Ukraine has been unrelenting in its pursuit of F-16 fighter fighters from every Western power. Their initiatives, however, have failed, leaving them in a vulnerable position. But hold on to your seats, because they’ve finally gotten the help they’ve been begging for. Prepare for the truth – it may not make much of a difference in the conflict. Hello and welcome to the realm of rusted F-16s.
According to rumours, future US-designed F-16 supply to Ukraine will definitely improve their combat capabilities, but let’s not go too far ahead of ourselves. According to Asia Times, these ageing aeroplanes are far from new. We’re talking about rusted relics here. They may boost morale slightly, but they will not magically turn the tide against Russia. Expect disappointment.
Rusty Wings: The Harsh Reality of Ukraine’s F-16 Aid
And now, the US appears to have abandoned Ukraine, leaving them in a comical bind. President Biden has authorised NATO members to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16s. Doesn’t it sound promising? The catch is that they will be receiving old F-16A/B planes. Those babies are from the 1970s or 1980s, however they’ve been updated. But, let’s face it, they’re not going to be game changers. They may arrive in a few months or more, but the Ukrainian conflict will not vanish.
These are old versions of the F-16 (F-16A/B) that were partly upgraded in the early 2000s. Unlike the newer version, and unlike even the upgrade of Taiwan’s F-16s, the F-16s for Ukraine will not feature advanced AESA radar. For Ukraine to field these jets, repair facilities will be needed. Standing up a repair facility in Ukraine could take more than a year, and training personnel could take even longer.
According to the agency, the F-16s that could be sent to Ukraine “will still have inferior radar and shorter range missiles” than many of Russia’s modern aircraft and air defence systems. According to Dan Hampton, a veteran combat pilot, it would be impractical to use F-16s to shoot down Russian cruise missiles, as there would only be a small window after the projectile is fired and detected but before it reaches its target. Deployment of F-16s in this capacity would require them to stay in the air for hours while waiting for the right moment, he explained.
The pilots’ assessment echoes a statement by US Air Force chief Frank Kendall, who said earlier this month that F-16 deliveries would not mark a turning point in the Ukraine conflict.
German Jet Dilemma: Ukraine Left in Peril
Previously, Germany’s fighter jet crisis had put Ukraine in jeopardy. Chancellor Olaf Scholz had no desire to join the coalition of countries supplying Ukraine with fighter jets. His reaction was straightforward: “There are no demands regarding us.” Ouch! Germany’s position in the planned alliance was simply unimportant, leaving Ukraine hanging by a thread. Ukraine, you’re out of luck.
Meanwhile, Russian forces are preparing for a new onslaught, raising fears. Moscow might deploy its strong arsenal of fighter jets and bombers, putting Ukraine in even more risk. Russia has been showing its military strength, deploying advanced fighter jets such as the Su-35 and powerful bombers such as the T-90. But don’t worry, Ukraine will not back down from the struggle, even though other countries appear to have come to their senses and are no longer willing to assist the war-torn country. It’s a true comedy of blunders.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s quest for European support continues, but reality is setting in. Ukraine’s F-16 ambitions have crashed with the rusted realities of NATO. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but for the time being, Ukraine must confront their foes with what they have, even if it’s a rusted reminder of the obstacles they face.