What characteristics of the F-16 will strengthen the Armed Forces of Ukraine if the Netherlands transfers them to Ukraine

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What characteristics of the F-16 will strengthen the Armed Forces of Ukraine if the Netherlands transfers them to Ukraine

Ukraine seeks to obtain modern fighters that should strengthen its air defense. Experts agree that the best option for Ukraine is American F-15 or F-16 aircraft. Kyiv has long been declaring its desire to receive F-16s, and now the Netherlands has declared its readiness to transfer fighters.

Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Goukstra said that the Dutch government will consider the possibility of supplying F-16 fighters, if Kyiv asks for it. He noted that the Netherlands has no taboos on the transfer of fighters.

Ukraine has long sought to obtain fighter jets, but the transfer of modern aircraft is complicated by several factors. In particular, logistics, or rather the lack of adapted runways in Ukraine, the time-consuming training of pilots, as well as the decision of allies.

If Ukraine can influence the first two factors and solves problems, it is more difficult to overcome the taboo of partners. There are fears in the West that the transfer of aircraft to Ukraine is still a red line that must not be crossed, otherwise the Kremlin will respond. However, these fears are lessened by the success of the Defense Forces.

Channel 24analyzed what characteristics the F-16 aircraft have, as well as how Ukraine can use them.

F-16 fighters are in service with 24 countries around the world. As of 2009, 4400 of these aircraft were built.

In 2016, 2,500 Fighting Felcons were in service. Fighters are no longer built for the US Air Force, but they are made for export. F-16 aircraft began to enter service with the US Air Force in 1978.

F-16 Fighting Falcon/Photo Military.com

F-16 is a mid-wing monoplane with an engine in the rear fuselage. The fuselage of semi-monocoque type is all-metal with a single-keel plumage.

Smooth pairing of the wing and fuselage allows the fuselage to create additional lift at high angles of attack. The structure is 78.3% aluminum alloy, 4.2% titanium alloy, 4.2% carbon fiber and 3.7% steel.

To ensure ease of operation, the aircraft has 228 hatches and removable panels. The engine has a fuselage air intake.

The cabin is equipped with a regenerative air conditioning and pressurization system. The McDonnell-Douglas ACESII ejection seat ensures the escape of the aircraft in the parking lot and in flight at a speed of 1,100 kilometers per hour at altitudes up to 15,000 meters. The aircraft control system is electrically remote with quadruple redundancy.

The distribution of the number of F-16s by modifications is as follows:

  • F-16A/B Block 1/5/10 – 600 units,
  • F-16A/B Block 15 – 983 units,
  • F-16A/B Block 20 – 150 units,
  • F-16C/D Block 25 (since 1984) – 244 units,
  • F-16C/D Block 30/32 – 733 units,
  • F-16C/D Block 40/42 – 615 units,
  • F-16C/D Block 50/52 – 830 units
  • F-16C/D Block 50/52 Plus – about 300 units
  • F-16E/F Block 60 – 80 units
  • F-16V Block 70/72 – about 130 ordered

As “Military” wrote, during their life, the F-16s already in service received package modernization programs. They were called the Mid-Life Update (MLU).

The first package was developed in the early 90s in order to bring the combat capabilities of the F-16A/B to the level of the F-16C/D Block 50/52, primarily to improve the reliability and maintainability of aircraft.

The first buyers of this upgrade kit were Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal. In the future, the list of countries that upgraded their aircraft according to different packages only expanded.

The initial upgrade of the M3 tape included the integration of Link-16, GBU-30/32 GPS-corrected bombs, a stunned display system, radar upgrades by installing new on-board computer.

F-16 Fighting Falcon/Photo Military.com

Further upgrade packages became available:

  • M4 tape– integration of AIM-9X and IRIS-T close combat air-to-air missiles, advanced Link-16, SNIPER targeting container and enhancement of its capabilities, upgrade of the targeting system for HTS anti-radar missiles.
  • M5 tape – integration of AGM-154 JSOW tactical gliding bombs, EGBU-12 laser-guided bombs, more resistant to GPS/INS jamming, updated Link-16, additional communication and weapons systems.
  • M6 tape– integration of the new “friend or foe” system, AIM-120D medium-range air-to-air missiles, GBU-39, GBU-54 JDAM precision bombs, updated Link-16, ground collision avoidance systems, improved BRU-69 pylons, updating of certain communication and control systems
  • M7 tape – integration of the radar with AN/APG-83 AFAR, latest modifications of AIM-120D, JASSM-ER, modernization of communication and control systems.

Most likely, Ukraine hopes to receive modern fighter jets as military aid. “Military” gave the estimated cost of modernized F-16s in different countries of the world.

Greece – modernization of 84 units of F-16 block 30 and block 50 to the level of F-16V Block 70/72, i.e. M7 tape package at a cost of $1.5 billion, i.e. about $18 million per unit.

Singapore – 60 units of F-16C/D Block 52 and Advanced Block 52 at a price of $17 million per unit for the M7 upgrade package tape.

Romania – after receiving the last of 17 F-16A/B Block 20 MLU M5.2R, they will all be upgraded to M6XR level. The US government has already received approval for $ 175 million for the modernization and logistical support of this fleet.

F-16 Fighting Falcon/Photo Military.com

For comparison the estimated cost of the new F-16V Block 70/72 aircraft (from the manufacturer) is $64 million, excluding weapons, personnel training and related costs.

As “Military” notes, at a price of 20 – 30 million dollars, you can buy refurbished and modernized not to the highest level F-16A/B aircraft, which are already about 35 years old.

As Defense Express writes, the US Air Force has described the terms of training on F-16 aircraft Pilots who have already completed six months of training on the T-6 turboprop and seven months on the T-38 Talon jet, as well as 1 ,5-2 month training on AT-38. The latter, apparently, is already connected with gaining skills in the use of weapons.

For Ukrainian pilots, there is no longer a need to undergo full-fledged training on T-6 and T-38 training aircraft, because they are designed to acquire basic piloting skills generally. Therefore, you can switch to F-16 training.

Training on the F-16 consists of 5 consecutive stages. In the first month, exclusively academic exercises are held to study the main systems of the F-16 and emergency procedures.

F-16 Fighting Falcon/Photo Military.com

Then the “transitional stage” begins: training on a flight simulator, usually eight of them, covering only the acquisition of piloting and emergency skills. After that, four sorties in a two-seater F-16D and the first solo flight in an F-16C.

Then 6 more flights, including night and group flights, as well as a control flight, during which all piloting skills are tested. Only after that the pilot will receive the status of an F-16 pilot in all weather conditions.

Combat training on the F-16 involves an air-to-air course: 26 sorties, with training in the use of weapons, tactics of re-combat on at different distances, including close maneuvering.

Air-to-ground course: 26 sorties, with flights at ultra-low altitude, testing various weapons and gaining tactical skills.

But the training does not end there, because there is also a separate monthly course on the destruction of enemy air defenses and it takes place exclusively on the F-16 Block 50, using the systems of an exclusively combat aircraft.

F-16 Fighting Falcon/Photo Military.com

The duration of the F-16 piloting course is nine months. And we are talking about the basic training of military pilots.

The course for Ukrainian pilots may be revised and shortened. But, as the speaker of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Yuriy Ignat said, even in this case it would be about six months.

F-16s have become effective against cruise missiles, which Russia massively attacks Ukraine, and can aim at more targets than they can hit. This was reported by Air Force Magazine.

The US Air Force and Northrop Grumman have completed a five-year process of upgrading 72 F-16 fighters for the US National Guard with fifth-generation radars.

With the new radars, fighter jets will be able to track more targets at longer ranges and with greater accuracy.

According to the contractor, the new electronically scanned active array (AESA) radars are based on the radars that Northrop Grumman installed on the F -22 and F-35.

The previous APG-68 F-16 fire control radar could track no more than two objects at a time, and with the new radar, the pilot can “aim at more targets than he can hit.”< /p>

F-16 Fighting Falcon/Photo by Military.com

Older radars also had “almost zero capability” against cruise missiles, which was “particularly worrying” given the proliferation of such missiles in recent years.< /p>

At the same time, these 72 F-16 fighters will not be the only ones in the US to receive fifth-generation radars – in the coming years, hundreds more aircraft will receive a combined upgrade package that includes the installation of AESA radars.< /p>

Azerbaijani Armed Forces officer, military analyst Agil Rustamadze, in an interview with NV expressed the opinion that, under certain conditions, Ukraine could quickly deploy an F-16 fighter squadron within three months on the basis of a civilian airport and for at least six months on the basis of a military airfield.

First of all, he notes that the main obstacle to equipping the Armed Forces of the Armed Forces with modern aircraft is the lack of the necessary infrastructure, which “requires completely different airfields and technical means.”

Although Defense Minister Alexei Reznikov informed in the summer that the problem with the airfield infrastructure Air Force of Ukraine, which is an obstacle in obtaining Western fighters, can be solved.

F-16 Fighting Falcon/Photo Military.com

Rustamadze believes that, to a limited extent, these aircraft can use the infrastructure of Poland, and in Ukraine, civilian airfields that can be retrained within 1-3 months.

“With restrictions, but it will be possible to use a civilian airport, for example, in Kyiv, to deploy F-16 squadron, where each aircraft will take three missiles with a range of 250 kilometers – 36 aircraft take off, there are about 100 missiles with a range of 250 kilometers – and you will get a very powerful shock fist, ” – Rustamadze noted.

For military airfields, this period is increased three times – it will take at least 6 months to prepare it.

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