F-16 challenges for Ukraine
August 31, 2023 - Europe could supply U.S.-made F-16 combat aircraft to Ukraine and provide training for pilots and support crew. Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway could supply up to 73 F-16 fighters.
Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gar Støre joined Denmark and the Netherlands last week during a meeting in Kyiv with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky.
“We plan to transfer Norwegian F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, and will provide further information on the transfer, quantity, and delivery time in due course,” Støre said.
According to Janes, the Royal Norwegian Air Force has 57 F-16AM/BM Block 15 mid-life upgrade (MLU) aircraft in its inventory. Of these, 32 have been sold to Romania, while Norway could transfer 12 to Ukraine.
The Royal Danish Air Force maintains around 40 F-16AM/BM Block 15 MLU aircraft, including some in storage. At the same time, the Royal Netherlands Air Force has 24 F-16AMs updated to the same MLU standard, Janes reports.
The MLU standard allows the F-16s to carry AIM-9 and AIM-120 air-to-air missiles, as well as the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM), as well as other air-to-surface munitions.
Last week, the Biden administration announced that it would train Ukrainian pilots at air bases in Texas and Arizona starting in September.
It will take at least four months to train Ukraine’s pilots on aircraft more advanced than what they are used to flying and on tactics and weapons they are not used to using. Teaching them enough English to understand training manuals and communicate with air traffic controllers and instructors could take longer.
- Ukraine conflict: Norway joins Denmark, Netherlands in pledging F-16s to Kyiv (Janes)
- The Object of Ukraine’s Desire: F-16’s From the West. But It’s Tricky. (New York Times)
- First 20 Ukrainian pilots to enter F-16 training in UK (Kiev Independent)
- Ukraine conflict – Analysis: Dutch and Danish F-16 options for Ukraine (Janes)