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Experts show how F-16 fighter jets would give Ukraine an advantage

Experts show how F-16 fighter jets would give Ukraine an advantage

Air defense experts say the US-made F-16 fighter jets would give Ukraine an advantage over the Russian air force, but only if combined with powerful missiles and targeting information that the West would have to provide. drawing him more actively into the war.

"It's not a panacea, not a game changer," said Konstantinos Zikidis, an aerospace engineer with the Hellenic Aerospace Industry who has extensive experience with the F-16.

Most NATO members in Europe have kept open the possibility of sending their F-16s to Ukraine, even though President Joe Biden said the United States would not.

"The Sukhoi-35 is bigger and faster and has a more powerful radar," Zikidis told Al Jazeera about the Russian fighter jet the F-16 would be up against.

But the F-16 could outrun the Sukhoi-35 if it carried powerful Western missiles and received tracking data from airborne radars, Zikidis said.

If Ukraine were to receive F-16s, they would likely come from Poland, which has said it is ready to surrender part of its fleet.

These carry the AIM-9X Sidewinder missile, a short-range infrared missile guided from 10-20 km undetectable by the target aircraft's defense systems, Zikidis said.

Both missiles are among NATO's most advanced.

Wing Commander Thanasis Papanikolaou, who has flown and commanded formations of F-16s, agrees that, if networked, the F-16 would offer Ukraine a clear advantage.

"The Russians are using older tactics, while Western tactics have evolved to use aircraft in combination with the navy, ground forces, [air] radar and naval intelligence - this type of Western warfare is very advanced," Papanikolaou said.

Source: AL Jazzera


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