Putin Says Western Bases Hosting Ukraine’s F-16s Would Be Legitimate Targets

Putin F-16

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Putin F-16
F-16 firing an AGM-88 HARM. Within the field, Vladimir Putin. (Picture credit score: The Aviationist, utilizing pictures within the Public Area)

Russia warns it might assault NATO bases probably used to launch Ukraine’s F-16s.

If the F-16s are delivered to Ukraine, Russia may additionally strike NATO bases from which the jets would launch. The menace was issued by Vladimir Putin throughout a gathering with a gaggle of pilots at Tver, northwest of Moscow. The Russian President mentioned an escalation might be provoked by the supply of the promised Preventing Falcon jets, for which coaching of Ukrainian pilots is underway.

“F-16s are able to carrying nuclear weapons, and we will even must take that under consideration whereas organizing our fight operations,” Putin mentioned.

“After all, if they’re used from bases in third nations, they might be a reputable goal for us, irrespective of the place they’re,” he added.

Nevertheless, the Kremlin believes not even the availability of those fighters will be capable to change the course of the battle, “We’ll destroy their warplanes simply as we destroy their tanks, armored autos and different gear, together with a number of rocket launchers”.

File photograph of Danish F-16s. (Picture: Danish MoD)

Ukraine has lengthy been asking its Western companions for the delivery of F-16s. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy mentioned final 12 months that a minimum of 42 F-16s had been promised (the quantity is just not identified, however in accordance with probably the most dependable sources, they need to be 60), with the primary deliveries anticipated by the Summer time of 2024. In the meantime, Ukrainian pilots, with completely different diploma of flying expertise, are at numerous phases of coaching, each within the U.S. and in Europe.

The supply of the F-16s received’t be a game-changer, contemplating the necessity to combine them within the Ukrainian Air Drive, the dearth of particular expertise of Ukrainian pilots on the kind and in view of Russia’s huge air pressure and complex air protection methods. The weapon system requires logistic help, infrastructure and weapons: it can take years earlier than the entire “ecosystem” that’s required to maintain efficient fight operations with the Preventing Falcon might be exploited at its finest.

F-16 Ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte stroll close to an F-16, in Eindhoven, Netherlands, August 20, 2023. (Picture credit: REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw)

Nevertheless, within the brief and mid time period, the “Viper” (because the F-16 is nicknamed within the pilot neighborhood) will likely be a fast improve from the present MiG-29s: the “new” jets will likely be used to detect, hunt and interact cruise missiles, helicopters, UAVs and Russian fighters, and to  conducting air strikes on Russian targets with stand-off missiles. The F-16s may also be used to fireside the AGM-88 HARM missiles (a kind that was not “natively” suitable with the Ukrainian fight plane however was built-in with the MiG-29 and Su-27) and JDAMs bombs in SEAD/DEAD (Suppression/Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses) missions which might be notably essential on the Ukrainian battlefield.

We’ll see.

MiG-29 AGM-88
A screenshot of the video shared by the Ukrainian Air Drive exhibiting the second an AGM-88 HARM is fired by a MiG-29.

David Cenciotti is a journalist based mostly in Rome, Italy. He’s the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of many world’s most well-known and browse navy aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for main worldwide magazines, together with Air Forces Month-to-month, Fight Plane, and plenty of others, overlaying aviation, protection, struggle, trade, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown a number of fight planes with completely different air forces. He’s a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Drive, a personal pilot and a graduate in Laptop Engineering. He has written 5 books and contributed to many extra ones.

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