F-16 Transfer to Ukraine Delayed Another 6 Months

by | Jan 8, 2024

F-16 Transfer to Ukraine Delayed Another 6 Months

by | Jan 8, 2024

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The Western plan to transfer advanced American-made fighter jets to Ukraine has hit another delay and is now expected to reach the battlefield during the second quarter of this year. Washington has said it does not expect the warplanes to alter the course of the war. However, Russia views the F-16s as a national security threat as the aircraft are capable of carrying nuclear weapons. 

Danish newspaper Berlingske reported that the six F-16s Denmark was scheduled to transfer at the start of 2024 are being delayed by at least six months. The report was confirmed to Newsweek by the Danish Defense Ministry. The F-16 transfer is “now expected to happen during the second quarter of 2024,” while noting that “the timeline of the donation is subject to change,” the statement said. 

Colonel Yurii Ihnat, Spokesperson for the Ukrainian Air Force, recently explained that some of the pilots training on the F-16 are expected to complete the course this year, but it is possible for that instruction to stretch into 2025. “As far as Denmark is concerned, this is an advanced group. Both fighters and pilots will be the fastest from there. When will they be the fastest? Well, we are still counting on the spring.”

He explained that some pilots training in the US are expected to be prepared for the battlefield by late 2024. A third group of Ukrainians drilling on F-16s in the UK are not expected to complete the training until next year. 

After President Joe Biden gave approval for a NATO plan to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16s and then transfer the advanced aircraft to Ukraine in the Spring of 2023, officials in Kiev hoped the warplanes would arrive by the end of the year. The timeline has been pushed back several times. 

Last Summer, Spokesperson for the National Security Council, John Kirby, told Fox News that the F-16s will not alter the course of the war. “But it’s not our assessment that the F-16s alone would be enough to turn the tide here.” He continues, Kiev needs “the four As: artillery, ammunition, air defense and armor – tanks.”

Still, the Kremlin views the NATO plan to transfer F-16s to Ukraine as highly provocative. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov explained Moscow’s objection is based on the American-made warplane’s ability to carry nuclear weapons. 

About Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of Antiwar.com and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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