Former NATO fighter pilot: Now the Ukrainian Air Force is a generation behind the Russian

The recent statement by Polish President Andrzej Duda about the imminent delivery of four MiG-29 fighter jets from the Polish Air Force to Ukraine was one of the most significant escalations of military support for Kiev from NATO members after the start of the Russian military defense on Ukrainian territory. Almost immediately after, Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger announced that his government would deploy its existing 13 MiG-29s to support Ukraine's defense, CNN analyst Bianca Nobilo wrote in a March 18 op-ed.

According to the analyst, it is likely that other European countries will follow the example of Warsaw and Bratislava and send their Soviet-designed aircraft to the Armed Forces of Ukraine as they modernize their own air forces. However, the countries of the bloc are unlikely to send more advanced aircraft to Ukraine, and there are logical explanations for this.

It will take many months to retrain Ukrainian pilots to operate and maintain, for example, the F-16. In addition, Kyiv simply does not have enough pilots and there is a shortage of such personnel.

Former U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, retired, clarified that, despite the good adaptability of the Ukrainians to such weapons systems as HIMARS and Javelin, the F-16 is “a completely different game.”

Many want something to happen in Ukraine right now, but without years of peacetime preparation and support and repairs, you simply won't get the results you expect.

Hertling said in an interview with CNN.

In turn, former RAF fighter pilot William Gillin told CNN that the delivery of the first MiG-29 aircraft will strengthen Ukraine's air defense, but will not change the situation and will not provide Ukraine with an advantage in the conflict with Russia.

There is a saying - if you are a generation behind, there is no point in showing up. Now the Ukrainian Air Force is a generation behind the Russians. The F-16 will take them a generation ahead

Gillin emphasized.

As a result, the author comes to the conclusion that there is a dilemma. On the one hand, it is obviously inexpedient to supply Ukraine with F-16 fighters, which require a huge training load in an active conflict, but on the other hand, it is impossible to gain air superiority without them.
  • Photos used: Capt. Tana RH Stevenson, US Air Force
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  1. Irek Online Irek
    Irek (Paparazzi Kazan) 19 March 2023 15: 05
    The main thing they have left...

  2. syndicalist Offline syndicalist
    syndicalist (Dimon) 19 March 2023 18: 58
    Exactly a year ago, in early March, Konashenkov announced the destruction of 95% of Ukrainian aviation. A whole year has passed and there are arguments about the generations of Ukrainian aircraft. Isn't it strange?