Legendary Fighter on the Way to Ukraine

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F-16 pilot from the 169th Fighter Wing, South Carolina Air National Guard flies a training mission in the KIWI MOA airspace over the cost of North Carolina Cost . (U.S. Air Force photo SMSgt Thomas Meneguin)

The F-16 Fighting Falcon, the US Air Force’s workhorse fighter aircraft, is on its way to join Ukraine’s Air Force. Many expect it to give Ukraine a major leg up in its air war with Russia.

The United States will not be sending its own F-16s, but rather is authorizing the Netherlands and Denmark to send their own to Ukraine. The AP reports:

The United States has given its approval for the Netherlands and Denmark to deliver F-16s to Ukraine, officials in Washington and Europe said Friday, in a major gain for Kyiv, even though the fighter jets are unlikely to affect the war any time soon.

It was not immediately clear when the first F-16s might enter the conflict, but Ukrainian pilots will first have to undertake at least six months of training on the aircraft, according to officials.

Ukraine’s entire military has been using up its Soviet designed weaponry, but slowly replacing it with standardized NATO equipment. While more expensive, American and Western made hardware is generally better than its Russian counterpart. Newsweek has more:

Western fighter jets like F-16s have better radar, avionics and guidance systems than their Russian counterparts. They can be armed with precision-guided missiles and bombs and are able to fly at 1,500 miles per hour. Their targeting capabilities would allow Ukraine to attack Russian forces in all conditions with greater accuracy.

Davis, a senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), said that the Western aircraft acting in an air interdiction or ground support role “would provide much-needed standoff strike capability to support defensive and counter-offensive operations.”

The deliveries also coincide with Denmark and the Netherlands’ own upgrade of their Air Force to the new F-35 Lightning which has some stealth capabilities.

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