Older Eurofighter is a better dogfighter for Ukraine than the F-16

PANAGYURISHTE, BULGARIA — American F-16 Fighting Falcon or JAS-39 Gripen C? Which of the two fighters would be best suited for the Ukrainian defense? Some reports that we have also mentioned [RUSI] give an advantage to the Gripen C. It makes sense that if in the air Ukraine will have to counter the Russian R37 and R77 missiles.

Sweden improving JAS 39 Gripen C/D's capabilities with a new update
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Some reports give the Gripen C an edge over the F-16. It is capable of electronic warfare, has a low profile, lower overheads, and easy operation and maintenance. Is the Gripen C better than the F-16 in terms of BVR combat? Most likely, considering it is armed with a better BVR missile.

We can even say the same about Gripen C’s radar equipment. But the F-16 has a lot to show if they go head-to-head. In a head-to-head battle, the Viper has its advantage expressed in better cornering stability. The F-16 has a better thrust-to-weight ratio and this fact cannot be ignored.

There is even one fact that cannot be ignored. The Gripen C does not have the air combat experience that the F-16 does. A few flights over Libya do not make the Swedish fighter combat-proven. The Gripen C will have to face the Russian Flankers, which are not the obsolete MiGs. Of course, the F-16 also did not face a Flanker series aircraft, but as already mentioned, the American fighter has more combat experience.

32 retired F-16 Fighter Falcons found a new operator in the Balkans
Photo credit: Wikipedia


But does Ukraine need Gripen C or F-16? Interesting why most western reports do not recommend the European Eurofighter Typhoon. This fighter has the merits to remove the F-16 and Gripen C, and this opinion is not far-fetched.

In the absence of quality air defense to counter Russian fighters or bombers, Ukraine is better off seeking air superiority. It is currently on Russia’s side. Eurofighter, for its part, beats Gripen and F-16 in air superiority.

Is the Eurofighter maneuverable? Yes, even if we compare it to the maneuverability of the F-16, especially knowing that the Eurofighter has turning characteristics like the F-16 with sensors. Can it fight aerial combat beyond visual range? Of course, knowing that the best BVR missile in the world is in service – Meteor with a great radar.

Spanish and German Eurofighters in Estonia begin alert missions
Photo credit: Luftwaffe

Ukraine needs to acquire some Eurofighters to spread across its remaining air bases. In this way, the needs of the Ukrainian air defense can be filled by the combat capability of the Eurofighters in the air. In combination with MiG-29s, which are still in service in Ukraine, the air force will also be able to carry out strikes near the front.

We are not even talking about new Eurofighters, but about the older version – tranche 1. Yes, they do not have improved radar complexes, which are not even AESAs. But the Eurofighter / Meteor pack could prove to be a game-changer.

In recent months, there have been a lot of talks that the American A-10 attack aircraft is an option for the Ukrainian Air Force. However, Ukraine has repeatedly expressed the opinion that it does not need this type of aircraft, but air dogfighters. Ukraine can turn to Austria, for example, which is replacing its fighter jets. The 15 obsolete Austrian Eurofighters would be very useful in the air against Russian Su-30, Su-35, and MiG-31.

Here, however, diplomacy will be needed, even if it is not about Austria, but one of the other countries such as Spain, Italy, Great Britain, and Germany. Because Eurofighter can keep the Russian Flankers quite far. The question is how desirable such an inclusion in the war of such technology. As well as whether Washington and London are ready to offer such an option to Ukraine, or is it too early.


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