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Media: Ukraine may receive first F-16 jets in June

by Martin Fornusek February 19, 2024 2:08 PM 2 min read
Norway's Minister of Defense, Bjørn Arild Gram, sits in the back of an F-16 aircraft at Bodø airport, Norway, where the final preparations are being made before two Norwegian F-16 aircraft are sent to Denmark to be used in the training of Ukrainian pilots on Jan. 3, 2024. (Jan Langhaug / NTB / AFP via Getty Images)
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Ukraine may receive its first F-16 fighter jets this June, the Foreign Policy magazine reported on Feb. 18, citing Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas and an unnamed European official.

"I think that in June we will see them in Ukraine," Anusauskas reportedly told the magazine, with the second official confirming the date.

The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and Belgium have pledged to supply Ukraine with dozens of U.S.-made fourth-generation jets, though the exact timeline has remained unclear thus far.

Ukraine's Air Force spokesperson Yurii Ihnat said on television he cannot confirm nor deny the June timeline.

"I can only confirm that the action plan is indeed being carried out. Our partners are ready to hand over the planes to Ukraine," Ihnat said.

The "fighter jet coalition's" support will also concern further maintenance and modernization of the aircraft, as well as financing of the process, he added.

According to Ihnat, Ukraine is already adapting its infrastructure to receive F-16s, although it is a complicated issue.

"Ideally, we would hide everything underground, as Iran does," or "build reinforced concrete storage facilities that would withstand ballistic missiles," Ihnat explained. Setting up air defenses to protect the planes against missile and drone attacks is also an important step, he noted.

While it would take years to prepare the infrastructure thoroughly, the goal of the adaption is to allow F-16s to operate from Ukrainian airfields and runways, Ihnat commented, stressing that the jets are needed "as soon as possible."

F-16s for Ukraine: When will they arrive and what can they do?
The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is an American air superiority fighter that Kyiv has begged for since the start of the full-scale invasion and is expected to finally start receiving this year. It’s a versatile workhorse of a jet that’s fought in dozens of wars and is
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