Like the many other Western weapons provided thus far, the F-16 is unlikely to be a magic bullet. “By themselves, I wouldn’t say they’re game-changing,” Tim Sweijs, director of research at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies commented on CNN.
“To be able to employ the F-16 effectively, Ukraine would have to achieve some degree of air superiority,” HCSS defence specialist Peter Wijninga added. “This means Ukraine would have to destroy Russian S-400 air defence systems first and foremost, and preferably S-300 too.”
Like all other decisions to send weapons to Ukraine, a tranche of F-16s would come down to the politics. “Political issues are the bigger problem, not logistical issues,” Wijninga said. F-16s would give Ukraine the capability, should it overcome air defences, to strike Russia with an American-made weapon far behind the frontlines, even outside of territory considered internationally to be Ukrainian.
“With an aircraft you can actually, as a matter of speaking, fly to Moscow and bomb the Kremlin. I don’t think the Ukrainians will do that, but there’s a risk involved,” Wijninga said. “And that may actually lead to an escalation that we are not really willing to accept.”
Read the full article by Mick Krever on CNN.