Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

The first F-16 fighters are already “on the way” to Ukraine: what are their main characteristics

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jul10,2024

The first F-16 fighters are already

Many months have passed since the creation of the aviation coalition for Ukraine on July 10, 2024, it became known that the first F-16 fighters from Denmark and the Netherlands are already on their way to Ukraine.

What is the number of fighters in question – not yet known. However, at the Alliance summit, President Volodymyr Zelenskyi said that our country needs at least 128 American fighters.

What are the characteristics of F-16 fighters, what are they capable of and how can they help our country – read in the article 24 Channel.

Fighters -16 are in service with 24 countries of the world. As of 2009, 4,400 such aircraft were built.

In 2016, 2,500 Fighting Falcons were in service. The fighters are no longer built for the US Air Force, but are manufactured for export. F-16 aircraft began to enter service with the US Air Force in 1978.

The main characteristics of the F-16:

    • can accelerate to a maximum up to 2,178 kilometers per hour;
  • has a six-barreled aircraft cannon;
  • combat range is 1,800 kilometers;
  • < li>weighs almost 13 tons (together with two missiles on board);

  • can cover a distance of up to 4,220 kilometers;
  • wingspan – almost 9.5 meters.

F-16 – it is a mid-wing monoplane with an engine in the tail of the fuselage. The fuselage of the semi-monocoque type is all-metal with a single-keel tail.

Smooth conjugation of the wing and fuselage allows the fuselage to create additional lifting force at large angles of attack. 78.3% of the structure is made of aluminum alloys, 4.2% consists of titanium alloys, 4.2% – carbon fiber and 3.7% – steel.

To ensure ease of operation, the aircraft has 228 hatches and removable panels. The engine has an under-fuselage air intake.

The cabin is equipped with a regenerative air conditioning and supercharging system. The McDonnell-Douglas ACESII ejection seat provides for exiting the aircraft in the parking lot and in flight at a speed of 1,100 kilometers per hour at altitudes of up to 15,000 meters. Aircraft control system – electric remote with four-fold redundancy.

The distribution of the number of F-16 by modifications is as follows:

  • F-16A/B Block 1/5/10 – 600 units,
  • F-16A/B Block 15 – 983 units,
  • F-16A/B Block 20 – 150 units,
  • F-16C/D Block 25 (since 1984) – 244 units,
  • F-16C/D Block 30/32 – 733 units,
  • F-16C/D Block 40/42 – 615 units,
  • F-16C/D Block 50/52 – 830 units,
  • F-16C/D Block 50/52 Plus – about 300 units,
  • F-16E/F Block 60 – 80 units,
  • F-16V Block 70/72 – about 130 units have been ordered.

As “Military” wrote, during its lifetime, F-16s already in service received package modernization programs. They were called the Mid-Life Update (MLU).

The first package was developed in the early 1990s to bring the combat capabilities of the F-16A/B to the level of the F-16C/D Block 50/52 , primarily to improve the reliability and maintainability of aircraft.

The first buyers of this modernization kit were Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal. In the future, the list of countries modernizing their aircraft according to the various packages only expanded.

The initial modernization of the M3 tape included the integration of the Link-16, bombs with GPS correction GBU-30/32, the helmet-mounted display system, the modernization of the radar by installation of a new on-board computer.

The following upgrade packages became available in the future:

  • M4 tape – integration of AIM-9X and IRIS-T close combat air-to-air missiles, advanced Link-16, SNIPER sighting container and improvement of its capabilities, upgrading of the sighting system for HTS anti-radar missiles.
  • M5 tape – integration of AGM-154 JSOW tactical planing guided air bombs, EGBU-12 laser-guided air bombs, more resistant to GPS/INS interference, updated Link-16, additional communication and weapons systems.
  • M6 tape< /strong> – integration of new home-alien system, AIM-120D medium-range air-to-air missiles, GBU-39 precision air bombs, GBU-54 JDAM, updated Link-16, ground collision avoidance systems, improved BRU-69 pylons, upgrades certain communication and control systems.
  • M7 tape – integration of radar with AFAR AN/APG-83, latest modifications of AIM-120D, JASSM-ER, modernization of communication and control systems.

Most likely, Ukraine hopes to receive modern fighters as military aid. “Military” indicated the approximate cost of modernized F-16 in various countries of the world.

Greece – upgrade of 84 F-16 Block 30 and Block 50 units to F-16V Block 70/72 level, i.e. M7 tape package at a cost of $1.5 billion, i.e. about $18 million per unit.

Singapore &ndash ; 60 F-16C/D Block 52 and Advanced Block 52 units at $17 million per unit for the M7 tape upgrade package.

Romania – after receiving the last of the 17 F-16A/B Block 20 MLU M5.2Rs, they will all be upgraded to the M6XR level. For the modernization and logistical support of this fleet, the consent of the US government has already been received for 175 million dollars.

For comparison, the estimated cost of the new F-16V Block 70/72 aircraft (from the manufacturer) – 64 million dollars without taking into account weapons, personnel training and related costs.

Therefore, as “Military” notes, at the price of 20 – 30 million dollars can buy refurbished and modernized F-16A/B aircraft that are not up to the highest level, which are already about 35 years old.

F-16s have become effective against the cruise missiles with which Russia is mass attacking Ukraine, and can aim at more targets than they can hit. This was reported by Air Force Magazine.

The U.S. Air Force, together with Northrop Grumman, has completed a five-year process of upgrading 72 F-16 fighters for the U.S. National Guard with fifth-generation radars.

Thanks to the new radars, the fighters will be able to track more targets at longer ranges and with greater accuracy. .

The new active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars are based on radars Northrop Grumman has installed on the F-22 and F-35, according to the contractor.

The F-16's previous APG-68 fire control radar could track no more than two targets at a time, and with the new radar the pilot can “aiming at more targets than he can hit.”

The old radars also had “almost zero capability” against cruise missiles, which was “particularly troubling” given the proliferation of such missiles in recent years.

At the same time, these 72 F-16 fighters will not be the only ones in the US to receive fifth-generation radars &ndash ; in the coming years, hundreds more aircraft will receive a combined modernization package, which includes, in particular, the installation of AESA radars.

Tactical aviation of Ukraine now consists of 4 types of Soviet-made aircraft, because our state has not purchased combat aircraft since independence. We have Su-25, Su-24M front-line bombers, as well as Su-27 and MiG-29 fighters. The F-16 multipurpose fighter combines the functions of all four of these types. They can even be used as part of air defense.

The publication Yahoo News wrote that after a two-week training of two of our pilots at an American air base, the United States came to the conclusion that Ukrainian pilots can learn to fly F-16 fighters in four months.

After all, Ukrainian the pilots exceeded the stated expectations of the Pentagon. According to the publication, a number of NATO allies flying these fighters provided a document containing a detailed assessment conducted in late February and early March at Morris National Guard Base in Tucson, Arizona.

Earlier Defense Express wrote that the US Air Force described the training period on F-16 aircraft. Pilots who have already completed six months of training on the turboprop T-6 and seven months on the jet T-38 Talon, as well as 1.5-2 months of training on the AT-38, are admitted to the basic training course for future F-16 pilots. The latter, apparently, is already connected with the acquisition of skills in the use of weapons.

There is no longer any need for Ukrainian pilots to undergo full training on T-6 and T-38 training aircraft, because they are designed to acquire basic piloting skills in general. Therefore, it is immediately possible to switch to F-16 training.

F-16 training consists of 5 consecutive stages. At the first, during the month, exclusively academic training is held on the study of the main systems of the F-16 and emergency procedures.

Then the “transition phase” begins: flight simulator training, usually eight of them, which covers only the acquisition of skills in piloting and actions in emergency situations. This is followed by four sorties in a two-seater F-16D and the first single-seater in an F-16C.

Then 6 more sorties, including night and group flights, as well as a check, during which all piloting skills are tested. Only after that, the pilot will receive the status of being allowed to fly the F-16 in any weather conditions.

Combat training for the F-16 involves an “air-to-air” course: 26 sorties, with practicing the use of weapons, tactics of repeated combat at various distances, including close maneuvering.

The air-to-ground course: 26 sorties, with flights at ultra-low altitude, practicing with various weapons and acquiring tactical skills.

But the training does not end there, because there is also a separate monthly course on the destruction of enemy air defenses and it takes place exclusively on the F-16 Block 50, using the systems of the combat aircraft.

The total duration of the F-16 piloting course is nine months. And we are talking about the basic training of military pilots.

Azerbaijani Armed Forces officer, military analyst Agil Rustamadze in an interview H&nbsp ; expressed the opinion that under certain conditions, Ukraine could quite quickly deploy a squadron of F-16 fighters within three months on the basis of a civilian airport and within at least six – on the base of the military airfield.

First of all, he notes that the main obstacle to equipping the Air Force of the Armed Forces with modern aircraft – it is the lack of the necessary infrastructure, which “requires completely different airfields and technical means”.

Although the then Minister of Defense Oleksiy Reznikov informed in the summer that the problem with the airfield infrastructure of the Air Force of Ukraine, which is a certain obstacle in obtaining Western fighters, can be resolved.

Rustamadze believes that these planes can use the infrastructure of Poland to a limited extent, and in Ukraine – civilian airfields that can be re-equipped within 1 – 3 months.

“With restrictions, but it will be possible to use a civilian airport, for example, in Kyiv, to deploy a squadron and start using. A squadron of F-16, where each plane will take three missiles with a range of 250 kilometers – 36 planes take off, there are about 100 missiles with a range of 250 kilometers – and you get a very powerful shock fist”, – noted Rustamadze.

For military airfields, this term increases three times – its preparation will take at least 6 months.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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