Ukraine needs 60 F-16s to stabilize the frontline


Ukraine requires at least 60 modern fighter jets to cover the entire front line, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said in an interview with Bloomberg on May 29.

According to Podolyak, air power remains one of Ukraine’s crucial needs, and while 100-120 aircraft would be the "optimal" number, considering the length of the front line and the intensity of ongoing fighting. He also confirmed that Ukrainian pilots are in the final stages of training to operate F-16 jets pledged by Kyiv’s international partners.

Previously, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Ukraine needed 120-130 F-16 fighters to counter Russia’s air dominance. According to him, Russia is using 300 aircraft in the Ukrainian campaign.

On May 28, Ukraine's Defense Minister Rustem Umerov stated that Ukraine expects partner countries to provide F-16 aircraft "very soon," but only a small number of them will be in the first batch.

Read also: Belgium's PM limits use of promised F-16s to Ukrainian territory

On the same day, Belgian PM Alexander De Croo stated that the F-16s Belgium will begin transferring to Ukraine in summer 2024 could only be used on Ukrainian territory.

In August 2023, the Netherlands and Denmark jointly pledged to transfer 61 U.S.-made F-16s to Ukraine, following approval from the United States. Norway and Belgium later joined the initiative, although their contributions won’t arrive in Ukraine until after 2024.

F-16 JET <span class="copyright">NV</span>

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