Is Ukraine ready to supply F-16 jets?


The Ukrainian armed forces have succeeded in stabilizing the front in recent days, but not alone. The Ukrainians can kill the Russians repeatedly.

What a strike: the most recent pinpricks were aimed at the “eyes” of Russia: radar systems and related anti-aircraft systems. “NZZ” first reported on it.

According to journalist Mark Grudov of the US-funded Radio Free Europe, a Russian radar complex was also destroyed. In his post you see traces of a large fire where there used to be an expensive and difficult to replace radar.

Goal of Ukraine

According to NZZ, there have been at least a dozen significant attacks on Russian radar systems since April 20, half of them in the past week. Although not all attacks were successful, Russia generally suffered heavy losses.

Mauro Gili is an expert in military technology and international security at the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zurich. He confirms that Ukrainian attacks on Russian radar systems have now escalated. On the one hand, there are large, fixed radar systems, on the other hand, there are smaller, more mobile long-range radars, which are often installed in the modern Russian S-400 air defense system.

A Ukrainian drone hits the warning system of the Russian nuclear missile

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FILE PHOTO: Firefighters battle a fire after reports of an explosion at a fuel depot in Voronezh, Russia, about 460 kilometers (285 miles) south of Moscow, Saturday, June 24, 2023.

Archive image/Andrey Arksipov via AP

According to unofficial reports, a Ukrainian drone strike a week ago damaged the radar of Russia’s warning system against incoming nuclear missiles. Photos of the damage to the facility near the southern Russian city of Armavir appeared on Russian and Ukrainian channels, the US Institute for the Study of War (ISW) later wrote in its report. Situation report. Former Russian ex-NATO ambassador Dmitry Rogozin spoke from Moscow. In X, he warned that such attacks would bring the world closer to the brink of nuclear war.

A Ukrainian official familiar with the matter told Ansa news agency last week that Russia is using radars to monitor Ukrainian military activities, especially the aerial use of drones and missiles in Kiev. The official confirmed that GUR, Ukraine’s military intelligence service, was responsible for the attack.

As Pavel Bodvik, a nuclear weapons expert at the UN Institute for Disarmament Research, recently explained to the German “Spiegel”, the Armavir station is of little importance to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Using radar to detect Ukrainian drones or aircraft is difficult. The radar has limited use for ballistic missile reconnaissance in parts of southern Ukraine.

According to the military expert, the large radar systems have multiple purposes: “for example, to show that Russia will not attack with nuclear weapons, to remove Russia from the front of its air defense systems and to show Russia its vulnerability.”

When smaller systems are shot down, Russian air defenses must be weakened; And the goal is to blind them to increase the effectiveness of attacks. According to Gilley, this has “a major impact on the front end”.

Is the F-16 ready for delivery?

But is it possible that the Ukrainians are preparing for the immediate delivery of fighter jets to the West with attacks on Russian radar systems? Ultimately, a total of 95 F-16 fighter jets were promised to Ukraine. First come, first come, soon.

As SRF Ukraine correspondent Judith Huber says, the Ukrainian media is right. One goal of the attacks on Russian radar systems is to reduce the ability of Russian forces to detect and shoot down the F-16 fighter jets that the Ukrainians are eagerly awaiting. That is why, according to an article by the Kyiv Post, the main targets of Ukrainians at the moment are the major Russian air defense systems and at the same time the technicians who operate them.

More attacks on radar systems?

According to reports from “NZZ”, all attacks on Russian radar systems in the occupied territories were carried out by Western weapons, Atacms missiles equipped with cluster munitions or British-French Storm-Shadow cruise missiles.

Ukraine recently received permission to use US offensive weapons on Russian territory – so far only in the Kharkov region – and German self-propelled howitzers 2000 and Mars II missiles against anti-aircraft and radar systems. It remains to be seen in the coming weeks whether Ukrainian resistance will continue or expand following the decisions by Washington and Berlin.