September 29, 2023

Brighton Journal

Complete News World

Ukraine will acquire F-16 fighter jets from the Dutch and Danes after the US agrees to allow the transfers.

Ukraine will acquire F-16 fighter jets from the Dutch and Danes after the US agrees to allow the transfers.

It wasn’t immediately clear when the first F-16s might enter the conflict, but Ukrainian pilots will first have to undergo at least six months of training on the plane, according to the officials.

Ukraine has long appealed to the advanced fighter to give it a combat advantage. It recently launched a long-awaited counter-offensive against the Kremlin’s forces without air cover, leaving its forces at the mercy of Russian aviation and artillery.

However, Air Force General James Hecker, the commander of US Air Forces in Europe and Africa, told reporters in Washington that he did not expect the F-16s to be a game-changer for Ukraine. He said it could take “four or five years” to prepare F-16 squadrons for battle.

But in eastern Ukraine, attack helicopter pilots welcomed the news. Russia has a clear advantage in the skies, they said, but the introduction of better fighter jets could dramatically change the balance of power Kiev-style.

Ukraine’s air force supporting the infantry has been using Soviet-era aircraft for decades, which are vulnerable to air-to-air missile attacks from Russian fighter jets, Capt. Yevgen Rakita, a spokesman for the Army’s 18th Aviation Brigade, told The Associated Press.

“A modern war cannot be won without aviation capabilities,” said Racketa.

In deciding whether to deliver the F-16s, Washington aims to ensure that the warplanes will be provided to Ukraine once its pilots complete training, according to a US administration official who was not authorized to comment and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

See also  Live updates: Xi warns of 'serious storms' facing China

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sent a letter to his Dutch and Danish counterparts earlier this week, providing official assurance that the US will expedite approval of all requests from third parties to transfer F-16s to Ukraine. . .

Danish Defense Minister Jakob Elliman Jensen said on Friday that training of Ukrainian pilots will start this month.

A coalition of 11 Western countries – the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom – pledged in July to train Ukrainian pilots to fly the F-16s.

Denmark will not deliver some of its F-16s until it receives its new F-35 jet fighters. Deliveries of the first four F-35s are scheduled for October 1.

Washington’s blessing is needed for aircraft donations to other countries because the planes are made in the United States.

Ukraine’s Western allies moved slowly at times to give Kiev the military support it requested.

President Joe Biden’s authorization last May for allies to train Ukrainian forces how to operate warplanes, and eventually provide the planes themselves, officials said, was preceded by months of wrangling in Washington and quiet talks with allies.

The administration had concerns that the move could escalate tensions with Russia. Also, US officials have argued that learning to fly and provide logistical support for the advanced F-16 will be difficult.

Although delivery is likely months away, Washington says the F-16s – like advanced US Abrams tanks – will be crucial to Ukraine’s long-term security.

Ukraine relies on older aircraft, such as the Russian-made MiG-29 and Sukhoi jets. The F-16 has newer technology and targeting capabilities. Experts also say it’s more versatile.

See also  Ukrainians cheer the New Year as Russian drones take off from the sky

In other developments:

Russia’s air defenses have stopped drone attacks on central Moscow and on the country’s ships in the Black Sea, officials said Friday, blaming the attempted strikes on Ukraine. Claims could not be verified.

– A Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship that this week sailed along a temporary Black Sea corridor set up by Ukraine for commercial shipping arrived safely on the coast of Istanbul on Friday. The voyage was watched closely to see if the Russian Navy would allow the container ship Josef Schulte to pass unmolested.


Clapp wrote from eastern Ukraine and Olsen from Copenhagen. Aamir Madani and Elaine Nikmayer contributed from Washington and Jim Heinz from Tallinn, Estonia.


Follow AP coverage of the war in Ukraine at