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Commander: Ukraine to receive F-16s, 300-500 km missiles in future aid packages

Lt-Gen Serhii Naiev reveals future defense aid packages for Ukraine will include F-16s and missiles capable of striking targets up to 500 km away.
commander joint forces afu lieutenant general serhii naiev
The Commander of the Joint Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), Lieutenant-General, Serhii Naiev/ Source: ukrinform.ua

Lt-Gen Serhii Naiev, commander of the Joint Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF JF), said that Ukraine will receive more long-range weapons from its Western allies. Alongside the F-16 fighter jets, missiles with a range of 300-500 kilometers are expected to be delivered in the future, he said in an interview published on the UAF JF’s Facebook page.

In future military aid packages, Ukraine is expecting F-16 aircraft and missiles with a range of 300-500 kilometers, which will allow the Ukrainian Defense Forces to achieve even greater success on the battlefield and liberate our territory from the enemy,” said Naiev without specifying the particular weapons in question.

Game changers

Answering a question about game-changing weapons during the ongoing Russian invasion, Naiev highlighted several systems.

MANPADS and anti-tank weapons

During the initial month of Russia’s all-out war, supplied anti-tank missiles (NLAW, JAVELIN) and portable air defenses (STINGER, STARSTREAK, PIORUN) from allies were pivotal, according to the commander. Mobile anti-tank units ambushed enemy armor, affecting their supply lines, while air defense groups took down enemy aircraft, helicopters, and airborne forces, Naiev noted.

NATO artillery systems

With support from allies, Ukraine’s Armed Forces acquired superior Western artillery, including M777A1, FH70 howitzers, and CAESAR, AHS Krab, PzH-2000, M109 self-propelled guns. Coupled with counter-battery and surveillance drones, these systems neutralized Russia’s artillery edge and their “fire barrage” tactic, Naiev noted.

GMLRS rockets

The Joint Forces Commander highlighted that with the introduction of M142 HIMARS rocket systems in the summer of 2022, and subsequently the M270 MLRS rocket launchers, the Russian military experienced heightened losses in logistical support for its frontline units.

According to Naiev, this development forced the Russians to move their field depots and command centers more than 100 km away from the front lines, significantly extending the logistical supply chain for ammunition and materials, making troop management more challenging, diminishing offensive capabilities, and necessitating a shift to defensive tactics.

Anti-air systems

In the winter of 2022-2023, NASAMS, IRIS-T SLM, and GEPARD anti-aircraft systems were key in countering missile threats and defending against SHAHED-131/136 drones, elevating air defense success to 75-80%, Naiev says. Currently, enemy air attack interception rates can reach up to 100%.

The General also pointed out that the introduction of the PATRIOT air defense system to Ukraine’s arsenal in April 2023 significantly bolstered its missile shield, increasing the destruction range of aerodynamic targets to up to 150 km.

Indigenous drones

It’s worth highlighting two domestically developed weapon systems that are set to be included in military art textbooks,” Naiev said, implying maritime and FPV drones.

  • According to Naiev, the domestic Seababy unmanned naval strike drones have challenged the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s dominance, necessitating enhanced security for Russia’s bases and the Crimean Bridge.
  • Additionally, FPV drones present a cost-effective, yet potent option for engaging enemy forces and equipment, rivaling the effectiveness of anti-tank missiles and artillery, the commander said.

Our arsenal has been enhanced with modern weaponry – from drones to advanced air defense systems. Our army has rapidly become proficient in their use. I am confident that, at present, no country in the world possesses such a diverse array of weapons as Ukraine,” Naiev noted.

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