new program would not have an immediate impact on the flow British recruits due to the number of RAF Trainees already in the system.
Students are forced to wait for months or even years to complete the various phases of training, which include basic flying, training on specific aircraft, such as fast jets, and finally reaching the frontline.
When asked by the Defence Select Committee if the Ukrainian pilot training scheme would have any impact on RAF training, Air Chief Marshall Knighton replied: “We still haven’t worked out with the Ukrainians what exactly that will look like.”
We cannot understand its impact on our training system until we fully understand it.
He added: “But Secretary of State [Ben Wallace] said at several occasions that we have a priority to support our Ukrainian Brothers and Sisters, so it is up to us to judge what impact this might have.
I do not expect that this will have an effect in the near future. We have many people who are already trained in the basic flying training system.
Ukraine has asked the UK and its other partners for Western fast jets to be given to it as a military weapon. The UK, however, has stated that it will not be providing any jets for the time being and instead promises training.
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