How soon will Ukraine be able to use its F-16s?

Featured in The Economist

F-16s for Ukraine


Over the weekend, Denmark and the Netherlands announced that they would begin sending F-16s to Ukraine as soon as the training of the first group of pilots to fly them is complete. ... Maintaining the jets will be a bigger challenge than training the pilots. Justin Bronk, an airpower expert at RUSI, a think-tank, thinks Ukraine will have to rely heavily on civilian contractors to supervise and train Ukrainian maintenance crews, perhaps for several years. Dispersed basing will be needed to avoid Russia destroying aircraft on the ground. ... Mr Bronk questions where such contractors will come from, when European air forces are urgently retraining their people on the F-35s. He also worries that the money to service the F-16s will eat away at America's "presidential drawdown authority" - the finite funds that Joe Biden, America's president, can send to Ukraine without congressional approval - at the expense of other critical weapons.