Norway will donate 22 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine

Norway will hand over to Ukraine a total of 22 F-16 fighters, 12 of which are fully operational and another 10 aircraft that may be operational. The package also includes some airframes that may require significant overhauls, "Kiev Post" reports.

The donation will include engines, auxiliary materials, simulators, spare parts and other relevant equipment, according to articles in some of the media that reported the news.

Other reports say the planes will be a mix of single-seat fighter jets and two-seat fighter jets used for training.

In January 2022, the Norwegian Air Force retired its fleet of F-16 fighters manufactured by Lockheed Martin after 30 years of service.

Image: Darek Buczynski via Forsvaret

In 2023, Oslo sold 32 of its aging F-16s to the Romanian Air Force, and in late 2023, transferred two training aircraft to Denmark for Ukrainian pilots to practice combat missions there.

The fourth-generation aircraft, in production since the 1970s and operated by more than two dozen air forces worldwide, is by many measures the most popular and successful combat aircraft still in service today.

According to Norwegian media reports, the F-16 models that Ukraine will receive from Norway will be upgraded with 2000s-era electronics and sensors, making them technologically superior to any aircraft operated by the Ukrainian Air Force. and comparable to or better than most fighters operated by the Russian Air Force.

Photo: EPA-EFE / ALEXANDROS BELTES

The Kremlin's most advanced fighters – notably the Su-35 and Su-57 fighter jets – are equipped with radars and other sensors superior to the electronics of the F-16s that Ukraine is about to receive.

That advantage could give Russian pilots a powerful first-shot advantage in detecting and shooting down a Ukrainian pilot in an F-16.

The Russian Air Force, since the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine in 2022, has operated a small number of Su-35s in combat, almost always behind the front.

 

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