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Air Force: Upcoming Ukrainian F-16s to successfully integrate with Soviet-era Mig-29 aircraft

Spokesman says the Ukrainian Air Force’s Soviet-made MiG-29 aircraft will be able to effectively cooperate with the soon-to-arrive F-16 aircraft, as experience with joint operations already exists.
Two US F-16 Fighting Falcons. Credit: the United States Air Force.
Air Force: Upcoming Ukrainian F-16s to successfully integrate with Soviet-era Mig-29 aircraft

As Ukraine anticipates the arrival of its first F-16 fighter jets, Illia Yevlash, spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, stated that the Soviet-made Ukrainian aircraft will effectively cooperate with the incoming F-16s, citing previous successful joint operations. He said this on the air of Ukrainian TV, Ukrinform reports.

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 reportedly have been delivered.

They will absolutely be able to. Earlier, there were training exercises in the 2000s, when F-16s flew to Ukraine together with our foreign partners, and during international exercises, they performed joint maneuvers with Su-27s and MiG-29s, and it was quite successful, quite effective,” Yevlash said.

He emphasized the importance of rearming Ukraine’s entire air fleet promptly for increased maintenance and operational efficiency. However, he acknowledged the current need to make do with the available resources.

According to previous reports, the Air Force has not disclosed the exact arrival date of the F-16 fighters in Ukraine. Public speculation suggests a June debut, but the Air Force is awaiting their official induction before confirming their active service status. Belgian PM Alexander de Croo said the F-16 jets with trained pilots are to be delivered to Ukraine by early summer. 

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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