Russia is concerned about future delivery of Western fighter jets to Ukraine - British intelligence
Russia has accelerated integrating its A-50 AEW&C and SA-21 air defense missile systems due to fears of Western warplanes in Ukraine
The UK Ministry of Defense reported the information.
Russia has likely begun using the A-50 MAINSTAY D aircraft for the first time to detect targets over Ukraine for its SA-21 long-range ground-based air defense missile system. This complements the A-50's core mission of coordinating fighter aircraft.
Compared to the usual SA-21 ground-based radar, the MAINSTAY can use its radar to detect enemy aircraft at longer ranges because its altitude allows it to see further around the curvature of the earth.
"Russia has likely accelerated integrating MAINSTAY and SA-21 partially because it is concerned about the prospect of Ukraine deploying Western-provided combat aircraft. There is a realistic possibility that Russia will accept more risk by flying MAINSTAY closer to the front line in order to effectively carry out its new role," the intelligence service says.
F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine: what is known
On May 21, US President Joe Biden approved the training of Ukrainians on F-16s. Volodymyr Zelenskyy assured that Ukraine would not use these aircraft to strike at Russian territory.
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says that the first F-16 fighter jets are likely to fly in Ukraine's skies by the end of March 2024.
On May 25, at a meeting in the Ramstein format, it was announced that the coalition to train the Ukrainian Armed Forces with F-16s would be led by Denmark and the Netherlands and would include four other countries: Norway, Belgium, Portugal, and Poland.
On September 15, Belgium joined the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16s. The Belgian Ministry of Defense had previously said it would not provide Ukraine with F-16 fighters, but later the government suggested that several F-16s might be delivered to Ukraine next year. In 2024, the Netherlands plans to provide Ukraine with the first batch of F-16 fighters.
On October 11, Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen said that the country would be able to deliver the first F-16s to Ukraine in March-April 2024.
On October 12, it was reported that the Netherlands will send F-16s to Romania, where Ukrainian pilots will begin training in a few weeks.
On October 26, Ukrainian pilots began flight training on F-16 fighter jets at an air base in Arizona, USA.
On November 1, the Pentagon said that the training in Arizona could last from 5 to 9 months.
On November 7, five Dutch F-16 fighters arrived in Romania, where a training center for Ukrainian and Romanian pilots will soon open.