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Does Ukraine need F-16s at this stage of war? Aviation expert Dolintse explains

21 April, 2024 Sunday
13:33

Aviation expert Bohdan Dolintse analyzes the F-16's limited capabilities in the context of Russia's saturated air defense system, highlighting potential improvements by increasing target acquisition and destruction range

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He said this on the Espreso TV channel.

"F-16s would definitely have a very significant impact if they were delivered during 2022 or the first half of 2023. At the same time, the Russians have already started preparing for the deployment of such aircraft, and in fact, as of today, it is unfortunately not possible to say that there will be any significant change in the course of hostilities at the front line. This is because the Russians have significantly reinforced their air defense systems, both on the front line and in the occupied territories of Ukraine. Still, it is quite difficult for the F-16 to utilize all its capabilities to the fullest extent effectively," Dolintse said.

According to the expert, Ukraine needs to receive more than a hundred such fighters for significant changes on the front line, not dozens.

"Of course, we will still notice some improvements. First of all, it is a change in the range at which Ukrainian aviation will be able to destroy the enemy, because those Soviet MiG-29s had limitations on the weapons that were used. That is, as a rule, the destruction of targets at a distance of 50 to 80 kilometers. If we are talking about the F-16, this is still an expansion of the range and capabilities of destroying the enemy at a distance, usually up to 140-160 km, precisely because of the more modern radar installed on this type of aircraft," Dolintse explained. - "The second important component is the use of longer-range air-to-air weapons, on the one hand. On the other hand, we have to understand that this aircraft also has a certain range of air-to-ground weapons, which means the ability to strike ground targets, but we can only talk about the extent to which these aircraft can be involved in supporting ground forces and destroying ground targets after the list and quantity of weapons of this type to be transferred to Ukraine is determined."

However, the aviation expert added that F-35 fighters would significantly change Ukrainian position at the front, but their provision is not yet under discussion.

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