TechRussia offers bounties as Ukraine readies for F-16 fighter jets

Russia offers bounties as Ukraine readies for F‑16 fighter jets

American F-16 (illustrative photo)
American F-16 (illustrative photo)
Images source: © Pixabay

7:18 AM EDT, June 10, 2024

Russians are preparing for the arrival of Western fighter jets in Ukraine. Sergei Shmotyev, director of the Ural company Fores, has even announced cash rewards for shooting them down. A soldier can expect 15 million rubles for the first destroyed F-16 fighter jet and 500,000 rubles for each subsequent one, reports Bulgarian Military. Let's recall what these machines are and what capabilities they have.

Ukraine is awaiting deliveries of Western F-16 fighter jets. According to Politico, Kyiv will receive over 60 F-16 fighter jets from Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway, with the first units expected to appear in Ukrainian airspace this summer. However, Western experts point out a problem with the availability of sufficient trained pilots.

F-16s for Ukraine - challenges and obstacles

The Washington Institute for the Study of War, citing a former Pentagon official, estimated that if the current training pace is maintained, Ukraine will only have sufficient trained pilots by the end of 2025. In practice, this means a limited ability to deploy F-16 fighter jets shortly and effectively.

The pace of training is not the only challenge for future Ukrainian F-16 pilots. Another challenge is avoiding being shot down by the enemy. Eliminating Western F-16s will be a top priority for the Russians, similar to the Patriot systems. Destroyed Western equipment is eagerly used by Russian propaganda.

Russians will also have additional financial motivation to hunt F-16s. As reported by the Bulgarian Military, Sergei Shmotyev, director of Fores, announced rewards of 15 million rubles (approximately $168,000) for shooting down the first F-16 fighter jet and 500,000 rubles (roughly $5,600) for each subsequent one.

F-16 - American fourth-generation fighter jets

F-16, or fourth-generation multi-role fighter jets, designed by General Dynamics and currently produced by Lockheed Martin, differ significantly from the Su-27 or MiG-29 aircraft previously used by Ukrainians. They can be used for both air-to-air and air-to-ground attacks. During the latter, the machine can use, for example, AGM-65G2 Maverick air-to-ground guided missiles or Mk82 and Mk84 bombs.

The F-16 fighter jet has a length of 49 feet, a wingspan of 31 feet, and can move at a speed of about 2 Mach, or nearly 1,522 mph. Its maximum takeoff weight exceeds 35,000 pounds. The aircraft's range is estimated at 1,243 miles, and its maximum flight altitude is almost 49,000 feet. The primary armament of the F-16 is the M61A 20 mm cannon.

Related content