The arrival of F16 planes in Ukraine: a decisive turning point in the war?

Since the beginning of the war, Ukraine has been requesting fighter jets to strengthen its army. This demand is about to be fulfilled with the imminent arrival of the first F16 jets. President Zelensky has stated that these aircraft will help improve the country’s air defense in the coming weeks.

Before February 2022, Ukraine had approximately 120 operational aircraft. However, it has lost about a hundred since the hostilities began. A coalition formed at the NATO summit in Vilnius now plans to deliver these long-awaited aircraft.

Here is what is planned:

  • Netherlands: 24 F16 jets
  • Norway: 22 F16 jets
  • Denmark: 19 F16 jets
  • Belgium: around thirty by 2028.

These new aircraft could potentially change the course of the conflict by restoring Ukrainian air superiority against Russia and causing significant damage to enemy forces.

To maximize this advantage, it is crucial that everything is coordinated. Ukrainians are already successfully targeting Russian defense systems with multiple recent strikes. They also continue to request permission from Western countries, especially the United States, to use long-range weapons against Russian air bases.

However, a challenge remains: the shortage of qualified pilots. Many have been killed or injured during combat. To address this, about forty young men are currently being trained in the United States and Europe to pilot these new aircraft.

Recently in Washington, according to Politico, fifteen Democrats have asked the U.S. Department of Defense to expedite this training so that enough pilots are ready when the F16 jets finally arrive in Ukraine.

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