Written by Drago Bosnic, independent geopolitical and military analyst
After over 20 months of talk about various “game-changing NATO weapons” that would “drive Russia behind the Urals”, particularly the much-touted F-16 fighter jets, the Kiev regime doesn’t seem to be so enthusiastic anymore. Namely, the Neo-Nazi junta is now whining that the F-16s they’re supposed to be getting simply won’t make the cut against advanced Russian fighter jets. Thus, they’re already complaining about the need to modernize the US-made aircraft so it could stand a chance against Moscow’s platforms. The Kiev regime is particularly unhappy with the radar systems these F-16s will come with and is demanding they be upgraded before delivery, because they can’t even match the existing MiG-29s they’re supposed to replace (to say nothing of the higher-end Su-27s).
According to Oleksandra Ustinova, a prominent lobbyist for NATO arms deliveries and a member of the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament), discussions are ongoing regarding the modernization of F-16s that are slated for delivery to the Neo-Nazi junta. In an interview with the European Pravda, she emphasized the need for a better radar and more advanced missiles, as the ones that are supposed to be delivered are not up to the task. Ustinova confirmed that talks about applying the necessary upgrades are in progress, but refused to give more details. She complained about the acquisition process, calling it challenging due to communication issues with the Kiev regime’s NATO backers, particularly Washington DC, which, according to her, keeps 83% of the “aid” funds in the US.
“In addition, when we talk about the supply of weapons, 83% of the money allocated for weapons for Ukraine actually remains in America, because the state purchases these weapons from American manufacturers,” Ustinova said, later also adding: “After all, giving us aircraft with a radar range of 60 kilometers like a MiG does not make sense.”
While the exact type of F-16 fighter jets that the Neo-Nazi junta will get remains a secret, considering these claims, as well as the fact that one of the main donors is Norway which operated the F-16AM/BM Block 15 MLU (Mid-Life Upgrade), all of which were retired in 2022 in favor of the deeply troubled F-35, it’s safe to assume what sort of aircraft the Kiev regime will get. However, some of its over-enthusiastic military sources are claiming that the modernized aircraft would get the advanced AN/APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR). This is an advanced AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar based on the F-22’s AN/APG-77 and the F-35’s AN/APG-81. They believe that this advanced AESA radar is capable of fulfilling their requirements to face Russian jets.
The Neo-Nazi junta is hoping that the AN/APG-83 can even be paired with old F-16s that some of their military sources erroneously labeled as the Block 20 MLU. Still, only the less advanced F-16 Block 15 were outfitted with the MLU upgrade. As for the AN/APG-83, the financial aspect of such an advanced (and expensive) upgrade should certainly be taken into account. The US Air Force (USAF) is currently undergoing a major modernization program for over 600 of its F-16C/D Block 40/42 and 50/52 variants. How likely is the Pentagon to give the go-ahead for transferring such advanced radars to the Kiev regime when its own jets are yet to get them? Not very, I’d argue. However, even if it does happen, the Neo-Nazi junta surely won’t be happy to learn that this would further delay the delivery of F-16s.
The process of training Ukrainian pilots for some of the most basic variants of the US-made jet is already taking too long. Retraining them for a modernized version would take even longer and that’s without taking into account the time and resources needed to upgrade the existing F-16s slated for the Kiev regime forces. The acquisition process has been pushed back several times already and current estimates predict that the jets won’t be available before mid to late 2024. What’s more, there’s also the question of training the ground crews that are supposed to conduct maintenance, repairs and other logistics, further exacerbating the issue. However, the real pushback from the US might have the least to do with money, resources, deadlines or even having to undercut its own fleet for Kiev’s sake.
Namely, the real risk for the Pentagon comes from the possibility of Russia getting the chance to examine these advanced radars. With Russian jets such as the MiG-31BM, Su-35S and Su-57 in the skies over Ukraine and now even deadlier advanced SAM (surface-to-air missile) systems, the possibility of any other aircraft in the world surviving in such an environment is effectively zero. Moscow’s specialists could then locate any well-preserved wreckage and study its components, including the AN/APG-83. This would make it possible for Russia to design advanced countermeasures for its own jets and air defense systems, rendering these radars obsolete virtually overnight and making the USAF’s entire modernization effort a completely pointless waste of enormous resources.
This is without even considering the risk of a possible defection, as evidenced by a recent case with one Ukrainian pilot. There’s also the ever-present reputational damage for the US, as massive combat losses could easily disrupt or even prevent foreign sales. And the danger is not only in the sky, but on the ground as well. Long-range precision strikes with air-launched cruise missiles launched by strategic bombers/missile carriers such as the Tu-95MS and Tu-160 or ground-based ones such as the now legendary “Iskander” could easily destroy entire squadrons parked on runways. Other platforms, such as the MiG-31K/I and even Su-34M strike fighters could fire the 9-A-7660 “Kinzhal” hypersonic missiles and obliterate entire airbases with F-16s, their pilots and ground crews.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Two-Faced Mini-Sultan Gives Go-Ahead For Sweden’s NATO Bid In Return For $20 Billion F-16 Deal With US
- Kiev Regime Repurposing Airfields, Civilian Infrastructure For F-16s
- Kiev Can’t Get Enough F-16s Because Of… China And Argentina?