US-made F-16’s have topped Kiev’s wish list since the start of the Ukraine crisis, but the fourth-generation planes have no business in a modern-day battlefield, a US Air Force veteran was cited as saying in a media report.
Besides the billions of dollars of weapons the US and its allies have already supplied to Ukraine, the Kiev regime has been repeatedly clamoring for fighter jets, specifically, the US-made F-16’s to replace the dwindling fleet of Soviet-era MiG-29 and Su-27 fighters.
Lacking any stealth features, fighter jets such as the F-16, would be completely outmatched in high-threat environments, John Venable, a former fighter pilot, clarified.
Russia’s advanced air-defense, with its S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems, would easily outmaneuver the F-16’s targeting systems, Venable argued.
Furthermore, the S-400’s would be able to target the fighter jets well before they position themselves to fire their load of around eight SDB’s (Small Diameter Bomb), the senior research fellow for defense policy at The Heritage Foundation think-tank added.
Giving Ukraine more MiG-29’s will not help the battlefield. And even if we gave them modern F-16’s – I would say more modern F-16’s – it’s not going to change or influence the battlefield in a year, much less in time for a spring offensive, he was quoted as saying, referring to the much-heralded Ukrainian planned counteroffensive.
The US veteran reminisced about his days as an F-16 pilot in the Eighties and Nineties, arguing that at the time, his jets stood a fighting chance against SA-6 and SA-11 Soviet-era surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, especially when he was supported by HARM (High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile) targeting systems.
Other western aviation analysts have echoed these assessments of F-16’s, saying that if Kiev were ever to get them they might not last very long.
It has been pointed out that General Dynamics’ multi-role fighter aircraft needs specially prepared airbases and air strips – something Ukraine lacks, with the country’s airfields too short and austere to allow for safe use of fully loaded F-16’s.
Back in January, the Pentagon’s deputy press secretary, Sabrina Singh, was cited as saying that F-16’s would be another challenging system that would require training so that Ukraine’s pilots could become proficient enough for using the planes in combat.
In any case, so far the issue of sending American F-16’s to the Kiev regime has been off the table, with only NATO members Poland and Slovakia pledging some older MiG-29’s with which Ukrainian pilots and mechanics are familiar.
Speaking to an American broadcaster on 24 February 2023, US President Joe Biden said that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky doesn’t need F-16’s now, adding that there is no basis upon which there is a rationale for doing this.
On 3 May, Yuriy Ignat, official representative of Ukraine’s Air Force, admitted that Western countries were reluctant, as yet, to deliver F-16’s to Kiev. He added that some NATO member states have been on a waiting list to get such US fighter jets for years.
Russia has repeatedly warned that the military aid the USA and its allies are continuing to deliver to Kiev only prolongs the Ukrainian conflict.
The Russian Foreign Ministry emphasized that NATO countries are playing with fire by supplying weapons to Kiev, and that any convoy of arms for Ukraine will become a legitimate target for Russian forces.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2023.
The Russian defense systems include and are integrated with their air assets (Mig 31, Su 35S etc) These jets are loaded with long range air to air missiles (R37, R77) which reach much farther than anything the F-16 has.