US admiral: Ukraine will receive F-16 fighters as early as 2023

US Admiral James Stavridis in an interview talked about the need and time to deliver F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Air Force in the period after the spring of 2023 can significantly increase its combat strength through the old F-16 and MiG-29 fighters provided by NATO allies.

“The coming winter will reduce hostilities in Ukraine. Both sides will reorganize. Damaged weapons systems and equipment will be repaired. In early spring, the frozen ground will allow us heavy weapons. If on the ground Ukraine is doing well, then in the air Russia has an advantage.”

This brief analysis comes from retired Admiral James Stavridis – former commander of NATO forces in Europe, who emphasized that the US and NATO should advance the idea at the start of hostilities: supply MiG-29s to Ukraine. , as well as the transfer of surplus F-16 fighters from the US.

Poland is the first country ready to send MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine. Initially, this idea was approved by Washington, but then the Americans themselves withdrew the proposal and did not support Warsaw to speed up the delivery of the fighters.

Admiral Stavridis commented that the Ukrainian Army, although weak in the air, is quite strong on the ground. Weapons supplies from allies are reliably maintained. If at the beginning of the conflict the problem was lack of ammunition, now this no longer exists.

In addition, the former NATO commander also commented that the combat motivation of Russian soldiers is not something the Kremlin can rely on, in fact right after the mobilization order, many Russians leave their homeland because they do not want to fight.

Admiral Stavridis also devised a formula for land defense. He said that the reality of military tactics shows that Russia has to dominate with a ratio of 3 to 1 to penetrate Ukraine’s solid fortification system.

However, what is happening in the sky over Ukraine is completely different. Admiral Stavridis appreciated that the arsenal of the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) was not as much as their combat experience in Syria.

It should not be ignored that the new Russian general appointed to command the special military operation in Ukraine came from the VKS, so the tactics used will rely heavily on the strength of the air force.

The attacks on energy infrastructure carried out with a high-frequency show this point clearly. The former commander of NATO forces in Europe said that the Kremlin was taking steps to “break the spirit of resistance of the Ukrainian people”.

The US admiral also said that in recent decades, the Russian Air Force has focused on building a huge arsenal. When precision missiles run out, the Kremlin will still have a large stock of free-fall bombs that will be used.

Stavridis said that the scenario suggesting the use of such weapons is a signal for the West to pay more attention to Ukraine’s air defense system, which needs to provide Kyiv with modern interceptor missile complexes.

Adm. However, if the West is ready to provide air defense systems (NASAMS, IRIS-T…) then it is time to think about the delivery of fighter aircraft.

Mr. Stavridis said: “Without such actions, the war will be in Russia’s favor.” The admiral reiterated that Ukraine’s allies must accept the fact that Kyiv needs MiG-29 fighters as well as F. -16.

Once there is a supplier of the MiG-29, a partner will agree to transfer the F-16, and this will not disturb the air balance and the defense capabilities of the countries that support Ukraine.

The US admiral concluded: “With a ground war in Ukraine’s favor while the balance in the air is tilted in Russia’s favor, the best option for the West would be to significantly increase arms aid to help Ukraine dominate the skies. “.

Stavridis emphasized that, in his opinion, such negotiations will take place soon and the Ukrainian Air Force will most likely receive MiG-29 fighters as well as F-16s in the spring of next year.

This is entirely possible because currently many Ukrainian pilots have been trained directly on F-16 fighters under a military aid package worth $ 100 million provided by the US.

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