The Ukrainian Air Force denied that it was urging the West to deliver 24 F-16 fighters, saying that the negotiation process is not yet finished.
“Ukraine is in the negotiation phase about the aircraft. The type and number have not been decided,” Ukrainian air force spokesman Yuri Ignat said on January 28.
The statement came a day after Western media quoted Ignat as saying that the F-16 could be the best option to replace the Soviet-era fighter in Ukraine’s service today and Kiev is looking to buy two aircraft. group with a total of 24 aircraft.
The Ukrainian official said his words had been misinterpreted, noting that partner countries were not satisfied with public speculation. “We don’t make any announcements. Such statements have a very negative impact. Information is very sensitive and partners do not like frivolous statements published,” added spokesman Ignat.
Kiev has repeatedly expressed its desire to receive 4th generation Western fighters, including the F-16, saying that this type of weapon will bring great advantages on the battlefield. However, the United States and European countries have not yet transferred fighters to Ukraine due to concerns about the risk of escalation of hostilities, despite many times breaking barriers to aid in heavy weapons.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius on January 27 rejected the possibility of transferring fighters to Ukraine because this is a more complex weapon than a main tank, as well as having a completely different range and firepower.
US Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer said on January 26 that Washington would discuss the idea of fighter aid “very carefully” with Kiev and its allies. US officials have stated that the F-16 is a complex fighter, pilots need to learn to fly for months and require extensive maintenance, which is difficult to do in Ukraine during the war.
F-16 multi-role fighter, developed by General Dynamics in the 1970s, is in service with the US and many allied countries. F-16 can reach a maximum speed of 2,100 km / h at an altitude of 12,000 m, a ceiling of 18,000 m with a range of 546 km. The F-16 is equipped with a 6-barrel 20mm cannon, and 11 pylons that can carry up to 7.7 tons of weapons such as bombs and guided missiles.
Vu Anh (Theo Reuters)