F-15s/F-16s armed with JDAMs advance to Ukraine to strike deep
PANAGYURISHTE ($1=1.84 Bulgarian Levs) — Ukraine is not happy with the attempts of some of its allies against Russia to end the war right now. This means that Ukraine will be forced to accept foreign terms, most likely involving the loss of territory. The German chancellor Mr. Olaf Scholz, for example, said that Germany’s main goal was to end the war no matter how it was done – by phone or meeting.
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The US seems to be of the opposite opinion at the moment. The US military budget increased by more than 100 billion dollars for 2023 including assistance to Ukraine. War is an excellent business, especially for a country with a huge arms production and when it is not fought far from its territorial waters.
The bad news for Russian President Mr. Vladimir Putin still remains the inability to use the full potential of his Air and Space Forces [VKS]. Despite the increasingly looming shortage of surface-to-air missiles for Ukrainian air defense systems, it is precisely these systems that still ensure that Russian fighters will carry out tactical missions from a distance. While Ukrainian air defenses work, Russian air defenses are forced to launch airstrikes from a distance or risk going deep into enemy airspace in attempts to destroy radar systems.
JDAM is coming
Ukraine’s neighboring countries also influence the war. Poland, as an active defender of Ukraine, uses its military aeronautical engineers to integrate Storm missiles, Shadow missiles, and SCALP on Ukrainian aircraft. Most often they are Su-24. If the spokesman of the Russian Ministry of Defense, Mr. Igor Konashenkov, is to be believed, Kyiv has almost no fighter jets. According to Russian information, a few MiG-29s remain, most likely donated by a country sympathetic to Ukraine.
In the background of all this, Washington has the intention of installing the American JDAM bombs. These are free-falling bombs, often called dump bombs, but with a modification. The modification involves the integration of a bomb-to-air kit equipped with wings, a computer, a tail unit, and a guidance system. Thus, after releasing the bomb from the aircraft, the operator can direct it, significantly increasing its range. the bomb becomes a cruise missile with a range.
Sources claim that such a bomb can now hit targets at a distance of nearly 28 km. Of course, if a high-flying fighter such as the US F-22 is used, the bomb can double its range. However, Ukraine does not have such a fighter.
F-15s and F-16s
It is the possible delivery of JDAM bombs and the lack of fighter jets that is one of the reasons why some believe that the US is planning to take delivery of F-15 or F-16. Perhaps the JDAM is the transition point before Ukraine gets these fighters in 2023. In Washington, there is already a serious lobby among political circles for Ukraine to receive American fighter jets. The fact that since the beginning of the war Ukrainian pilots have been training to fly the American attack aircraft A-10 should not be overlooked.
The F-15 and F-16 in Ukraine mean that the Ukrainian Air Force will be able to carry out deep strikes deep into the territory of the lands temporarily occupied by Russia. Ukrainian forces have done this sporadically since the beginning of the war, but it is more of a guerrilla tactic with a temporary effect than an air raid with a devastating outcome. On the one hand, the joint set of direct attack munitions placed on systems unknown to the Russians [F-15 or F-16] means an additional threat to Russian military headquarters, warehouses, and outposts.
At the moment, the Russian media is divided. According to some, this is PR of Washington, according to others, attempts to merge Western with Soviet technology. But everyone recognizes that whatever the scenario, the military airfields of the Russian Federation in the temporarily occupied territories will become more vulnerable and “exposed” in a scenario with JDAM bombs.
Russia will buy more Iranian weapons
Russia’s response could mean more deliveries of Iran’s Yasir-guided bombs [JDAM-ER]. “The Air Force of the Islamic Republic learned to use them from its outdated aircraft without entering the strike radius of the enemy’s air defense systems, saving both pilots and equipment,” Russian media reported. There are other Iranian weapons that Moscow can take advantage of. For example, the winged bomb Balaban, has a smaller caliber and a shorter range [25 km.]. Delivery of Karrar drones, which will be armed with one of the two Iranian bomb models, will allow Russian air defense systems to carry out strikes at a distance of up to 400 km.
I.e. in any case, Russia will respond to an eventual delivery of American bombs combined with a subsequent delivery of several F-15s or F-16s. But in this way, Ukraine will keep the Russian planes at bay, which will no longer have this dominance in the air, as it is now. Russia will be able to attack Ukrainian targets from a distance.
This ensures a significant reduction in Russian deep strikes into the heartland of Ukraine, which will allow Kyiv time to strengthen its air defenses. And if it is now risky for Russian warplanes to circle deep among Ukrainian air defense systems to hit their radars, what will happen when Ukraine no longer has to worry about missing missiles for its air defense?
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