U.S. defense manufacturer Lockheed Martin is ready to supply F-16 fighter jets to countries that are willing for transfer their warplanes to Ukraine, Financial Times reported on Jan. 25.
According to Lockheed Martin’s COO Frank St. John, while the company does not participate directly in negotiations on the potential supply of jets to Ukraine, it was involved in numerous discussions with third parties who are considering making their stock of F-16s available to Kyiv.
According to him, Lockheed Martin plans to “ramp up production on F-16s in Greenville (South Carolina) to get to the place where we will be able to backfill pretty capably any countries that choose to do third party transfers to help with the current conflict.”
Any European country looking to supply Ukraine with its F-16s would need to get a re-export permit from Washington, first.
“Along with our international allies and partners, we are in regular communication with the Ukrainians on their needs and requests,” a U.S. defense official told FT.
“At this time, we have nothing to announce regarding F-16s.”
On Jan. 23, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said “the wheels are in motion” on Ukraine potentially getting Western fighter jets.