Antonina Dolomanzhi12:41, 04/29/23
The President stressed that the planes would greatly help, but Ukraine “won’t delay” the counteroffensive, but “would move forward.”
President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine will launch a counteroffensive without waiting for the provision of combat aircraft from partners.
Zelensky stated this in an interview with foreign media. In particular, answering the question of whether combat aircraft are crucial for Ukraine’s counteroffensive, the President said the following: “To be honest, it would help a lot … but we understand that we will not delay so much and we will start more before we have F-16s or anything.”
He stressed that the occupiers must be completely expelled from the Ukrainian territories, and only then the Russian Federation “will deal with its internal issues.”
“Reassure Russia that we still have a few months to start studying on airplanes, and then we’ll start. No, it won’t. We’ll start and move forward…” Zelensky stressed.
Aircraft for Ukraine
As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukraine continues to urge Western countries to transfer modern fighter jets to the Armed Forces of Ukraine to achieve superiority in the sky. However, now the United States and allies are focused on the supply of other types of weapons, including tanks , Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin noted following the results of the 11th Rammstein.
Numerous experts and the military confirm that it will be very difficult for Ukraine to launch a counteroffensive without air support.
There are also growing cases of occupiers dropping air bombs on front-line cities and villages, which are very difficult to shoot down from anti-aircraft installations.
Honestly I think it doesn’t matter much.
Even if they had F-16’s, they probably won’t be able to use them for CAS as the air defense is way too dense.
I do think Ukraine must get fighter jets, but mostly to ensure Russia cannot use their jets as well and to shoot down missiles to fill anti-air gaps.
Even Bayraktar drones cannot survive anymore, and they are much smaller than F-16’s and have a much smaller radar signature.
I think for close air support Ukraine will use long range artillery (I know this is not called CAS but it will perform a similar role) and small drones that will not appear on radar.
As Ukrainian vlogger Denys something reported, Russians are successfully taking out S-300 systems, which is a huge problem for the AFU. The 3-4 Patriots systems are not enough to fill the new gaps, they need waaaay more.
Therefore, I think fighter jets should priority, even though I don’t think it will matter much for the counter offensive.
An F-35 may survive in Crimean airspace, but a Mig-29 or F-16 most likely won’t.
Difficult to have an overview on this subject.
But I’ve read a lot of information that goes into your view, unfortunately. Moreover:
– If a decision is taken (give 4th generation aircraft like F16 to Ukraine) it need between 9-18 months to achieve the process according to the case
– At this moment, only two (I’m not sure the number) Ukrainian pilot have been evaluated on simulator (F16)
Specifically to the F35: “Pilots flying fighters such as the MiG-29 could successfully transition to an F-16, the dissonance of transitioning to the F-35 was insurmountable” (test pilot Billie Flynn)
The big question actually are the long range missile.
The problem is not pilots, there are probably enough retired NATO pilots that will volunteer, and I think an experienced MIG-29 pilot will probably be able to understand the basics of an F-16 in mere weeks or 1-2 months.
It is just that an F-16 is an extremely complicated machine requiring 17 hours of maintenance for 1 hour of flight and that is in peace time. And it assumes spotless airstrips which Ukraine doesn’t have.
For each pilot, you need dozens of officers that can maintain it.
A video by Ryan McBeth convinced me that it is really a hell of a job to keep a F-16 flying.
I am not saying Ukraine cannot do it, but I really think it will take quite some time even for giga-chads like Ukrainians to learn how to service them.
And I think one of the issues is that if you send some existing officers specialised in Russian aircraft to the U.S. for months of training, they are not serving MIG’s even though they are flying every day. That must be quite hard as well, considering the youngest airframe is 32 years old.
Since the west is unwilling to provide Fighters I think Ukraine would be better served using cheep long range drones. They have limitations but they more redily available form donations and domestic production. Additionally Ukraine should begin production of domestic missiles specially their Typhoon rocket artillery Neptune Anti ship missile addapted to ground attack and the Grom II Ballistic missile. if necessary contract foregin companys to produce componants that are not avialable in Ukraine.
lastly they need to begin a program of adapting their Soviet legacy fighters and bombers to western missiles. It will be expensive and difficult but until the the west comes to the inevitable conclusion that fighters are necessary it is their only option.
Dependancey on feckless western leadership is Ukraine greatest vunerablity.
I think long range drones are rather useless as they will be shot down easily.
There is a reason we are not seeing any Bayraktar footage anymore.
U.S. drones such as the MQ-9 are even larger and even easier to shoot down.
A huge fleet of small drones is I think way more effective and even cheaper.
If the US does give planes, the 32 Block 20 F-22s that the Air Force is asking to decommission after fiscal ’23 would be my choice.
They are considered too expensive to upgrade to the most modern systems and would never be used in combat by the US per the Air Force.