Ukrainian F-16s to attack Russian positions in Kharkiv region

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The first F-16 fighter jets headed to Kyiv will be deployed to the Kharkiv region, where Russian forces currently hold air superiority, according to The Guardian. 

Photo credit: AP

During the battles around Kharkiv, the Russian military has been using precision-guided bombs. Ukrainian forces hope to counter these with Western aviation tools. Many Ukrainian sources mentioned that these F-16s will specifically target these threats in Kharkiv, as stated in the report. 

However, experts suggest that the Ukrainian military might face challenges operating these jets. The U.S. is delaying training Ukrainian pilots on the F-16s, and their current skills are not optimal. Additionally, maintaining these aircraft will demand a well-trained crew and qualified specialists.

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F-16 and both Swedish AEW&C

Some experts have pointed out that deploying F-16s won’t be without its challenges. They noted that NATO forces typically accompany these jets with various other aircraft, such as the newer F-35s. 

However, Stallmann expressed approval of Sweden’s decision to supply Ukraine with two Saab surveillance aircraft. He mentioned that these would offer essential “in-the-air oversight,” boosting the overall effectiveness of the F-16s. When asked about the specific missiles these jets would carry, he declined to specify but assured a “wide range of weapons” would be available. 

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On the other hand, Russia is expected to target any F-16s stationed on airfields, necessitating their careful concealment and protection by anti-missile systems to prevent significant losses shortly after they arrive in the country.

No ATACMS to Russia, for now

Previously, during the G-7 summit in Italy, President Joe Biden clarified that the U.S.-Ukraine security agreement does not include the deployment of U.S. troops to Ukraine. Nonetheless, Washington’s stance on the use of long-range weapons against Russian territory remains firm and unchanged.  

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Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Zelensky has announced that the security agreement will enable Kyiv to acquire Patriot air defense systems and a variety of fighter jets, including F-16 fighters.  

The Russian Foreign Ministry has stressed that the presence of F-16s in Ukraine would be seen as potential nuclear weapons carriers. The Ministry highlighted that these aircraft have long been part of NATO’s “joint nuclear missions.” The Russian Federation interprets the transfer of these jets to Kyiv as a deliberate provocation by NATO and the United States.


Photo credit: USAF

The F-16 fighter jets that the US plans to send to Ukraine will be stationed directly on Ukrainian soil. This was confirmed by Jake Sullivan, the National Security Advisor to the US President. In an interview with PBS, Sullivan stated, “The plan is to deploy the F-16s to Ukraine.” 

Serhii Holubtsov, the commander of the Ukrainian Air Force, recently mentioned that several F-16s would be placed at air bases abroad. According to Holubtsov, some of the maintenance work for these jets will occur in Ukraine, although there is “no set plan in place” for F-16s to be repaired in the West. 

Despite various challenges, Ukrainian aviation experts are optimistic about the impact of the F-16s. “With F-16s, we can achieve parity in the sky above Ukraine and inflict significant losses on Russian aviation in the border zone,” stated Khrapchynskyi.


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