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Air Force explained how many F-16s Ukraine needs to prevail over Russia

Sunday, 28 May 2023, 22:32
Air Force explained how many F-16s Ukraine needs to prevail over Russia

To prevail over Russians in the airspace on a specific front, Ukraine needs at least three or four squadrons, 12-16 units each, of F-16 fighter jets.

Source: Brigadier General Serhii Holubtsov, chief of aircraft of the Air Force Command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, in an interview with Donbas Realii (Realities), Radio Svoboda (Liberty) Project.

Quote: "If we understand that there are groups against us, let's say 50 squadrons and 39 airfields from which they perform tasks, of course, we would want more [aircraft – ed.]. But if it is at least three or four squadrons, I think that on a separate front, we will be able to gain an advantage in the air and force the enemy to abandon the attacks that they are currently carrying out in a certain area, in a certain zone of defence."


Details: At the same time, Holubtsov noted that "in order to plan an operation to destroy or launch strikes…at least about a squadron is needed, at least about 12-16 aircraft."

At the same time, the brigadier general said that "the enemy does not have advantages as such, tactical or operational, in the air due to the fact that Ukraine has received quite powerful assistance from partner countries: radar detection stations, surveillance, anti-aircraft missile systems, and everyone sees in practice how these complexes work and what percentage of targets are hit."

However, Russian Aerial Forces are currently armed with Su-35 and MiG-31BM aircraft, which are capable of launching long-range missiles, and Ukraine does not yet have such weapons.

"If only we had a platform that could use, for example, American AIM-120 air-to-air missiles – they have a range of about 180 kilometres – we would simply not allow them to approach the borders at a distance [close enough] to launching these missiles," Holubtsov said.

Answering the question of how difficult it will be to hide F-16 fighter jets on the territory of Ukraine so that Russian missiles and drones do not reach them, the representative of the Air Force Command said: "Just hiding the aircraft will not work. I think that here it will be necessary to look for a comprehensive approach, disguise and disperse, and move them from airfield to airfield. And the second approach is that it will still be necessary to use some of the anti-aircraft missile systems to cover these airfields."


  • Earlier, the Defence Ministry stated that a total of 48 F-16 fighter jets are essential for the liberation of Ukraine from the Russian invaders.
  • Previously, The Pentagon said it will not object to the transfer of American F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine by third countries.
  • Prime ministers of the UK and the Netherlands, on the sidelines of the Council of Europe summit in Reykjavík, agreed to promote the creation of an international coalition to strengthen Ukraine's air defence.
  • President Joe Biden's administration informed European allies that the United States will allow them to transfer the American F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.
  • Europe does not rule out the possibility that Ukraine may receive F-16 fighter jets as early as this autumn.

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