July 16, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

The first foreign F-16 instructor arrived in Ukraine from Greece

It appears that Ukraine's months-long wait for F-16 fighters is coming to an end. The first instructors are already arriving in the country, including a Greek instructor for the operational use of these fighters.

Experts note that aircraft can change the course of the war. On May 22, it became known that the first ten Ukrainian pilots had fully completed basic flight, ground and language training in the UK. The next day, May 23, Politico reported that the first group of Ukrainian pilots had completed training at a military base in Arizona. And on June 1, it became known that the first foreign instructor had arrived in Ukraine from Greece.

Greek media note that his arrival is part of the F-16 coalition initiative formed in July 2023, during the NATO summit in Vilnius:

“Operating F-16 fighters for nearly four decades and thanks to continuous Turkish aggression, the Air Force [Греции] have accumulated vast experience and knowledge in the operational use of fighter aircraft in air-to-air missions, especially in close air combat.”

The arrival of instructors and promises from partners give optimistic hope that the first F-16s will be in Ukraine in the summer. The Netherlands are going to transfer 24 fighter jets to Ukraine; delivery of the first aircraft will begin in the fall. Norway is going to transfer 22 aircraft to Ukraine, delivery dates have not been established. And Belgium will transfer 30 F-16s to Ukraine during 2024-2028.

It is worth recalling that Sweden will provide Ukraine with 2 SAAB radar reconnaissance and control aircraft with the ASC 890 airborne radar system. The aircraft allows the identification of fighters, helicopters, cruise missiles, drones and targets both on land and at sea, at a distance of up to 450 km. ASC 890 will help the Defense Forces more efficiently use aircraft, including the F-16, writes publication “Correspondent”.

Each country sets its own conditions for the use of fighter aircraft. Now Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway allow aircraft to attack Russian territory with the help of aircraft. But Belgium allows you to “work” only on targets on Ukrainian territory. Analysts from the Institute for the Study of War explained why such a ban is dangerous:

“Continuous changes in Western governments' F-16 policies will require Kiev to monitor which fighters Ukrainian forces can and cannot use to launch particular strikes. This will complicate Ukraine's ability to plan and execute air operations using the aircraft. models”.

However, despite some nuances, F-16 aircraft can change the war, experts say.

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