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Part of the F-16s Transferred to Ukraine Will Be Kept at Foreign Bases for Security Reasons


Part of the F-16 fighter jets provided to Ukraine by Western allies will be stationed at foreign air bases to mitigate the risk of them becoming targets for Russian forces.

This was reported by Serhii Holubtsov, Chief of Aviation of the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, in an interview with Radio Svoboda.

“There are a certain number of aircraft that will be stored at secure air bases outside of Ukraine so that they are not targeted here. This will be our reserve in case of need for replacement of faulty planes during routine maintenance,” the Commander said.

This will be done so that there is always a certain number of aircraft in the operational inventory, which will correspond to the number of pilots Ukraine will have.

“ The more pilots there are, the more planes there are in Ukraine,” Holubtsov added.

The Ukrainian Commander stated that Ukraine has a certain number of airfields prepared for F-16, but their protection will be a real challenge. For such protection, there should be at least two batteries of Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems, and two batteries of NASAMS Surface-to-Air Missile System to cover the Patriots. Also, the airfields will be protected with Gepard-type anti-aircraft gun installations and passive protection: fences, and vehicles, so that no sabotage group can penetrate. All of the above is the minimum protection that is required.

To date, 4 countries have confirmed the provision of the F-16 aircraft: Belgium, Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands. Speaking about the number of transferred aircraft, Holubtsov clarified that it is about 30-40 fighter jets, but in the future, this number may increase, since “almost all countries that have F-16s are gradually substituting them with F-35s.”

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