While the US government has authorized Ukrainian pilots to train F-16 fighter jets, US military officials have stated that air defense systems are what Ukraine needs most.
Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a Pentagon briefing on the 24th (local time), “The F-16 will not act as a magic weapon on the battlefield in Ukraine.” It could cost a dollar,” he said.
“Russia has 1,000 4th generation fighters,” he said. So if you look at the cost curves and do the analysis, the smartest thing to do is to provide an integrated air defense to cover the battlespace and deter Russian incursions in the airspace.”
Earlier, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said, “It (the F-16) will help Ukraine in the long run, but it will not be a dramatic game changer.”
It takes time for the F-16 to be used on the battlefield, and maintenance costs are astronomical, so it may not be efficient. What Ukraine needs right now is an integrated air defense system that can shoot down Russian missiles and air planes.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at a briefing that the Netherlands and Denmark would lead European alliance F-16 fighter jet training for Ukrainian pilots.
Osteen said Norway, Belgium, Poland and Portugal had also committed to participating in training for Ukrainian pilots.
Earlier, the US diplomatic magazine Foreign Policy quoted a British government spokesperson as saying, “The first training will be conducted for about 20 Ukrainian pilots.” “The first step will be training in the UK.”
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden said at the G7 summit held in Hiroshima, Japan on the 19th that he would support training for Ukrainian pilots on fourth-generation fighters, including F-16 fighters. This includes the provision of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine by other allies.
Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.