F-16 fighter jets: What are they and could they be sent to help Ukraine? | World News

Will F-16 fighter jets soon be screeching over Kharkiv or tearing through the skies over Zaporizhzhia, breaking the sound barrier?

It once seemed impossible, but now? maybe not.

Like the western world Leopard 2 is looking to Germany for a decision on tanks.it was from the Netherlands that a potentially more radical idea was proposed: sending Western-made fighter jets to Kyiv for use by Ukrainian pilots.

The Dutch cabinet said it would consider supplying Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets if the Kiev government asked for them, domestic media reported.

During a parliamentary debate last week, Foreign Affairs Minister Wopke Hoekstra said the cabinet would look at such a request with an “open mind”.

So what are F-16s and what could they be used for? And what other weapons might be donated to Ukraine in the coming months?

An F-16 jet drops flares in the meantime. "Noble Sword-14" NATO's International Tactical Exercise at the Ground Forces Training Center in Oleszno, near Drasko Pomorski, northwestern Poland, on September 9, 2014.  About 1,700 soldiers from Croatia, Estonia, France, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Germany, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia,  The US, Turkey, Hungary, UK and Italy are participating in the three-week exercise.  REUTERS/Kacper Pempel (Poland - Tags: Politics Military)
An F-16 jet drops flares during a NATO exercise in Poland.

F-16 Fighting Falcon

A highly maneuverable fighter jet, the F-16 is versatile and can reach speeds in excess of 1,200 mph.

The US says it can detect targets in all weather conditions and the radar can detect low-flying aircraft in ground clutter.

In the air-to-surface role, the F-16 can fly more than 500 miles, deliver its payload with high precision, defend itself against enemy aircraft, and return to its point of departure. can

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Philip Ingram, a former senior intelligence and security official, says Ukrainian troops are facing a training burden because the West is holding tanks hostage.

The Netherlands – a member of NATO – is one of several countries around the world that flies the F-16 as part of its air force.

“I think it’s likely that we’ll start giving Ukraine more Western military aircraft – the Ukrainians need it,” former intelligence officer Philip Ingram told Sky News.

The difficulty, he said, is that pilots can’t just jump from one plane to another — especially in the intensity of live combat operations.

“But we’re learning across the board to handle and operate Ukrainian and Western equipment that they’re doing in weeks what it takes Western pilots months to do,” Mr. Ingram added.

Asked what effect a squadron of F-16s would have on the part of the Ukrainians, he said it would have a psychological effect on Russian forces.

“They are up against a system that they know can counter them at any stage,” he argued, arguing that it would further push back Russian air operations.

Read more:
Germany will not stand in the way of Polish tanks to Kyiv.
Boris Johnson made a surprise visit to Ukraine.

A Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrum multi-role fighter jet of the Polish Air Force.
Will Poland’s MiG-29 fighter jets be sent to Ukraine?

Mikoyan MiG-29

The Soviet-designed MiG-29 is already in use by the Ukrainian Air Force and serves as a multi-role fighter.

The disintegration and disintegration of the Soviet Union meant that several European countries had stockpiles of MiG-29s, including Poland.

In March of last year, weeks after the all-out Russian invasion of Ukraine, Poland offered to supply Kyiv with its entire fleet of MiG-29s. In exchange for the F-16 from the US.

by that time The Pentagon said the offer was not acceptable. and “raises serious concerns for the NATO alliance”.

In the months since, however, Ukraine has launched very successful counterattacks and many heavy weapons that might once have been considered off the table – HIMARS and tanks, for example – have been donated to Kyiv.

One potential problem for Polish MiG-29s, Mr Ingram says, is that they have been upgraded to operate NATO communications systems that would likely need to be removed to prevent them from falling into Russian hands.

Asked about a possible timeline for Ukraine to get F-16s, MiG-29s or other fixed-wing aircraft, Mr. Ingram pointed to the next meeting at Ramstein Air Base in mid-February to focus on aviation. Hope to concentrate.

In this U.S. Army-provided photo, Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment, 18th Field Artillery Brigade out of Fort Bragg, N.C., conduct live fire testing at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., Dec. 14, 2021. .  An early version of the Army Tactical Missile System.  Ukrainian leaders are asking the U.S. and Western allies for air defense systems and long-range weapons to keep up the momentum in retaliation against Russia and counter Moscow's heavy-handed attacks.  Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says allies are committed to sending weapons ... as fast as we can physically get them there.... (John Hamilton/US Army via AP)
US Army soldiers are testing a version of ATACMS. Photo: AP/White Sands Missile Range

ATACMS long-range missiles

Ukraine has long demanded more and longer-range missile systems as it continues to attack targets deep behind Russian lines.

The arrival of the HIMARS rocket system was arguably the biggest development of the war and has undoubtedly played a huge role in bolstering Ukraine’s counter-attacks.

With a range of about 190 miles, the Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) will be a step up from the HIMARS used in Ukraine, which has a range of about 50 miles.

On a visit to Kyiv with two other US senators last week, Richard Blumenthal urged the Biden administration to supply Ukraine with tanks, artillery and ATACMS missile systems, as well as aircraft.

“We should not send American troops to Ukraine, but we should provide Ukraine with whatever we would give our troops if they were fighting on the ground,” Mr. Blumenthal said.

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