White House is playing for time with F-16 fighters
The Biden administration is repackaging arsenals for Ukraine
Uncle Sam is convincing himself that the famous American fighter jets are not needed by the Ukrainian Armed Forces and proposes to replace them with weapons that are more effective for the Ukrainian counteroffensive. Since the decision is almost made, it is worth examining closely.
Over the past few days, 10 White House and Pentagon spokespeople have been "playing for time" as to the delivery of the fighter jets. There are several arguments:
Providing Ukraine with new F-16s will take 3 to 6 years. The delivery of older versions will take 18-24 months. In general, it will take at least 18 months to train specialists of all levels to work with the 16th model, as it also involves training of technical personnel, supply of spare parts, and preparation of airfields. The Pentagon emphasizes that the costs of such aid will be enormous.
“Providing Ukraine with new F-16s will take 3 to 6 years. The delivery of older versions will take 18-24 months. In general, it will take at least 18 months to train specialists of all levels to work with the 16th model”
The Americans also say that airplanes are not among Kyiv's top three requests. At the Kyiv meeting between Biden and Zelenskyy, the following priorities were allegedly discussed:
- Air defense systems capable of shooting down Russian cruise missiles and Iranian drones;
- artillery and ammunition for it;
- armoured and mechanized systems (including tanks).
In some publications, I have seen commitments to provide Ukraine with medium-range missiles, as well as additional HIMARS with sufficient range. The Pentagon believes that this is a more urgent priority than aircraft.
If we are talking about the spring counteroffensive of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, then F-16s will not really "make it" by then. But I am convinced that the pro-Ukrainian coalition in NATO will not allow these deliveries to be extended for 1.5-3 years. Therefore, long-range missiles with short logistical deadlines are a good compromise.
“There is no need to talk about betrayal; we see a cold calculation. Given that the White House is not going to delay the date of Ukraine's victory, and Zelenskyy and Zaluzhnyi are taking a calm stance in the negotiation process, there is obviously no reason to worry now”
The United States is going to significantly "upgrade" the post-Soviet aviation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The US military is integrating advanced Western air-to-air missiles with Ukrainian MiGs. Some of the fighters are equipped with high-speed AGM-88B anti-radar missiles. The Pentagon also sent the Ukrainian Armed Forces so-called smart bombs. The "upgrade" was supposed to take place before the spring counteroffensive of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. That is, some of the F-16's standard weapons will still be hunting Russian soldiers.
Therefore, there is no need to talk about betrayal, we see a cold calculation. Given that the White House is not going to delay the date of Ukraine's victory, and Zelenskyy and Zaluzhnyi are taking a calm stance in the negotiation process, there is obviously no reason to worry at this time.
About the author. Orest Sohar, journalist, editor-in-chief of Obozrevatel
The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by blog authors.