Ukraine still has not received a solid offer for donated Western fighter jets to improve the capabilities of its air force. However, of the types available, it seems one has been consistently the forerunner, and understandably so — the F-16. This is primarily due to the type’s availability, ease of support and sprawling logistical infrastructure, the capacity to train its pilots to fly it, and its highly adaptable multi-role capability. But just how feasible is it to get pilots trained not just to fly, but also to fight in the F-16?
With a mountain of inaccurate claims and bold but hollow statements dominating this hot topic, we break down the harsh reality.
The need for speed
With the war in Ukraine nearly a year-long reality, there have been enduring calls to supply the Ukrainian Air Force with Western fighter jets. Ukraine’s brave fighter pilots continue to operate on a daily basis, coaxing results out of a small fleet of MiG-29 and Su-27 fighters, and Su-24 and Su-25 attack aircraft, sometimes with the novel employment of Western weapons such as the AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM). However, Russia maintains both a numerical and technical advantage in the air domain.