F-16 maker approves delivery of fighters to Ukraine through EU countries

Lockheed Company Martin, which produces the US F-16 fighter jet, is ready to supply its aircraft to EU countries with re-export rights to Ukraine, the financial said. Times COO Frank St. John.

According to him, “there was a lot of talk about transferring the F-16s to a third party” so that he could send them to Ukraine. Whereas, Lockheed itself Does not participate in negotiations on the possible supply of military aircraft to Kyiv.

However, the company is “going to increase production of the F-16 in Greenville”. [Южная Каролина]Up to the point where we can effectively support any country that decides to transfer aircraft to a third party to help resolve an existing conflict,” St John said.

The European Union considers the proposed supply scheme as one of the options for providing military aviation to Kyiv, sources in the authorities said. According to him, American aircraft could be sent to former Warsaw Pact countries, which would then send their Soviet-built aircraft to Kyiv.

At the start of the war, Poland had already offered to transfer its MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine, but Warsaw requested supplies of F-16s to replenish the Polish Air Force. However, Washington recognized that this would escalate the conflict and abandoned the idea in early March 2022.

Last week, Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said his country would consider any option to send F-16s to Ukraine and that there was “no taboo” on the issue. At the same time, the Netherlands has about 40 F-16s, which they decided to abandon in favor of more advanced F-35s.

Seven other European NATO countries also have F-16 fighters, including Poland, Norway and Romania. However, the transfer of fighter jets has not been supported in the US and Germany yet. A Pentagon spokesman said, ‘At this time we have nothing to announce about the F-16.’

In turn, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz refused to send the plane to Ukraine. “I made it clear a long time ago that we will not send fighter jets,” he stressed, adding that this would not happen “now or in the future.”

After receiving tanks from the United States and European Union countries, Ukraine wants to seek supplies of American F-16s, Yuri Sak, an adviser to the country’s defense minister, said a day earlier. “The next big hurdle will be fighter jets. If we can get them, we will have a huge advantage on the battlefield. […] And it’s not just about the F-16: we need a fourth-generation aircraft,” Sack said in an interview with Reuters.

In the summer of 2022, the US Congress approved funding for the training of Ukrainian pilots on American combat aircraft. Also in the near future, the United States is going to write down 47 F-16 fighters and 48 F-15 fighters. So many fighters would make it possible to equip three or four Ukrainian squadrons.

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