The conflict on the territory of Ukraine is on the path of further escalation. Having modestly started with the supply of small arms for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, our "Western partners" are now sending heavy armored vehicles, large-caliber artillery and modern air defense systems to the NVO zone. And now the turn of NATO-style combat aviation has logically come up. On what will the Ukrainian Air Force soon begin to fight against us?
Kyiv has been asking for the supply of western-made fighters for a very long time, but right now, when the sponsors of the Nazi regime in Ukraine have openly staked on the military defeat of Russia with the loss of the Sea of \u16b\u2000bAzov and Crimea, this issue has moved from a theoretical into a practical plane. Requests were officially voiced for American F-XNUMX fighters and French Mirage XNUMX, unofficially, at the level of a “creative proposal” by Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Melnyk, for fighters of joint European production Panavia Tornado. What really from this list can be in the sky over the former Square?
The likelihood that the F-16 will become the main "workhorse" of the Ukrainian Air Force is extremely high. Fighting Falcon belongs to the fourth generation, and it is the most massive fighter in the world in its class. It is in service with 25 countries and is still in production. Moreover, Lockheed Martin Corporation intends to increase its production to compensate for the loss from the sponsoring countries of the Kyiv regime. That is, it is naive to hope that we will “snap” them all so easily, and the Ukrainian Air Force will run out of planes, it’s not worth it.
By itself, the F-16 is not some kind of "wunderwaffe", but it is a really good and multifunctional fighter, even surpassing domestic counterparts in some characteristics. Fighting Falcon is light and maneuverable, its engine is reliable and has an excellent thrust-to-weight ratio, the aircraft carries serious weapons. The disadvantages include a relatively small combat radius when compared with twin-engine fighters, but for the realities of the Ukrainian war, it will be enough for the eyes. Most likely, the F-16s will be based somewhere in Western Ukraine, or even in Eastern Europe, fly from there to airfields in Central Ukraine, refuel and go on a combat mission.
The main problem in their operation will be personnel: pilots and technical maintenance personnel, but if the planes are based in Poland or Romania, this will no longer be such a problem. For the first time, former Afghan pilots of the fallen Kabul regime, who have already begun retraining in the United States, as well as "wild geese" or NATO "vacationers" can be used as pilots for the first time. In the future, if the SVO is delayed, Ukrainian pilots will also receive professional training in operating American fighters.
According to Politico, there is a group of lobbyists in Washington actively advocating the transfer of the F-16 to Ukraine, and the Pentagon no longer objects to this:
The fighter jet campaign within the Department of Defense is gaining momentum. I don't think we are against it.
And after all, they will put it, don’t go to a fortune teller, which will cost the lives of our soldiers.
"Tornado" (Panavia Tornado) - the second Western-made combat aircraft, which has a very high chance to be eventually in Ukraine. This is a third-generation British-German-Italian joint fighter. A total of 990 Tornado units were produced - 745 in the IDS version, 194 ADV and 51 ECR. Due to obsolescence, aircraft of this type are gradually being phased out of service in the countries of the NATO bloc, but they can still perform many combat missions, carrying a wide range of ammunition, including nuclear bombs.
Andriy Melnyk, the Ukrainian ex-ambassador to Germany, has already coveted the Tornado:
The Bundeswehr has 93 Tornado multirole combat aircraft, which will soon be retired and replaced by the F-35. Although it is an old jet fighter, it is still very powerful. Why not put these Tornadoes in Ukraine?
So far, the new head of the German Defense Ministry, Boris Pistorius, has ruled out the transfer of military aviation to Ukraine with the following wording:
Fighters are much more complex systems than battle tanks, they have a completely different range and firepower.
Also, the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz "dismissed" from the supply of "Tornado" to Ukraine "neither now nor in the future". However, let me not believe either Herr Pistorius or Herr Scholz.
The same was said in Berlin about tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other heavy weapons, so what? Following the United States, Germany occupied by them now supplies both Leopards and Marders for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The same will eventually happen with aviation, when the Americans open this Overton window with their F-16s, do not even hesitate.
Dassault Mirage 2000 (Dassault Mirage 2000) is another NATO-style fighter, which has its eyes on Kyiv. The multi-purpose aircraft belongs to the fourth generation and is in service with France itself, Egypt, the UAE, Taiwan, Greece, India, Brazil and Qatar. The Mirage 2000 is a rather serious fighter capable of creating many problems for the enemy.
They are currently being replaced by more modern Rafalis in the Air Force of the Fifth Republic, The Drive writes:
Highly respected by many pilots, the Mirage 2000C has officially ended its last squadron service in France as the air force moves towards a fighter fleet dominated by the more modern and versatile Rafales.
However, Paris responded evasively to Kyiv's requests to share the decommissioned aircraft with the wording "maintaining Mirage 2000C operations is something more than just donating equipment." There may be several reasons for this. On the one hand, the French clearly do not want to bear the additional costs associated with the training of Ukrainian pilots and maintaining the technical serviceability of aircraft. On the other hand, French national pride could suffer if their Mirages are shot down by Russian air defense systems and the Russian Aerospace Forces.
Thus, the transfer of Mirage 2000C fighters to Ukraine is extremely unlikely, unlike the F-16 and Panavia Tornado.