Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Europeans Step Up Sending Combat Jets To Ukraine


ANALYSIS – What about sending our retiring tank-busting jets? Even as U.S. support for endlessly arming Ukraine wavers (or maybe because of it), Europeans are stepping up their own efforts to support the embattled nation invaded by .

This is no clearer than in the continent's sending of advanced combat jets, and other aircraft.

France recently announced it will donate Mirage 2000 fighter jets to Kyiv and train their Ukrainian pilots as part of a new military cooperation with the country as it fights the Russian invasion. (RELATED: France To Deploy Military Trainers To Ukraine: Report)

The pledge came after allies, including Belgium, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands, committed to dispatching about 80 U.S.-made F-16 fighters to Ukraine.

The Mirage 2000-5, an upgraded version of the Mirage 2000 series, features improved radar systems and compatibility with advanced weaponry.

Dassault Aviation produced approximately 600 Mirage 2000 jets, with half of them exported to countries such as Greece, the UAE, and Taiwan.

The Mirage 2000-5 variant is equipped with the RDY radar by Thales, which can detect typical targets at a range of 80 miles and simultaneously track eight targets while engaging four of them. (RELATED: North Korea's Sinister New Mobile Hypersonic Weapon)

Meanwhile, the northern European countries noted above will supply the F-16 combat aircraft and provide training for pilots and support crew.

According to Janes, the Royal Norwegian Air Force has 57 F-16AM/BM Block 15 mid-life upgrade (MLU) aircraft in its inventory. Of these, 32 have been sold to Romania, while Norway could transfer 12 to Ukraine.

The Royal Danish Air Force maintains around 40 F-16AM/BM Block 15 MLU aircraft, including some in storage. At the same time, the Royal Netherlands Air Force has 24 F-16AMs updated to the same MLU standard, Janes reports.

The MLU standard allows the F-16s to carry -9 and AIM-120 air-to-air missiles, as well as the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM), as well as other air-to-surface munitions.

Team announced earlier that it would train Ukrainian pilots at air bases in and starting in September. (RELATED: Biden Sends New Long-Range Weapons To Ukraine)

It will take at least four months to train Ukraine's pilots on aircraft more advanced than what they are used to flying and on tactics and weapons they are not used to using. Teaching them enough English to understand training manuals and communicate with air traffic controllers and instructors could take longer.

This follows an announcement in May that Sweden is to provide two turboprop ASC 890 surveillance aircraft to Ukraine, seen as crucial for identifying incoming cruise missiles, drones and aircraft, as well as seaborne targets.

The planes are part of the largest military support package to date from the Nordic nation, worth a total of $1.3 billion.

The ASC 890 can spot threats hundreds of miles away and send the information via data link to the F-16 fighter jets that Ukraine will receive from allies. Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, said Sweden's latest package of assistance would be “critical to Ukraine's defense and resilience.” (RELATED: Ukraine Shoots Down 2 ‘High-Value' Russian Radar Planes)

Long ago, I recommended sending A-10 Thunderbolts to Ukraine. However, some earlier reports said that Ukraine wasn't interested in subsonic attack jets, affectionately called Warthogs, and designed for tank busting and close air support against Soviet forces during the Cold War.

Most of the U.S. Air Forces A-10s are being retired as we speak. (RELATED: Air Force Commander Affirms Support For ‘Demigender' People – Admits He Doesn't Know What That Is)

But in January, Ukraine's ground forces commander said it could use aircraft such as the A-10s to support infantry, as well as planes that could fire long-range cruise missiles, dismissing misguided concerns over their “survivability.”

Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi was reported as saying: “I would talk about A-10s as an option if they'll be given to us … this is not a new machine, but a reliable one that has proven itself in many wars, and which has a wide array of weapons for destroying land targets to help the infantry.”

He added: “It is for destroying land-based targets: tanks, artillery … everything that counters the infantry.”

Sirskyi also said that attack helicopters such as the AH-64 Apache and AH-1 Super Cobra, as well as the UH-60 Black Hawk, could also play an important role.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of American Liberty News.

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Paul Crespo
Paul Crespohttps://paulcrespo.com/
Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Liberty Defense News. As a Marine Corps officer, he led Marines, served aboard ships in the Pacific and jumped from helicopters and airplanes. He was also a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at U.S. embassies worldwide. He later ran for office, taught political science, wrote for a major newspaper and had his own radio show. A graduate of Georgetown, London and Cambridge universities, he brings decades of experience and insight to the issues that most threaten our American liberty – at home and from abroad.

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