Ukraine asks the West for F-16s because of their versatility: Le Monde explains what role the fighters can play in the war
The US-made F-16 fighter jets have been discussed for several months in the context of military aid to Ukraine, but no decision has been made. The F-16s would be a great help to the Ukrainian Air Force, as they are versatile and the manufacturer has produced them in large numbers.
The French edition of Le Monde noted that although there is no final answer to Ukraine's request, it seems that a decision is "taking shape". Thus, on May 16, the UK announced that it would create an "international coalition" to help Kyiv obtain modern Western-style military aircraft. The Netherlands openly says that it will be able to supply them in the future, and France (as well as Poland) is ready to train pilots.
"Volodymyr Zelenskyy has every reason to be optimistic," the article says.
The only thing left to do is to convince Washington, whose approval is essential for the re-export of F-16 fighter-bombers.
The journalists listed the advantages of these aircraft. They are by far the most widely used fighter jets in the world among other fighters of this type. America has produced 4,500 F-16s, of which approximately 2,300 are in service (16% of the world's combat fleet). F-16 aircraft are used by 25 countries.
This means that they will be available for transfer to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In addition, F-16s are versatile. They are designed primarily for air combat, but can also serve as a tactical bomber, attack aircraft, electronic warfare aircraft, or airspace protection aircraft.
Le Monde pointed out that the US F-16 has the same advantages for Ukrainian aviation over the French Mirage or Rafale as, for example, German Leopard tanks had advantages over French Leclerc tanks for the Army.
The problem is that a large number of military personnel - both pilots and maintenance staff - need to be trained. At least a dozen people are needed for one aircraft, the article says.
As OBOZREVATEL previously reported:
- The United States believes that Ukrainian pilots will be able to learn to fly American F-16 fighters not in 18 months, as previously estimated, but in just four months. This conclusion was made by the US Air Force after two Ukrainian pilots underwent training on flight simulators, according to Yahoo News.
- According to Roman Svitan, a pilot instructor, colonel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in reserve, and military expert, the procedure for preparing our country's flight crew and airfields to accept the F-16 may take about three months.
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