“We need to prepare for everything”: the expert explained how Ukraine can get effective results with the F-16

Krivolap noted that other countries, in peacetime, spent 1.5 to 3 years on all stages of preparation to switch to new aircraft.

Ukraine has had its F-16 delivery deadlines postponed several times / photo REUTERS

In order for Ukraine to have a truly effective result after receiving the F-16, it is necessary to protect its deployment sites and receive weapons that can be used by aircraft in addition to the fighters.

Aviation expert Konstantin Krivolap told how to protect the F-16s after they end up on the territory of Ukraine, how much time other countries spent preparing for the transition to a new type of aircraft, and what weapons are needed with the fighters.

Speaking on a national telethon, he noted that there are many ways to protect the locations of aircraft.

“The very first, reliable air defense that protects against ballistics. Because this concentration of 48 Russian Iskander complexes around our northern border, they are just like a threat. There may be a very quick strike and the planes will not have time to take off. Second , various fortifications of airfields – these are caponiers, closed boxes, underground storage facilities, etc. There are a lot of means and there is no doubt that special teams worked on this in terms of concept, plan, organization of resources. Because the Russians are targeting our airfields, despite that is, whether there are F-16s there or not yet. Just in case, they are bombing Starokonstantinov and Mirgorod. We must prepare for everything,” Krivolap emphasized.

Iran, in anticipation of the Su-35, “which the Russians apparently will never be able to deliver to them,” actually built an underground airfield.

“Where the plane flies in and takes off, and everything else is underground. The Iranians built this airfield for about three years and, as far as we know from satellite images, work is still ongoing there. But it’s difficult to say for sure, because it is a very closed country, so there is little information.” , he added.

The aviation expert noted that in peaceful conditions, some countries spent 1.5 years to switch to new types of aircraft, while others needed twice as much time to prepare.

“In general, other countries that switched to the F-16 or F-35, that is, to new types of aircraft, spent from 1.5 to 3 years on this. And this is the experience of our neighboring countries, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and the like. It took one and a half, two, two and a half and up to three years. The reasons were different, where it took three years, it was more likely organizational, technical and financial. But if they resisted, then it was from one and a half to two and a half years,” he emphasized.

Krivolap noted that there is now a lot of talk about the fact that the deadline for the provision of F-16s to Ukraine has been postponed several times, but this, on the contrary, helps us to better prepare.

“If we recall the chronology of events, then at the beginning, when we asked to close the sky and provide the F-16, there was an opinion that it would take two or three weeks and our pilots would already be flying the F-16. Maybe they would have flown, but that was “would, in my opinion, not be a very good event for us. We would even lose a very large number of pilots, because it takes longer to prepare for this. Training of technical personnel can also take even longer than training pilots,” he emphasized.

The aviation expert summarized that it is extremely important for Ukraine that the F-16 comes with weapons that fighter jets can use. These are radars that can detect Russian aircraft and long-range air-to-ground and air-to-air missiles.

“Radar 83, AMRAAM and JASSM missiles. And then everything will be fine,” Krivolap emphasized.

F-16 for Ukraine – details

On February 23, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky shared a video of how, in Denmark, Ukrainian pilots are learning how to fly F-16 multirole fighters, as well as Ukrainian aircraft technicians learning to maintain aircraft.

Earlier, the speaker of the Air Force of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Yuriy Ignat, emphasized that Ukraine is switching to the F-16 on an emergency basis, as no other country in the world has done. He noted that in the conditions of a full-scale war it is impossible to build capital infrastructure for F-16 aircraft, in accordance with all the requirements of NATO countries, but Ukrainian pilots are being retrained, the infrastructure is being adapted, the runway is being improved and temporary shelters are being made.

It is expected that around June 2024, the first F-16 fighter aircraft will appear in the Ukrainian skies. It is worth noting that Russia has deployed 48 launchers of the Iskander missile system along the border with Ukraine.

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