TechF-16 delivery for Ukrainian Forces? Advantage in the air war is at stake

F‑16 delivery for Ukrainian Forces? Advantage in the air war is at stake

American fighter F-16
American fighter F-16
Images source: © Getty Images | SeongJoon Cho

9:44 AM EST, February 18, 2024

The F-16 fighters are currently highly sought after in Ukraine. Several experts concur, asserting that these aircraft will enable Ukraine to gain air superiority over the Russian Federation's army. As per predictions, the arrival of 100-120 F-16s could significantly shift the war's course.

Expected arrival of F-16s in Ukraine

Roman Svitan, an aviation expert, has suggested that, in his view, the F-16s could already be engaging in frontline battles, and the first of these could soon be seen in the Ukrainian sky. Yet, no evidence has surfaced confirming these fighters' presence in the Ukrainian army. On a related note, a Ukrainian pilot who received training on the F-16 recently stated that the fighter "exceeded the pilots' expectations".

The timeline for the F-16s' appearance in the Ukrainian sky was recently discussed by the Lithuanian defense minister, Arvydas Anušauskas. He stated - I believe we'll see them in Ukraine by June. Moreover, another European official corroborated this timeline at the Munich Security Conference, as reported by the Unian agency.

About F-16 fighters

It's worth mentioning that F-16 fighters are among the world's most advanced and effective aircraft. They can reach speeds of about Mach 2 and operate at an altitude of up to 49,213 feet. Their standard version has a range of about 1,988 miles, which can be extended to approximately 2,610 miles by installing additional fuel tanks.

However, it is essential to note that the efficacy of the F-16s is largely determined by their armaments. The standard weaponry of this American fighter includes a six-barrel M61 Vulcan 20 mm cannon, with various types of bombs and missiles, such as AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles or AGM-65 Maverick, attached at weapon points.

While there is no complete certainty about the specific armaments that will accompany the F-16s delivered to Ukraine, recent reports suggest these could be AGM-158 JASSM missiles used by the Polish army. This weapon has a range of roughly 248 miles in its basic version and is equipped with a penetrating WDU-42/B warhead that weighs more than 948 lbs. This warhead operates in three modes: impact detonation, delayed explosion, and detonation at a given altitude.

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