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    Denmark Set to Enhance Ukraine’s Air Force with F-16 Fighter Jet Deliveries

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    421st Fighter Squadron Black Widow F-16 Fighting Falcon 88-0503” by TDelCoro is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    In a move set to transform the dynamics of the ongoing conflict in Eastern Europe, Denmark is on the verge of delivering the first batch of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

    This significant military support comes amidst intensified calls from Kyiv for enhanced air capabilities in the face of continued Russian aggression.

    93rd Fighter Squadron F-16” by Victor Manuel Leyva is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

    Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, speaking at a press conference alongside Nordic and German leaders in Stockholm, declared that the initial five US-made jets would reach Ukrainian skies “in the coming month.”

    This delivery is part of a broader commitment by a coalition of Kiev’s Western backers, which last year promised to supply Ukraine with F-16s and facilitate pilot training.

    An F-16 from the Vermont Air National Guard’s 158th Fighter Wing provides close air support to coalition forces supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt. Thomas Ireland)

    Denmark has pledged 19 of the coalition’s total promised 40 F-16 fighter jets, with another 24 slated to come from the Netherlands.

    A US Air Force (USAF) F-16C Fighting Falcon, 120th Fighter Squadron (FS), 140th Fighter Wing (FW), Colorado Air National Guard (COANG) disengages from a refueling boom (fuel port is still open) as it returns to Cold Wing Canada during the second Tiger Meet of the Americas. The Falcon is carrying an AIM-9 Sidewinder missile (left) and Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation (ACMI) pod under the wing and an Acceleration Monitor Assembly (AMA) pod on the wing tip. The Tiger Meet of the Americas, first ever held in Canada, inaugurated in 2001 in the Western Hemisphere to carry on the Tiger tradition of the long-established European original experience; promoting solidarity and operational understanding between NATO members. The Meet attracted 400 participants and over 20 aircraft, with at least 6 fighter jets painted in distinctive “Tiger” schemes. For a squadron to be invited, only one simple criterion required, the unit must have a Tiger or other big cat on their unit’s insignia or as a mascot.

    Frederiksen emphasized the need for Western nations to “donate” not just aircraft but also ammunition and air defense systems to Ukraine, highlighting a stark deficiency in Kyiv’s current military resources.

    169th Fighter Wing F-16 fighter jets evacuate ahead of Hurricane Ian landfall” by S.C. Air National Guard is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    Ukrainian forces have been battling against an advancing Russian front in the Donbass and Kharkov Region.

    Frederiksen pointed to the “lack of air defenses” as the primary cause of Ukrainian losses, positioning the conflict as the “top priority” for the EU and NATO and underscoring the gravity of “hybrid attacks and operations on the NATO soil.”

    F-16 FROM 122ND FIGHTER WING LANDS AT FWA 2” by rsteup is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Kajsa Ollongren, the Dutch Defense Minister, had previously mentioned that Denmark would spearhead the F-16 deliveries during the summer, with the Netherlands following in the latter half of the year.

    Hurricane Florence – SCANG evacuates F-16 fighter jets” by S.C. Air National Guard is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Ilya Evlash hinted at an even earlier timeline, suggesting the jets could arrive “after Easter,” which was observed on May 5.

    An F-16 Fighting Falcon with the 38th Fighter Group” by #PACOM is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    As for the Ukrainian pilots transitioning to the new jets, the experience has been likened to upgrading from an old Nokia to an iPhone.

    169th Fighter Wing F-16 fighter jets evacuate ahead of Hurricane Ian landfall” by S.C. Air National Guard is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    “Moonfish,” a Ukrainian pilot undergoing training at Skrysdtrup base in Denmark, described the F-16s as “awesome” yet challenging, particularly due to their complex electronic systems. He underscored the agility of the jets compared to the Soviet-made MiGs he previously operated.

    Hurricane Florence – SCANG evacuates F-16 fighter jets” by S.C. Air National Guard is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    Kyiv’s pursuit of the US-made jets underscores a strategic goal to enhance both defensive and offensive capacities.

    F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft’s, armed with AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, from the 35th Fighter Squadron, Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, return from a simulated battle in the Korea province during the 8th Fighter Wing’s Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI). The 8th Fighter Wing personnel are being evaluated on their wartime capabilities as well as their ability to survive and operate during their ORI.

    Although some senior Ukrainian military officials have expressed concerns that the jets may become obsolete due to Russia’s developing countermeasures, the deliveries signal continued Western commitment to Ukraine’s defense.

    F-16 Fighting Falcon 008” by AirmanMagazine is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

    With NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg affirming Ukraine’s right to hit “Russian military targets outside Ukraine,” in compliance with international law, the impending arrival of the F-16s could markedly increase Kyiv’s strike capability range. Yet, Moscow remains steadfast in its stance, asserting that Western arms supplies will not shift the ultimate outcome of the conflict but will merely serve to prolong it.

    Relevant articles:
    Danish PM reveals timeline for F-16 delivery to Ukraine , azərbaycan24, 05/14/2024
    A Ukraine pilot said flying ‘awesome’ F-16s is like upgrading from an old Nokia to an iPhone, Yahoo News Canada, 05/12/2024
    Ukraine to get its first F-16 jets in June-July, says Kyiv military source, Yahoo News Canada, 05/13/2024

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