During his visit to Kyiv, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre confirmed the country’s plans to provide several F-16 fighter jets and to join the training of pilots.
According to the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, it could be five to ten aircraft.
“Norway supports Ukraine in building a modern air defence system. This is important and necessary. We have already decided to train Ukrainian fighter pilots and announced in the summer that we will provide two Norwegian F-16 fighters for training,” the Norwegian prime minister said at a press conference in Kyiv.
“We are planning to transfer Norwegian F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine and will provide further information on the transfer, quantity and delivery time in due course,” he added.
The Norwegian government also announced that the country will provide Ukraine with IRIS-T missiles.
Norway will transfer F-16s to Ukraine in cooperation with Denmark and the Netherlands
The Norwegian Prime Minister stressed that Oslo would transfer the F-16s in close cooperation with its allies, including Denmark and the Netherlands, which had previously announced the move.
Days earlier, Denmark and the Netherlands announced their decision to hand over the F16s to Ukraine when the training of Ukrainian pilots will be completed.
Ukrainian pilots have already begun training on F-16 fighters in Denmark. Greece and Portugal will also join the training of Ukrainians on F-16s.
Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre visited Kyiv on August 24, Ukraine’s Independence Day.
F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine: key facts
On May 21, US President Joe Biden approved training for Ukrainians on F-16s. Volodymyr Zelenskyy assured Ukraine would not use these aircraft to attack Russian territory.
On August 17, the United States approved the delivery of F-16 multi-role fighters to Ukraine.
At the same time, Denmark said it would supply Ukraine with 19 aircraft, provided they are not used in Russia. It is known that the first group of pilots has already started training on F-16s in Denmark.
F-16 fighter jet: technical characteristics?
The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single-engine light fighter developed by General Dynamics for the US Air Force.
Main technical characteristics of the F-16:
- length: 15.06 m;
- height: 4,88 м;
- wingspan: 9,96 м;
- empty weight: 8570 kg
- weight of the equipped: 12000 kg
- Maximum speed: 2410 km/h
- Top speed near the ground: 1470 km/h
- flight range: 4220 km
- Combat radius: 550 km
- crew: 1 person
The fighter is armed with a six-barrel General Electric M61-A-1 aircraft gun (6,000 rounds per minute, 511 rounds), up to six AIM-9L/M/P Sidewinder short-range guided missiles.
The fighter-bomber version can carry air-to-surface guided missiles, guided bombs with laser and optoelectronic guidance systems, and conventional Mk.82, Mk.83 and Mk.84 bombs. The F-16ADF can carry the AIM-7 Sparrow medium-range air-to-air missile. It is possible to use air-to-surface missiles AGM-65A/B/D Maverick.
Are F-16s better than MiG jets and SU bombers?
Russian propaganda media publish comparative tables of fighter jet performance, which suggest that Su aircraft are no worse than F-16s. However, these tables compare parameters such as size or speed, which could be more decisive.
The F16s are ahead of Russian fighters in many considerations. The smaller size of the F-16 is its advantage. In addition, American fighters have a better radar system. This means that the F-16 will “see” Russian Sukhoi and MiGs at a greater distance than they can.
The big difference between all Russian aircraft and the F-16 is that the F-16 is less visible to enemy radar systems and airborne radars because it has an effective reflective surface of only 1 square metre. In contrast, the MiG-29 has 29 square metres.
In other words, the F-16 is less visible. It also has an on-board radar that can see a hundred kilometres further than the enemy. And the missiles used by the F-16 are more long-range, flying 50-70 km further than the missiles of the same MiG-29, Ukrainian military analysts say.
Hetman says that a possible air battle between the MiG-29 and the F-16 would not have started because the F-16 would have seen the enemy aircraft earlier and destroyed it.
Why does Ukraine need F-16s?
The Ukrainian Air Force says Russian aviation currently has a numerical and technological advantage over Ukrainian aviation. Protecting the Armed Forces and civilians in the combat zone from enemy aircraft and helicopters will help save many lives.
Despite the effective operation of Ukrainian air defence, empowered with Western systems, it destroys about 75% of Russian cruise missiles and attack drones while the rest still hit targets.
Soon, F-16 fighter jets can eliminate air threats at the borders, preventing missiles and drones from reaching Ukrainian cities. Also, the F16s will allow Ukraine to counter Russian guided bombs effectively.