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Ukraine to protect future F-16 fleet by dispersing it in underground bunkers

Ukraine is set to protect its future F-16 fleet using strategic underground bunkers and dispersal tactics, complicating Russian efforts to locate these aircraft. This approach includes significant investments in infrastructure.
A Danish Air Force F-16BM combat trainer aircraft during a training flight. Photo via mil.in.ua
Ukraine to protect future F-16 fleet by dispersing it in underground bunkers

Ukraine’s Air Force and Ilia Yevlash explained that Ukraine will protect F-16s using underground bunkers and other methods to safely deploy them across various runways, making detection by Russians difficult through deceptive tactics. He said it on national TV, according to Liga.

After the United States approved last fall, countries including the Netherlands, Denmark, and Romania are helping train Ukrainian F-16 pilots to counter Russia’s air superiority. Currently, twelve Ukrainian pilots are being trained in Denmark, Britain, and the US, and are expected to be combat-ready this summer. However, upon their return, only about six of the promised 45 F-16s from European allies may have been delivered, as per media reports.

Yevlash said there are a number of approaches to safely deploying F-16s in Ukraine so that they can effectively perform tasks and protect the country’s airspace.

This is a huge investment. We are talking about underground storage facilities and bunkers. Therefore, we are now developing methods for how exactly they can be deployed,” the Air Force spokesman said.

The strategy is to distribute the aircraft across different types of runways, making it challenging for the Russians to detect the F-16s. Specifically, a variety of methods will be employed to deceive the occupiers, Yevlash said.

Ukraine seeks F-16 fighter jets to counter Russia’s air superiority at the frontline, where Russian aircraft maintain an edge with longer-range capabilities despite Ukraine’s dense air defenses. The United States approved the transfer of F-16s from Denmark and the Netherlands last August, pending completion of pilot training. Training of Ukrainian pilots and ground personnel is ongoing, and Ukraine has yet to operate any F-16s.

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