How US-made “Swiss Army Knife Flying Knife” F-16s will enable Ukraine to attack Russian forces and humiliate Putin once again
THE US has given the allies the green light to send Ukraine the long-awaited F-16 fighter jets to fight in the air against Russia.
Zelenskyy called the decision to hand over the fighter jets, known as the “Swiss Army Knives,” to the US Air Force as a “historic” step that will help them defeat Putin.
The frighteningly fast Fighting Falcon F-16s fly at twice the speed of sound and are the second most modern jets in NATO fleets.
Soon they could be soaring over Ukraine’s battlefields, as Washington has paved the way for potentially dozens of these jets to be sent to Ukraine.
A Ukrainian fighter pilot who defended Kiev in the early days of the invasion as part of the legendary Ghosts of Kiev unit knows firsthand what that decision means.
The pilot, whose call sign is Justice, said: “The main disadvantage of our jets compared to Russian fighters is that we have old radar with limited target detection range and outdated missiles.”
“Russian fighter jets have powerful modern radars with a much longer detection range and advanced missiles.
“So I have to fly towards the enemy to fire my missile when their missile is already coming at me like a kamikaze.
“Of course I don’t do it because it’s too risky. That’s why we can’t resist them at all. We can only defend ourselves against their warplanes,” he said ITV News.
The F-16 could change all that with its sophisticated systems that allow brave jet pilots to “see the whole picture from above”.
During the grueling 15-month war, F-16s were high on Ukraine’s wish list as officials claimed they were essential to wiping out the enemy from their skies.
Dubbed the “Lego kit” by experts for their versatility and ability to be inexpensively upgraded and maintained, the Fighting Falcons are ideal in wartime.
Ditto for their “groundbreaking” ability to travel at 2200 km/h and carry 7,000 kg worth of rockets and bombs.
Ukraine’s Air Force currently relies on outdated Soviet-era jets that have struggled with Moscow’s more modern air force and anti-aircraft defences.
So far, President Biden had effectively vetoed the transfer of F-16s, with US officials citing lengthy pilot training periods and the risk of escalating the conflict with Russia.
But this new plan opens the door for several nations to supply the fourth-generation planes and for the US to help train the pilots.
Ukrainian pilots using simulators have already reduced Pentagon estimates that the training would take 18 months to just four to six months.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the U-turn decision was based on “the exigencies of the conflict.”
“We’ve come to a point where it’s time to look to the future and say, ‘What will Ukraine need… to deter and defend against Russian aggression?’
“F-16s, fourth-generation fighter jets, are part of that mix,” he said, adding that Ukraine has pledged not to use US military equipment to attack targets inside Russia.
“We will do everything we can to assist Ukraine in defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and we will also act in such a way as to avoid a third world war,” he added.
Ukrainian stars will turn the top gun fiction into reality.
Dmytro Kuleba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine
After the US veto was lifted, Sunak was quick to announce that the UK would “work with the US and the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark to provide Ukraine with the combat air capabilities it needs”.
Britain has no F-16s in its air force fleet.
As Ukraine has bolstered its air defenses with a variety of Western anti-aircraft systems and prepares to launch a counteroffensive against Russia, Kiev believes the jets are vital to the country’s long-term security.
Officials say they need up to 200 jets to take on Russia’s air force, which is said to be five to six times larger than Ukraine’s.
A Ukrainian pilot currently in the fight for the skies described the grim situation they are in against Putin’s flying fleet.
“In the open field there is a fighter with a sniper rifle, and on the opposite side a soldier with a gun, and the fight can begin. Guess: who will win?” he said ITV News.
However, the F-16s are highly maneuverable fighter jets that Kiev says will be able to support Ukraine’s ground forces and protect civilians from Russia’s devastating missile strikes, including drones.
However, there are still some concerns about the practicalities, including the lack of infrastructure in the war-torn country to safely operate these animals.
registered mail foreign policy, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba laid out the five main reasons why his country needs fighter jets.
First, “Ukraine needs modern warplanes to bolster our air and missile defenses, save lives and protect civilians,” he warned, adding that they would be able to shoot down missiles long before they kill anyone.
Second, he says, “F-16s will allow us to control our skies, protect our troops, reduce their casualties, and increase our pilots’ chances of surviving dogfights.”
The next step is to ensure the security of the Black Sea Corridor so that all future grain exports can flow freely.
He also believes that using F-16s in active combat will help educate the US Air Force on the capabilities of its aircraft “without endangering American lives.”
“Ukrainian stars will turn top gun fiction into reality.”
Finally, he insists that the planes will ensure Ukraine’s victory and terrify Putin.
“F-16s in the hands of Ukrainian pilots will serve as a powerful deterrent to future Russian attempts to redraw borders in Europe.”
The former US ambassador to NATO stated that the arrival of F-16s in Ukraine could change the course of the war.
Lieutenant General Douglas Lute narrated PBS: “The Ukrainians suffer from an imbalance in manned aircraft, where the Russians have a distinct advantage.
“This decision to provide aircraft now and provide the training needed really eliminates that imbalance.”
“I think it’s, frankly, one of the last remaining imbalances in favor of the Russians.”