NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that the F-16 fighter jets, that the Ukrainian pilots are training to fly on, will boost Ukraine’s air defense and enhance their ability to inflict greater losses on the Russian invading troops. Stoltenberg said this at a press conference in Brussels.
“F-16s will change the situation for the better. They will strengthen Ukrainian capabilities to increase Russian losses. The F-16s will also help to strengthen Ukrainian air defense”.NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
At the same time, he emphasized that there is no single type of weapon that can dramatically change the situation on the battlefield.
“At the same time, we need to realize that this (F-16 – Ed.) is not a ‘silver bullet’. There is no single system that can fundamentally change the situation on the battlefield. It is a matter of using many capabilities that work simultaneously to push the Russians back. We have to prepare for a long and hard battle,” the NATO Secretary General added.
However, the NATO Secretary General emphasized that Western partners provide the Ukrainian Armed Forces with more military aid, and named the following:
- Germany pledged 8 billion euros for next year, and the Netherlands pledged over 2 billion.
- Romania has opened an F-16 training centre for Ukrainian pilots.
- Allies including the US and Finland are sending more air defences and ammunition.
- And 20 Allies have established an air defence coalition for Ukraine.
The Pentagon also pledged support with the F16 jets for Ukraine. Although the US will not provide Kyiv with the US-made fighter jets, Pentagon revealed how it will help Ukraine with F-16 aircraft.
In late October, the United States confirmed the start of Ukrainian flight training on F-16s. Earlier, the media reported that the European F-16 Training Center (EFTC) opened at the Fătesti Air Base in Romania to train Ukrainian pilots.
NATO countries Denmark and the Netherlands are leading an international coalition effort to train Ukrainian pilots and support staff, maintain aircraft, and supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets.
A fighter jet coalition of 11 NATO nations will help Ukrainians learn how to fly the F16s, with much of the training expected in Romania and Denmark.
Ukraine will receive F-16 fighter jets: in brief
In the summer, the United States officially approved re-exporting F-16 fighters to Ukraine. After that, the Netherlands and Denmark were the first to agree to provide 61 planes to Ukraine. Norway also agreed to provide Ukraine with the aircraft.
The Netherlands says that fighter jets’ delivery to Ukraine will likely begin in early 2024. Ukrainian pilots and engineers are currently undergoing retraining.
The Netherlands has sent 5 combat training F-16s to a training centre in Romania. Ukrainian pilots are starting their F16 training in Romania.
How will F-16 jets protect Ukraine?
Russia is increasingly using guided bombs against Ukrainian border towns. The planes do not fly close to the border and bomb civilians from a safe distance with impunity.
Ukrainian Armed Forces will only have a way to counter such tactics once they receive F-16 universal combat aircraft from the West.
Although they will not be a panacea for all Russian air attacks, they can close many gaps in the defence of Ukrainian skies. Ukraine insists that the main guarantee of safe skies is modern Western aircraft. The F-16 provision is a quick and effective solution.
The range of tasks that F-16 jets will perform in Ukraine is also quite wide. First, it will strengthen Ukraine’s air defence, as the F16 is an ideal hunter for Russian combat drones.
Secondly, the long-range missiles used on F-16s will help the Ukrainian Army to destroy Russian equipment and logistics. The war is far from over, and in early 2024, the renewed Ukrainian Air Force may surprise the Russians, ending their superiority in the air.