TechUkrainian pilots admire F-16 fighter jets: A transition from Soviet models and an anticipation of aerial dominance

Ukrainian pilots admire F‑16 fighter jets: A transition from Soviet models and an anticipation of aerial dominance

F-16 in flight
F-16 in flight
Images source: © Romanian Armed Forces

9:15 AM EST, February 11, 2024

Our pilots are extraordinarily impressed, Phantom speaks highly of the F-16 fighters. The plane has simply exceeded their expectations. According to him, the pilots have already recognized tremendous potential in these machines which could greatly aid the Ukrainian air forces.

Phantom additionally drew attention to the minor complications pilots faced during training. The transition of Ukrainian fighter pilots from older Soviet models like the Su-27 and MiG-29 to modern F-16s was challenging, he pointed out.

Roman Svitan, a military expert and flight instructor, recently spoke about the F-16. He stressed that while F-16 fighters are reportedly already flying in Ukrainian skies, they are not yet stationed at local airports. According to Svitan, we can expect the arrival of fully combat-ready machines, complete with an engineering and technical crew, sometime in March or April.

Ukrainian experts have frequently discussed the potent capabilities of the F-16. They highlighted how the weapons mounted on these fighters could potentially give the defending forces an aerial advantage. However, they also pointed out that the handful of F-16s announced might not be enough to assure Ukraine of full dominance over Russian forces. They believe over 120 machines may be needed for this.

In terms of weaponry and overall efficiency, the American-made F-16 fighters, about 49 feet in length, could pose a tough challenge to the aggressor's forces. These jets outperform their rivals, the MiG-29 and S-27, and have the capacity to reach speeds up to Mach 2 and operate at altitudes of up to 9.3 miles. The local army already "understands and calculates the threat" these machines pose, the report highlights.

The primary armament on these jets is a six-barreled M61 Vulcan 20 mm cannon. They can also be equipped with an assortment of different missiles (like the AIM-9 Sidewinder or AGM-65 Maverick), and bombs mounted on the weapon nodes on the lower part of the F-16s. We should note that the machines equipped with AGM-158 missiles, which have a range of approximately 249 miles, could potentially end up in Ukraine. This low-detection ammunition, which has been part of the Polish armed forces' equipment since 2009, is another valuable asset.

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