American F-16 fighter jets will not guarantee Ukraine air superiority, as these aircraft will have shorter range missiles than modern Russian military aviation. It is reported by Bloomberg.
So, F-16s can only be used as a defense or in operations with a “very high risk”.
“This means that the Ukrainians may have to temper their stated expectations that the F-16s will allow them to establish air superiority, shoot down cruise missiles and the latest enemy aircraft <...> Instead, the aircraft will provide Ukraine with additional capabilities that they currently do not have “, – said Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall.
Military pilot Dan Hampton, in turn, said that the main Ukrainian goal when receiving fighters is to intercept Russian cruise missiles. However, the F-16 will not be able to perform such a task.
According to him, this is due to the fact that there is a short period of time between the moment when the radar detects a cruise missile and the moment when it reaches its target. For the F-16 to be successful, it would need to spend “too many precious hours in flight circling in anticipation”.
Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the West’s plans to supply fighter jets to Ukraine were an unacceptable escalation of the conflict with Russia. According to him, the US and the UK are leading the process of introducing the Western anti-Russian course in the EU.
On May 27, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry announced that they needed 48 fourth-generation F-16 fighters so that the country could “reach the 1991 borders,” meaning the return of all territories that had joined Russia.
A day earlier, on May 26, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that the decision to supply Kyiv with F-16 fighter jets had not yet been made, but the Netherlands was seriously considering such a possibility.
Denmark and the Netherlands will also lead the European Union (EU) coalition to train Ukrainian fighters to pilot the F-16.
The F-16 is an American fighter aircraft that is in service with many countries. Ukraine has been striving to get this aircraft since the beginning of spring, when discussions began on preparing a counteroffensive by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Western countries have stepped up military and financial support for Ukraine against the background of Russia’s special operation to protect Donbass, which the Russian authorities announced on February 24, 2022 amid the aggravation of the situation in the region due to shelling by the Ukrainian military.