F-16 resets Sukhoi fighters altitude and reduces aerial bombs range

The introduction of F-16 jets to Ukrainian pilots, who are actively receiving training and developing a preliminary understanding of the 4+ generation fighter, indeed generates expectations of imminent victory in the skies of Ukraine.

USAF new F-16 'dark grey' camouflage scheme goes mainstream
Photo credit: USAF

However, it’s important to recognize that no solitary weaponry serves as a “silver bullet” that can independently bring an end to conflict.

Moreover, it’s crucial to contemplate the volume of aircrafts available and the most pragmatic approach to their initial deployment.

Foremost, these jets, potentially amounting to an initial squadron of twelve, are expected to be commissioned for air defense, specifically for the interception of cruise missiles. Even a limited grouping, by American standards, will dramatically ease the burden on land-air defense systems.

Strategically deployed in Ukraine’s rear areas, this operation will safeguard Ukrainian pilots from encountering Russian aircrafts and anti-aircraft missiles, simultaneously enabling troupe personnel to hone their maintenance skills.

32 Romanian F-16s will receive TTP 'Friend and Foe' integration
Photo credit: RNAF

Subsequently, the Ukrainian Air Force will gradually transition to the front line, with a key objective of eliminating Russian air defense systems using the AGM-88 HARM. This approach will exponentially maximize missile efficiency when deployed via F-16s, posing severe restoration challenges for any adversary.

Despite a restricted fleet, this strategy could prove effective. An expansion coupled with the accrual of experience would enable Ukrainian F-16 pilots to deter Russia’s UMPK equipped glide bomb-using aircrafts, without fear of reprisal and consequently lowering efficiency by curtailing range.

US is taking into service the newest hunter of the Russian S-400s - AGM-88 HARM
Photo credit: Dzen.ru

The reduction in air defense systems, due to the AGM-88 HARM counterstrike, likely compels the Russian Armed Forces to employ multi-purpose fighters for air defense. Correspondingly, this would scale down the strikes targeted at ground units.

Extremely rare close-up photo of the FAB-500 bomb before it was used
Photo credit: Telegram

Furthermore, the F-16’s can leverage the JDAM-ER and GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb [SDB] for striking ground targets, in addition to air defenses. Contrastingly, use of cruise missiles remains uncertain as the U.S. has made no announcements regarding the potential transfer of the JASSM.

According to experts, “Will the F-16s win the war? No. Only ground victories and unacceptable Russian losses will force Putin to negotiate… However, a long-term commitment to maintaining a well-equipped and significant F-16 force will increase the likelihood of Ukraine’s success.”

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