Modern F-16 fighters without an appropriate set of weapons will not help the Armed Forces of Ukraine destroy the enemy more effectively than Soviet MiG-29s. Therefore, it is not only a matter of the number of aircraft that Ukraine can receive.
This was emphasized in his post on the Telegram channel by military and political expert Oleksandr Kovalenko.
According to him, the basic armament of the F-16 is short- and medium-range air-to-air missiles, modifications of the AIM-9.
At the same time, it is unclear whether the fighters will be equipped with modifications of AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, which are capable of destroying targets at a distance of up to 100 km and more than 100 km.
"They will allow us to fight against Russian aviation, for example, Su-34 front-line bombers, which drop KABs tens of kilometers from the line of contact," the expert said.
It is also unknown whether the F-16 will have AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon tactical guided bombs in its arsenal, depending on the modification with a range of 100 to 500 km, which would allow the Russians to seize the initiative to use KABs.
"Will AGM-158 JASSM cruise missiles, which are very similar in their characteristics to Storm Shadow and Scalp EG, be transferred to us? Will Ukrainian F-16s be armed with AGM-119 anti-ship missiles that can hit surface targets at a distance of up to 55 km or more?" asks Oleksandr Kovalenko rhetorically.
Also, according to the expert, an equally important question is whether the long-range radar detection aircraft of our partners will help our F-16s to guide all these long-range weapons to targets.
"Without aircraft of the AEW&C type, or as they are known in our country AWACS, by analogy with the most famous reconnaissance aircraft Boeing E-3 Sentry, the effectiveness of the F-16 decreases significantly, to the level, again, of the average MiG-29," the expert said.
Oleksandr Kovalenko reminded that, in addition to the number of F-16s, the availability of a sufficient number of pilots, personnel, infrastructure and airfields adapted to receive these fighters remains important issues.
"There simply cannot be an answer to the question 'How many F-16 fighters does the Armed Forces of Ukraine need to change the course of the war?' without knowing the answer to all of the above points," the expert summed up.
Earlier, Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ignat commented on the statements of critics who say that American F-16 fighters will not affect the course of the war.