The Air Force of Ukraine warned of a new threat from Russia and explained why modern multipurpose jet fighters can be an effective countermeasure against Russian aircraft.
Source: Mykola Oleshchuk, Commander of the Air Force of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, on Telegram; Yurii Ihnat, Spokesman for the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, during the national joint 24/7 newscast
Details: Ihnat reminded that recently the Russians have been actively using FAB-500 high-explosive aerial bombs [500 kg – ed.], which are being converted into cruise bombs to be used with impunity, from a distance that is unreachable for Ukrainian air defence. Moreover, the day before, information appeared in Russian media space that Sergei Shoigu, Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation, was inspecting the plant where a production line for the creation of such bombs has been launched.
It indicates the date – 2023, and that Russians plan to manufacture one-and-a-half-ton bombs. According to Ihnat, obviously, they will also be equipped with wings and GPS navigation.
According to representatives of the Air Force, modern fighter jets such as the F-16 can become a powerful means of countermeasures [keeping Russian aircraft at a distance that does not allow the use of such aerial bombs – ed].
Lieutenant General Oleschuk gives other arguments in favour of these aircraft.
"The most effective countermeasure against the use of guided aerial bombs
Increasingly, Russia is using guided aerial bombs weighing 500 kg along the entire front line. There are signs of preparation for the mass use of 1,500 kg KABs [Russian precision guided weapon – ed.]!
The aircraft of the Russians do not enter the zone of damage of our air defence, striking remotely at the front line and near-frontline cities. Civilians in the northern, southern, and eastern oblasts are suffering.
The F-16 is armed with air-to-air missiles with a range of up to 180 km. This will make it possible to drive enemy aircraft away from our borders and the line of combat, which will minimise the likelihood of using guided aerial bombs and other air-based weapons.
The best protection of rear areas
On average, our [Ukraine's] air defence destroys about 75% of cruise missiles and attack drones. But 25% still reach their targets!
Civilians die, and infrastructure is destroyed. F-16s can effectively destroy these air threats even at the borders, preventing missiles and drones from reaching our cities.
The advantage in the air is the reliable cover of the front line
Russian aircraft outnumber Ukrainian by many times, and most importantly, the occupiers have a technological advantage.
The Air Force does not have enough forces and assets, both ground and air, to effectively protect airspace, troops on the front lines and civilians in the front-line zone from the daily terror of enemy attack aircraft and helicopters.
F-16 will allow gaining air supremacy, significantly weakening the enemy, and saving many lives every day.
A powerful strike back
The wide range of modern high-precision weapons of the F-16 will allow for high-precision strikes on Russian troops during counter-offensive actions. It is necessary to stop the offensive actions of the enemy, to gain superiority in the air, and to destroy the means of supply of equipment, ammunition, and manpower of the enemy. F-16 will be able to perform these tasks!
Control of the sea
The Black Sea is still under the control of the Russian fleet. F-16s are armed with powerful anti-ship missiles that can easily drive the entire enemy fleet either to ports or to the bottom of the sea. Ukraine needs to ensure freedom of navigation and protection of grain corridors.
Pilots are hostages of old technologies
The available equipment and armament of Soviet aircraft turned all the missions of our pilots into mortally dangerous ones, which caused irreparable losses of the best sons of Ukraine.
Only modern technologies will make their work effective and safe. Our pilots are trained and motivated to learn. And they are enough to fight and study at the same time. Our pilots dream of F-16s, they deserve to fly on the best planes!
Serviceability, spare parts
Ukraine uses 40-year-old aircraft. Some planes are twice as old as their pilots! It becomes more and more difficult to maintain their serviceability every day. Own stocks of spare parts are running low, and allies do not have those either.
Many issues are closed through the so-called "cannibalization", but this cannot last forever. You can't wait until all aircraft stop completely. Thanks to the transfer of aircraft from Slovakia and Poland, it will be possible to restore the MiG-29 aircraft fleet of several air brigades to a certain extent and strengthen the capabilities of fighter aircraft to perform current combat missions. However, to achieve superiority in the air, to win, we need modern aircraft!
Stockpiles of ammunition
Stocks of even outdated and ineffective Soviet ammunition for the existing aircraft fleet are steadily decreasing. Even with a sufficient number of serviceable planes and trained pilots, at a certain point, our Air Forces will be left without weapons. Switching to the F-16 or another Western platform with a wide range of modern weapons is the only way out!"