All Ukrainian hopes are pinned on the F-16 planes that Kiev is waiting to obtain, after US President Joe Biden gave the green light to Western countries to send them to them, but who will provide Ukraine with these planes that it hopes will outweigh its balance in the upcoming battles?
What are F-16s?
- The F-16 is known as the “Fighting Falcon”.
- Manufactured in 1976, under an unusual agreement to establish a consortium between the United States and manufacturers from 4 NATO countries, namely Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway..
- According to Flight Global’s World Air Force Directory, about 2,200 F-16s are currently in active service around the world..
- It is used by 25 countries for air combat, ground attack and electronic warfare missions.
- All these factors make the fighter jet the most popular, with 15 percent of the world’s air fleet.
- The F-16s participated in the US conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo, during the second Gulf War, and in other defense missions in US airspace..
On the way to Ukraine
- There are reports that Ukraine will not receive the oldest existing aircraft, but rather those that have undergone so-called “mid-life upgrades”, that is, improved avionics and software..
- Adviser to the Ukrainian Defense Minister, it is likely that the Netherlands will be the first country to gift Ukraine these planes.
- The Netherlands currently has 24 active F-16s that can be deployed and used, in addition to 18 decommissioned aircraft that can also be sent to a third party..
- Poland and Belgium have expressed their intention to send F-16s to Ukraine.
- As for Denmark and Britain, they will train Ukrainian pilots to use these planes.
The question remains, do these planes change the equation on the ground, or add to the other weapons Kiev got from the West without having a decisive impact on the conflict?
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