Ukraine bolsters defense: adapting infrastructure to welcome advanced F-16 fighter jets

, 21:11, 19.02.2024
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Ukraine is adapting its infrastructure to accommodate advanced F-16 fighter jets, aiming to enhance its air defense capabilities. Reports suggest the first F-16s could arrive as early as this summer.

Ukraine bolsters defense: adapting infrastructure to welcome advanced F-16 fighter jets

Ukraine is adapting its infrastructure for the latest F-16 fighter jets, according to Air Force spokesman Yuri Ignat. He stated that the infrastructure must be protected against air defense systems, ballistic missiles, and drones. Politico reported, citing its own sources, that the first F-16s could be delivered to Ukraine as early as this summer.

Ukrainian military officials are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the advanced F-16 fighter jets, which could potentially shift the tide of battle in their favor. Discussions about these aircraft among partner countries have been ongoing for quite some time. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte mentioned progress in transferring F-16s to Ukraine during the Munich Security Conference. He stated that the Netherlands are striving to fulfill this task as quickly as possible, and everything is proceeding according to schedule.

Meanwhile, Ignat suggested that there might be 24 or more F-16s delivered.

Arrival of F-16 fighters: Ukraine's anticipation and preparation

Infrastructure adaptation for F-16s in Ukraine is a complex issue, according to Ignat, who emphasized that it takes years of preparation. He even expressed the sentiment that it would be ideal to bury the infrastructure underground, akin to Iran's approach, for ultimate protection against various threats.

Regarding the arrival timeline of the F-16s in Ukraine, Politico, citing its sources, suggested that the first fighters could arrive as early as this summer. Ignat neither confirmed nor denied this information but acknowledged that there is indeed a plan in progress, with partner countries ready to transfer the aircraft to Ukraine.

Furthermore, Ignat highlighted that it's not just about transferring the aircraft but also about their ongoing servicing, financing, and modernization, for which an international aviation coalition has been established to facilitate these processes simultaneously.

He expressed hope that in the near future, they could announce the term when the first F-16s will take to the skies and help defend Ukraine's borders.

Ukraine Prepares Infrastructure for F-16 Fighter Jets
What F-16s Will (and Won't) Do for Ukraine

Enhancing Ukraine's Defensive Arsenal

President Volodymyr Zelensky previously mentioned Ukraine's need for around 160 F-16 fighters to counter Russian dominance in the sky, emphasizing the necessity for a powerful air fleet solely for defensive purposes.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon, an American fourth-generation fighter jet, is highly capable and versatile. It boasts impressive specifications, including a maximum speed of 2,178 km/h, a flight range of 4,220 km, and a combat radius of 1,800 km. The F-16 can carry a variety of weaponry on its 11 hardpoints and is equipped for rapid target acquisition.

Despite challenges in estimating the exact cost due to various F-16 versions, its price typically ranges from $35 million to $55 million.

The aircraft's popularity is evident worldwide, with 24 countries currently operating it. The F-16 remains a crucial asset in modern air combat scenarios.



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