Military Aviation

US Navy EA-18G pilot explains why Ukraine should use F-16s just for SEAD missions and not for air-to-air missions

Brussels to provide Kyiv with 30 F-16s

Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib told the Belgian broadcaster RTL on May 28 that her country will supply Ukraine with 30 F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft by 2028.

She added that the tirst of these aircraft should arrive already “by the end of the year.”

On May 28 Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky will visit Belgium on May 28 to sign a bilateral security agreement. Lahbib said that the agreement on F-16 fighter jets will be signed on the same day.

As reported by The Kyiv Independent Belgium was among the first countries to join the coalition established in the summer of 2023 to bolster Ukraine’s Air Force. The initiative has been spearheaded by the US, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

Besides providing several F-16 fighter jets to Kyiv, Brussels will also help with the training for Ukrainian pilots in EU countries.

The Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway have also pledged to supply Ukraine with dozens of US-made fourth-generation jets.

In fact, the first batch of F-16s will be delivered to Ukraine this summer the Danish Defense Ministry announced earlier this year.

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Ukraine should use F-16s just for SEAD missions and not for air-to-air missions

But how could the Ukrainian Air Force use the F-16s?

Adam Daymude, former US Navy EA-18G Growler pilot, explains on Quora;

‘I’m really curious what kind of tactics they’re going to come up with. It will almost certainly not be our kick the door down and pounce on anything that even thinks about looking our way strategy.

‘If I’m them, screw A-A [air-to-air mission] …Patriot’s pretty much got that covered. Go after their SAMs…exclusively. Load these Vipers up in CJ configuration and go SAM hunting. Yeah, [Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses, SEAD] is a dangerous mission but think about the psychological effects. When holes begin to pop up in their air coverage, they’ll by necessity have to roll the mobile SAMs back to keep Putin safe in Moscow. If any of their fighters becomes a threat, they scram east and hope the Russians are dumb enough to follow them into a Patriot trap.’

Daymude concludes;

‘But that’s me quarterbacking from a few thousand miles away with about 1% of the intel I’d need. Good exercise to think about though.’

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Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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