‘Green Light’ to send F-16s to Ukraine comes from Greenville

WASHINGTON, US — The American F-16 fighter jet manufacturer is ready to supply aircraft to European countries that will re-export their fighters to Ukraine, the Financial Times reported.

Syria tried to take down Turkish F-16 with Russian-made S-200
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Details: St. John, chief operating officer of Lockheed Martin, America’s largest defense contractor, said “there is a lot of talk about transferring F-16 fighter jets to third countries,” meaning the countries would re-export their U.S. fighter jets to Ukraine to protect its airspace.

The company is not directly involved in the negotiations, he said, but Lockheed Martin “will ramp up F-16 production in Greenville, South Carolina, to a level where we can pretty effectively support any country that decides to transfer third party aircraft to help resolve the current conflict.”

It is noted that the White House has so far rejected Ukraine’s request for advanced F-16 fighter jets due to concerns that they could be used to strike Russian territory.

First, the US government must approve the sale or transfer of American-made fighter jets to third countries, which means European countries will need political support from the Biden administration.

A spokesman for the US Department of Defense said there was “nothing to report about the F-16 fighter jets at this time”.

In Europe, re-export of F-16s from EU member states directly to Ukraine is believed to be one possible option. In particular, American aircraft can also be sent by Western countries to the former Warsaw Pact countries, which can then send their Soviet-designed aircraft to Kyiv. Thus, at the beginning of the war, Warsaw offered to transfer Soviet-made MiG-29 fighters to the Ukrainian Air Force.

Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said last week that the Netherlands would consider any request to send F-16s with an “open mind” and that there were “no taboos” about military support. The Netherlands has about 40 F-16 fighters and is in the process of gradually replacing them with more advanced F-35s.

Greece received two F-16 Block 52+ upgraded to Block 70 standard
Photo credit: Greek Air Force

In addition to the Netherlands, seven other European NATO countries operate the F-16, including Poland, Norway and Romania. We will remind: President Volodymyr Zelensky believes that after the decision on tanks, Ukraine should continue with the delivery of aircraft – this is an important task.


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