In a radical change in the American position, the administration of US President Joe Biden has hinted that it will not mind the European allies exporting F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, after weeks of Ukrainian insistence and pressure on the White House to provide these fighters. Ukraine, amid the intensification of Russian air strikes.
CNN quoted US officials as saying that the administration is ready to agree to export the aircraft to Ukraine if the European allies decide to supply Ukraine with these fighters.
John Kirby, the National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications, declined to comment specifically on the possibility of the United States sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, but told CNN that the United States was looking forward on “capabilities.” and future needs,” he said, adding that “the F-16 is not on the agenda” in the G7.
The Biden administration had been reluctant to send F-16 fighter jets to Kiev for a long time, fearing that technology related to these aircraft would leak into the wrong hands.
Senior Ukrainian officials have stepped up their campaign of public pressure for access to the American-made F-16s in recent months, arguing that they urgently need them to defend against Russian missile and drone attacks.
US lawmakers and congressional staffers have joined the pressure campaign, urging the administration to provide the planes so that Ukraine can assert control over its skies. And a group of lawmakers sent a letter to President Biden, Wednesday, urging “the transfer of F-16 aircraft to Ukraine to provide Kiev with the air support capabilities required to fully defend their country against the unjustified, illegal and brutal Russian invasion, and to achieve the territorial gains necessary to restore their country.” And the position changed. The US government gave the green light to a number of European countries that own American-made F16s by exporting them to Ukraine. In this case, the United States must agree to the transfer of sensitive American technology to aircraft by a third party.
It is possible that countries such as the Netherlands, which owns this type of American fighters, will export them to Ukraine. While Britain does not have the F-16 fighter jets, a spokesman for the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, made it clear earlier this week that the UK and the Netherlands are looking to form an “international coalition” not only to buy the planes for Ukraine, but also To train Ukrainian pilots for fourth generation fighters.
Last March, the United States trained Ukrainian pilots at a military base in Tucson, Arizona, to assess their skills using flight simulators and to assess the amount of time they needed to learn to fly various American military aircraft, including the F-16. CNN quoted officials as saying that there are no plans to provide such training on F-16 fighters at the present time, despite the allocation by Congress of funds in the 2023 budget for such training.
U.S. allies could conduct training for Ukrainian fighter pilots, or fighter jet manufacturer Lockheed Martin could conduct the training as a private contractor. But such an arrangement would need some level of American involvement, even if it did not require a formal U.S. signature like the transfer of U.S. weapons abroad. .