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In Belgium Zelensky's plane are escorted by Ukrainian F-16.

The first images of F-16s piloted by Ukrainians have surfaced, coinciding with President Zelensky's visit to Brussels. During his visit, Zelensky was able to observe the F-16s on the ground and meet with Ukrainian pilots and trainers, before being escorted by them. A video is included at the end of the article
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Belgian F-16 shared with Ukrainian pilots for escort of Zelenksky presidential plane  (Picture source: Ukrainian presidency telegram channel)

On May 28, 2024, Zelensky was in Brussels to prepare for the upcoming peace summit scheduled to be held in Geneva in June. He met with Belgian Defense Minister Dedonder and Prime Minister De Croo. The political leaders visited an F-16 base where they met Ukrainian pilots and Belgian instructors.

Belgium has announced that it can deliver the first F-16s very quickly, with some rumors suggesting they could arrive by late spring or early summer of 2024. Currently, eight countries have promised planes, though the deliveries are spread over several years. Belgium has pledged 30 F-16s, followed by Denmark with 19, and the Netherlands with 24. Norway has not specified an exact number, but rumors suggest that 22 are pending delivery. Poland and Slovakia have promised 14 and 13 MiG-29s, respectively, while Lithuania stands out by promising an L-39ZA.

The Aero L-39 Albatros is a jet training aircraft designed and manufactured by the Czech company Aero Vodochody. The L-39ZA version is distinguished by several enhancements: it is equipped with a GSh-23L 23 mm cannon with ammunition stored in a pod under the fuselage, thus increasing its combat capability. It also has reinforced hardpoints that can carry a wider variety of payloads, including air-to-air missiles and various types of bombs. This versatility makes it suitable for both training and light combat roles. This aircraft will be used for training future F-16 pilots.

The first pilots have completed their training on the F-16 and should be operational soon. We know from the video that the F-16s providing escort are piloted by Ukrainian pilots.

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