US F-16s on Track to Escalate US/NATO War with Russia

July 11th, 2024 - by Tyler Durden / ZeroHedge

F-16 Fighter Jets Now On Their Way
To Ukraine, White House Says
Tyler Durden / ZeroHedge

(July 10, 2024) — American-made F-16 fighter jets are currently on their way to Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Wednesday during a NATO public forum of the alliance’s annual summit being hosted in Washington D.C. President Biden confirmed alongside European allies that “The transfer process for these F-16s is now under way.”

The program has been one year in the making, which has included training Ukrainian pilots at sites on US soil and in Europe. “Those jets will be flying in the skies of Ukraine this summer, to make sure that Ukraine can continue to effectively defend itself against the Russian aggression,” Blinken said further.

Additionally a joint statement from partner countries in the program, Denmark and The Netherlands, said specifics and details are being withheld for “operational security.”

The first of more than 60 American-made F-16 jet fighters are on their way to Ukraine and will be flying later this summer,” the allies said.

It was only in May that the first batch of pilots graduated from a US training program. Earlier reports disclosed that they are being trained at Air Forces bases in San Antonio, TX – and in Arizona.

The announcement which comes on the second day of the NATO summit strongly signals the alliance is digging its heels in and looking for a fight.

Monday saw one of the biggest Russian aerial attacks on Ukraine in months. The assault involved at least 40 missiles and Russia has been widely accused of attacking Kiev’s largest children’s hospital. Monday’s strikes killed dozens and injured more than 170 across the country.

The Kremlin has claimed, however, that it was a Ukrainian anti-air missile which fell on the hospital, and highlighted that it’s being used as a “provocation” close in time to world leaders gathering for the NATO summit.

As for the F-16s, Russia has repeatedly vowed that it will not only shoot them out of the skies, but might attack any external base near Ukraine’s borders hosting them.

For example, in March President Putin vowed while visiting a pilot training base, “We will destroy their warplanes just as we destroy their tanks, armored vehicles and other equipment, including multiple rocket launchers.”

A recent slip-up by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.:

“The fact that they’re now delivering F-16s, of course
it will create a future NATO
— sorry, Ukrainian Air Force —
that will be NATO interoperable.”

Significantly, Putin had upped the ante given he made clear that even bases in Western countries could be targeted if Ukraine flies sorties from them. “Of course, if they are used from airfields of third countries, they become a legitimate target for us, wherever they are located,” he had said.

Meanwhile, Ukraine plans to base at least some of the jets at allied bases outside its territory, on fears that the F-16s will be the first assets targeted by superior Russian aerial forces. Russia has effectively controlled the skies throughout the whole course of the conflict, and Kiev has a steep uphill battle if its hopes to regain control no matter how many Western-supplied jets it possesses.

Steven Starr — If NATO tries to fly F-16 combat missions out of Moldova, Romania, or Poland, Russia will hit the air bases they are flying out of. (Moldova has many hardened air hangers that the Soviets built during the Cold War; I think that is where many of the F-16s will be based.)

NATO will probably attempt to quickly fly the F-16s in and out of some Ukrainian airfields (“touch and go”) and then conduct combat missions against Russian forces. This provides the cover story that the planes were delivered to Ukraine and then conducted the combat mission. (Russia will track the incoming F-16s and could conceivably hit the air fields where they are attempting to land.)

Because F-16s require pristine landing strips (with NO debris on the strip), NATO may be hard pressed to find a surviving airfield in Ukraine that will work (F-16s have one large air intake that is very close to the ground and will suck up any debris on an airstrip, which will ruin the jet engine).

If the F-16s survive their combat missions, Russia will hit any air base in Ukraine that they return to. Following combat missions, if they try to fly the F-16s directly back to Moldova, Poland, or Romania, Russia will hit whatever bases they return to.