The West ready to use F-16 fighters to protects its assets in Ukraine

F-16 fighters in Ukraine: US has not even started waging proxy war against Russia

Following the previous moves to ship heavy tanks and long-range missiles, the West expressed its readiness to supply F-16 fighters to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The United States will defend its assets in Ukraine fiercely

US President Joe Biden explained his U-turn on the supply of F-16 fighters to the Armed Forces of Ukraine:

"If they're successful and there ends up being an accommodation where there is not a ceasefire but there is a peace agreement that gets worked out, that they'll have the capacity to have confidence in their ability to resist response by the Russians if they were to change their position," he said at a news briefing on May 21.

Sounds vague, but, one can in fact see that Biden is certain that the conflict in Ukraine will be frozen. In this case, the United States will keep a loyal government in Ukraine.

That's when NATO will proceed to the plan to switch the Armed Forces of Ukraine to NATO standards to protect the assets that already belong to Western companies in Ukraine.

They do own a lot. Kyiv is in huge debt to the West, and the debt must be paid. The West has already bought up black soil and state-owned enterprises. US-based corporation BlackRock Financial Market Advisory (BlackRock FMA) has been appointed as an intermediary for the total sale of Ukraine's energy system and other state assets for debts.

The White House will never accept the idea of all those assets going to Russia — it will be impossible for Washington to explain to US taxpayers what their money was spent on and why.

On Friday, Biden told allies that the US would work with other countries to supply F-16 fighter jets to Kyiv and train Ukrainian pilots.

How many F-16 fighters Ukraine will receive

The coalition of F-16 suppliers already includes the UK, the US, the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark. Italy announced its readiness for support as well.

According to Defense Express, it goes about an opportunity for Ukraine to receive one or two squadrons from the Netherlands and one from Denmark. This is 24-36 aircraft. If other countries join, then up to five squadrons will be possible. Analytical website Oryxspioenkop said that the Netherlands would soon deliver 28 aircraft to Ukraine.

US officials said that the decision on the supply of F-16 fighters to Ukraine would be finalised and announced in the upcoming months. Tellingly, the Americans refuse to ship fighter jets to Kyiv as they constantly upgrade their aircraft and do not want any of them to fall into the hands of Russia. It will also affect the reputation of the US Air Force.

Is there any benefit from F-16 fighters for Ukraine?

F-16 fighters can be used as a tactical bomber, attack aircraft, electronic warfare aircraft. Its radar can detect targets on the ground hundreds of kilometres away, thus guaranteeing safety to pilots during rocket launches.

John Venable, senior fellow for defense policy at the Heritage Foundation and veteran F-16 pilot, said that the fourth-generation aircraft, which is the F-16, is unable to withstand the S-400 air defence system. The latter is designed to hit targets at a distance of up to 400 kilometres under conditions of intense radio interference.

The F-16 has three weapons in its arsenal that could be a "game changer" as Ukrainian Air Force officials said. The weapons are:

  • HARM high-velocity anti-radar missile,
  • small diameter bomb (SDB),
  • joint air-to-surface missile (JASSM).

SBDs can glide for tens of kilometres after launch and hit moving targets. The gliding distance is determined by the altitude and the speed at which they are released.

According to Venable, the S-400 will detect and attack a fourth-generation fighter jet that uses small diameter bombs long before it can release those munitions.

JASSMs are stealthy cruise missiles that older versions of the F-16 can also carry. They have not obtained software or flight certifications.

John Venable believes that the conflict in Ukraine has made it very clear: there is no place for fourth-generation fighter jets on the modern battlefield. Providing Ukraine with the F-16 is commendable, but it would be a costly mistake, the expert noted.

Russia needs to change the government in Kyiv

It is believed that F-16 fighters will arrive in Ukraine in autumn. It is also believed that the counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be pushed back till autumn as well. However, this is all part of NATO's long-term programme. The conflict may then continue if NATO decided to regain control of the assets that Russia has earned in Ukraine.

The Russian forces need to go to Kyiv and change the Ukrainian government to the one that would be loyal to Russia.

As for F-16 supplies, their service and logistics are the two weak points. One requires airfields, bombs, missiles and spare parts. It is hard to imagine that these will be Ukrainian airfields as Russia can easily strike them. Therefore, aircraft maintenance and suspension of bombs and missiles will be carried out in Poland and Romania.

Russia will have to strike those airfields as there will be no other option left. Ukraine will be happy about it as it will get the West involved in direct confrontation.

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Author`s name Lyuba Lulko
Editor Dmitry Sudakov