Ukraine Wants F-16 Fighter Jets Next: Now that the United States and Germany have finally agreed to send advanced Western main battle tanks to Ukraine, the embattled country is already thinking about what weapons could come next.
Yuriy Sak, an adviser to the Ukrainian Defense Secretary, told The Hill this week that he believes the West is likely to send advanced fighter jets next. Specifically, Sak believes that Ukraine could be set to receive the American F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft.
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“Every type of weapon we request, we needed yesterday,” Sak said, adding that Ukraine will do everything it can to receive “fourth-generation fighter jets as soon as possible.”
They really are probably on the way, too, if a spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force Command is to be believed.
Colonel Yuriy Ihnat claimed this month that Ukrainian pilots traveled to the United States to learn how to use the planes.
“Our military pilots went to the United States; funds were allocated for the training of our pilots,” Ihnat said. “The type of aircraft, which is likely to be provided to Ukraine, and the corresponding terms of training have already been determined.”
Ihnat also said that “every effort” is being made to fulfill Ukraine’s “dream of switching to this plane.”
F-16: Is It A Good Idea?
Beyond the concerns about Western countries escalating the conflict and triggering Russia to broaden the scope of the conflict, some believe that F-16s would not perform as well as the Ukrainians hope.
Writing on Twitter, veteran Indian Air Force pilot VK Thakur suggested that the planes could simply become “cannon fodder.”
“Without AWACS cover, Ukrainian F-16s will be cannon fodder for RuAF Su-30SM & Su-35 flying underground radar cover on 24×7 air dominance patrol over the frontline. The F-16s will be just another straw for Ukraine to clutch on in its terminal spiral down,” Thakur claimed.
Ukrainian fighter pilots and military officials, however, don’t agree – and are willing to take the planes and use them to their advantage for as long as possible.
“A lot can be said, but I will only say that we are performing tasks that technically were not even laid down at the design stage of our aircraft,” the pilot said.
“Enjoying the advantage, the enemy operates according to textbooks on tactical and fire training. We operate using more modern methods that are not laid out in any of the textbooks of any country in the world. Western-type fighters will help us to fully develop our potential.”
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.