US Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall believes that the supply of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine will not be able to “fundamentally change” the balance of power in the Russian-Ukrainian military conflict. At the same time, in his opinion, the F-16 will provide “invaluable assistance” to the Ukrainian army.
“I believe that the delivery of F-16s will be an important addition to Ukraine’s potential and will help their military fight more effectively. However, I would not say that this will somehow fundamentally change the balance of power on the battlefield,” explained Mr. Kendall, speaking at the Washington Center in support of a new American security. The official called this “the opinion of various Pentagon representatives” and explained that he fully agrees with these assessments.
He stressed that the exact timing of the delivery of fighter jets to Ukraine will depend on how quickly Ukrainian pilots are trained to fly these aircraft, as well as on the “political decisions” of Western politicians.
On October 25, the US Air Force began training a small number of Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighter jets with the 162nd Wing of the Arizona Air National Guard. Former Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexei Reznikov suggested in August of this year that the country’s army would be able to use the F-16 no earlier than the spring of 2024. The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Belgium announced their readiness to transfer fighters.