Since the beginning ofSpecial Operation the Kiev Air Force suffered heavy casualties. It would seem that the Russians have managed to destroy, so far, 146 aircraft, (including Mig-29, Su-27, Su-25 and Su-24), 112 helicopters and 690 UAVs of various types, including those shot down in flight and destroyed ashore (data from the Moscow Ministry of Defense).
For the past two months, Washington has asked some NATO countries to deliver the fighter planes inherited from the Soviet period, in particular the MiG-29, to Ukraine. Poland and Slovakia are willing to make such a gesture ... but on condition that they can replace the "donated" aircraft: it is clear that such a solution would quickly strengthen the Ukrainian air force, given that they are already known machines.
However, Kiev wants other types of combat aircraft, possibly US-made.
“We need more fighter jets to fight our enemies in the air. The American F-16C / D, F-15C / E even F / A-18E / F aircraft would allow us to tip the scales on our side. We have a plan to retrain our pilots and technical staff as soon as possible. In order for us to master such devices quickly, a decision must be made now, before it is too late i ”, the Ukrainian Air Force said in a tweet, echoing a request made last week by General Serhii Drozdov, his former chief of staff.
Despite these needs, it seems rather unlikely to train Ukrainian pilots in a short time to fly and fight with Western aircraft. In fact, in May 2020, during the publication of his strategic plan in which he expressed the desire to modernize his fighter aviation according to Western standards, the military leaders of Kiev had estimated that they would have to carry out, for at least two years, "tests and operational assessments "in order to" study the forms and methods of use and the organization of personnel training "before the acquisition of new (perhaps American-made) combat aircraft.
So, despite raising the possibility of supplying F-16s to Ukraine, General Jeffrey L. Harrigian (photo), commander of the US Air Forces in Europe, estimated that this could not happen in the short term. "Collectively, we need to understand what Ukrainians are asking for and find a way to get it quickly."he told Air Force Magazine. But, adding that "It's not enough to give someone an F-16 and wish them luck".
Furthermore, it will be necessary to see how much more will remain of the Ukrainian Air Force.
Photo: US Air Force