Ukraine urgently needs modern Western aircraft, says aviation chief

20 March, 02:42 PM
F-16 (Photo:South Korean Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS)

F-16 (Photo:South Korean Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS)

Ukraine urgently needs modern Western aircraft, Ukrainian Air Force Aviation Chief General Serhii Holubtsov said in an interview with UK newspaper The Times on March 19.

"My best pilots are dying while we wait for F-16 fighter jets," Holubtsov said.

Holubtsov said that effective air cover for advancing NATO-supplied armor, such as British Challenger 2 and German Leopard 2 tanks, would prevent unnecessary loss of life.

Fighter jets would have to replace Ukraine’s air defense systems because “the territory of Ukraine is so huge, it is impossible to effectively cover Ukraine’s vast territory,” he said.

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While the United States does not object to other countries transferring fighter jets to Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden has ruled out sending its jets, saying that Ukraine "doesn't need F-16s right now."

The Pentagon has assessed that the minimum time needed to transfer oldF-16s is about 18 months, while producing new ones could take between three and six years.

Ukraine hopes to receive several types of fighter jets from its allies, with one model becoming the mainstay for the Ukrainian Air Force.

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