Thursday, June 13, 2024

Anybody Doubted It?

I, honestly, didn't. 

But almost a year later, and only weeks before the next NATO summit, in Washington, those F-16s have yet to arrive. In fact, despite a commitment that those planes will start reaching Ukraine by the end of this summer, issues with their delivery are becoming clearer — from the number of pilots who will be able to fly them to crews ready to keep them working. The training pipeline on the F-16s is pretty meager,” said a senior U.S. defense official, speaking with reporters on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly. F-16s hold the promise to firm up Ukraine’s self-defense. The fighters would bring its air force closer to NATO-style tactics and systems, making it easier to work with the alliance overall. And they could lengthen Ukraine’s range at a moment when other countries are dropping restrictions on what targets its military can choose.

Now, they lament:

The Netherlands and Denmark are leading that effort, though other states like Norway and Belgium are also involved. The number of planes committed this year totals around 60, and Ukraine should start receiving those by the end of the summer.  That said, there have been multiple kinks in the process to deliver them, and make sure they’re useful. The first is training. Between Europe and the U.S. there are only a dozen or so Ukrainian pilots learning to fly the planes right now, said the American defense official. “That’s just a handful of pilots, and that’s just the pilots,” the official said. Almost as crucial are the other members of the crew, such as maintainers, who keep the plane working. Brown made a similar point in the interview, saying that Ukraine will only be able to use as many planes as it has crews. Training at Morris Air National Guard Base in Tucson, Arizona began last fall, and the first round of Ukrainian pilots graduated only weeks ago in late May. But finding spots for new ones has been difficult. There’s a small pool of Ukrainian pilots eligible for the training, which requires deep experience, and there’s already a queue of non-Ukrainian pilots in line as well.

Now, let me explain what "NATO tactics and systems" are: it is flying in AD permissive (sometimes absent altogether), EW permissive (or absent altogether) environments, and in absence of any opposing air force. That's tactics and systems. Some simulation of US F-22, F-35 and such of aerial combat in Syria against Russian Su-35s and Su-30SMs is just the boys playing their games. No modern US pilot ever had, let alone has any experience in flying in real aerial combat environment, especially in the circumstances when most comms in NATO tactical air-groups will be jammed, there will be no GPS and most of NATO groups including their E-8C Joint Stars will be either shot down or jammed. Why do I concentrate on that? Because, which it is obvious now, due to well-known issues with "training" of 404 pilots the only option for manning those F-16s will be... drum place NATO pilots in those F-16s cockpits. 

For any NATO pilot who didn't get drunk on Top Gun: Maverick advanced air combat course, or still believes Senator Mark Kelly that Russians "cannot fly formation", acquaintance with R-37 AAM or with S-350 or S-400 could be a real life changing experience. Literally. US pilots have about zero real BVR combat, Russians do it all the time and R 15 million is a damn good sum of money. In fact, Russians operate the only 5th generation fighters which fly into real combat pretty much regularly. But, as I warned Nima today, when speaking to him (the video should be posted tomorrow or the next day), US media are readying themselves to disseminate another crock o' shit such as "Ghost of NATO", who flies undetected F-16 and shot down all Russian Su-57s, numbering now by different estimates between 22 to 26 aircraft, a regiment really. Mark my words--that's coming. Here is documentary for ya...

This is exactly how real modern air combat looks like./s

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