F-16 will be tough for our Sukhoi and Mikoyan fighters – Dandykin

Pitting an American 4th generation F-16 fighter jet against Russian Sukhoi and Mikoyan fighters will be a challenge for the Russian Aerospace Forces [VKS]. According to Russian military expert Reserve Captain First Rank Vasily Dandykin, the F-16 will be tough against the Russian Su-35 or MiG-31.

MiG-29 Fulcrum drops badass JDAM bombs but keeps failing - Mizokami
Photo credit: Getty Images

Dandykin was born in 1957 in the village of Dyatkovichi, Bryansk region. He has combat experience [it is not mentioned on which combat aircraft], according to the business card in the Russian media Izvestia. He graduated from a military-political school and was discharged with the rank of captain 1st rank from the Russian Air Force. He is the deputy editor-in-chief of the magazine “Warrior of Russia”. He is a recipient of the medal “For Merit to the Fatherland” II degree.

Dandykin made this statement in early February this year. Dandykin hasn’t changed his mind today. According to his expert assessment, a Western fighter, which the F-16 undoubtedly is with its avionics, lightweight, and weaponry, could prove to be a deterrent to reduce Russian dominance in the air. “The Russians are aware of this,” says Dandykin.

The Russian expert says that the most commonly used pair in the war, the Su-35 and MiG-31 are fighter jets that are prepared and equipped to take on Western-class fighter jets. But the F-16s are not the aging Soviet fighters of Ukraine, nor the depreciated Polish and Slovak MiG-29s. Here the challenge is great and a tough battle is expected if the F-16 meets the Su-35 for example.

Egyptian Su-35 Flanker-E fighters are going to Iran in March
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Tactics/The Israeli Problem

The West will have to solve a complex equation – how to deter the Russian Sukhoi and Mikoyan air raids. Because the Su-35 and MiG-31 have been inflicting a lot of damage in recent weeks. We have already talked about the change in Russian air tactics, which puts the Ukrainians in front of Hubson’s choice. I.e. how to avoid flying aerial bombs without turning on their air defense radars, since they can be instantly attacked from the air with the Kh-31P air-to-surface missile. Both cases risk defeat, the choice is which is more practical and will not have a long-term effect.

Russia will end up in Israel’s situation if Ukraine gets American F-16 fighter jets. I.e. after Iran receives the Russian Su-35, Israel will seriously reduce air attacks on Iranian targets, especially in Syria, as they risk being “caught up and drawn into an aerial battle”. So, Russia will have to comply if Ukraine gets the much-coveted F-16s for exactly the same reasons.

Dependent details

How effective American fighter jets will be using Ukrainian air bases is a completely different question. In the last 24 hours, it has been heavily commented that the F-16 needs clear and long runways. Justin Bronk commented that the huge air intakes under the nose of the F-16 will suck dirt on the runways, which will cause damage to the engines.

If Russia pollutes the runways, the US F-16 becomes unusable
Photo by US Air Force/Senior Airman Erica Webster

Perhaps because of such comments, Ukraine decided to respond, defending the idea of acquiring F-16. Ukraine has runways suitable for use by F-16s, Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ignat said. “There are no problems with the infrastructure. American aircraft have already landed here, including F-15s and F-16s. These aircraft were at our airports in 2012 and 2018. We have dozens of different airports – operational, scheduled – that can be used for these types of aircraft,” he said.

Despite Ignat’s statement, the opinions in this direction prevail in favor of Bronk. A former F-16 pilot from the US Air Force expressed a similar opinion. lieutenant colonel Jahara Matisek commented that “dispersed F-16 operations do become a sticking point because the air intake is so low to the ground and vulnerable to sucking in pebbles and other debris that damage the engine.”

Discrepant information

However, the issue of sending the F-16 continues. Ignoring how the plane would even take off from Ukrainian airstrips, we’re back to effectiveness if the F-16 goes up against the Russian Sukhoi and Mikoyan. Despite Dandykin’s opinion that the Russian Su-35 and MiG-31 are prepared for such an encounter, former F-16 pilot Dan Hampton, a retired US Air Force lieutenant colonel, does not think so.

Hampton believes the Su-35 is flying a 30-year-old radar. According to his expert opinion, the F-16 can do very well in air combat beyond visual range precisely because of its newer radar compared to the Russian one. The American ace points out that the F-16’s radar can track multiple targets. In fact, BulgarianMilitary.com compared the two radars and found some falsehoods in Hampton’s claims. For example, the Ibris-E that operates in the Su-35 can also track up to 30 targets simultaneously at a distance of 350 km.

Su-35 or F-16?

Russia's MiG-31K interceptor jet carried out a test of the Kinjal hypersonic missile
The current Russian interceptor MiG-31, Photo credit: Sputnik News

As for armament, many experts believe that the Su-35 is much better armed than its “adversary” the F-16. Of course, it is not correct to compare the two fighters, since they are in different classes. Basically, the MiG-29 should be compared to the F-16 and the Su-30/35 to the F-15. But since we’re talking about a real possibility of the F-16 and Su-35 going head-to-head, the comparison is a must.

Certainly, however, the F-16 will give the Su-35 or MiG-31 a tough rebuff and countermeasure. Russia no longer has so much trouble flying in the air. The tactics of Russian combat aviation at the moment will also be disrupted. Do we want to see the F-16 and the Russian Sukhoi or Mikoyan in a dogfight? Of course, out of pure curiosity because of the capabilities of the machines and their pilots.


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