F-16 fighter pilots are welcome to fight Su-27 or Su-35 – Ukraine
KIEV, UKRAINE — Ukraine is becoming increasingly impatient in its demands to receive American F-16 fighter jets. Although Washington continues to refuse, the demands from Kiev do not stop. And hasn’t a decision been made to send F-16s to Ukraine? No one knows it is not official, but the latest statement of the Ukrainian Defense Minister raises many questions.
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Oleksiy Reznikov, Minister of Defense of Ukraine, quoted by Ukrainska Pravda [Ukrainian Truth – English] made an appeal to pilots with F-16 fighter jet experience. He addressed the international public and said that if there are pilots with experience in piloting the F-16 and they are willing and ready to participate in the war against the Russian army, the doors of the Ukrainian Foreign Legion are open to them.
There is certainly at least one American pilot who has been saying for several weeks that he is ready to go and fight air battles against the Russian Su-27, Su-30, and Su-35. This is Dan ‘Two Dogs’ Hampton who has been analyzing the capabilities of the Russian Air Force for several weeks. He also said that he would fight Russian fighter jets if he had the chance.
Analysts of BulgarianMilitary.com say that the statement of the former F-16 pilot may also be the reason for the statement of the Ukrainian Defense Minister. Still, most likely according to various estimates, some pilots would face the Russian Aerospace Forces [VKS].
Although there is no official confirmation of a possible deployment of F-16s to Ukraine, some countries have expressed such a desire. For example, the Netherlands and Poland were the first. A possible solution even appeared – for a third country to buy fighter jets from the US and send them to Ukraine. Whatever schemes are made, however, without the permission of Washington, an American plane cannot appear in the sky over Ukraine.
However, Reznikov’s statement brings us closer to another report on BulgarianMilitary.com. F-16S may appear over Ukraine, taking off from other countries. Their participation will be episodic and perhaps aimed at air support of the ground forces. Most likely, these aircraft will not meet their Russian opponents but will use beyond-visual-range missiles. To avoid involving a specific third country in the conflict, the F-16s can be covered with Ukrainian camouflage.
Such an assumption appears at a time when the Ukrainian president Mr. Volodymyr Zelensky is talking about the return of the occupied Crimea. It is in such an operation that the use of a “fake” Ukrainian F-16 is possible.
For now, however, Ukraine is receiving only Soviet fighters. Poland and Slovenia are the two countries that have confirmed the deployment of MiG-29s to Ukraine. Yesterday, April 10, information came out that Bulgaria was also willing to send its MiG-29s to Ukraine. However, it is not clear whether such an action was possible as a donation or as a sale. This decision, at least for the moment, is difficult to implement in Sofia. Bulgaria has no other combat fighter, which means that it has no way to carry out regular air duty. The F-16 ordered from the USA will come to Bulgaria in the coming years.
Of course, Reznikov’s statement raises another question. Has it not already been decided to donate some form of F-16 to Ukraine. Although, this is all in the realm of conjecture, and has not been officially announced, such a possibility exists.
And isn’t Reznikov trying to challenge the US to send the F-16 by having a ready list of former F-16 pilots? In this way, Ukraine will show that it is ready now and immediately to counter in the air with Western aircraft. This is a key moment, as Kiev will find an easy solution to the problem of the time it takes to train an F-16 pilot.
In late March, BulgarianMilitary.com reported, citing an Intelligence Online [IO] report, that Ukraine would receive Dassault Mirage 2000-9 fighter jets. The investigation of this media indicates that possible suppliers of these planes would be the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, or Greece.
In all cases, the words of the Minister of Defense are another call for help to Washington. These words seek their allies to support them. At some point, an F-16 coalition, like a tank coalition, could make the White House change its mind.
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