Ukraine could get DOZENS of ‘game-changing’ F-16s as Biden gives green light to hand over fighter jets | The Sun

US officials have the given the greenlight for Ukraine to get hold of “game-changing” F-16 fighter jets to use against Russia.

The White House is understood to have agreed they will not block their European allies from handing over the US-made warplanes.

F-16s have been at the top of Ukraine’s weapons wishlist – with Kyiv arguing they won’t be able to beat the Russians without modern planes.

Ukraine’s air force is currently reliant on aging Soviet-era jets that would struggle against Moscow’s more modern air force and air defences.

Some European nations have F-16s and are believed to be open to exporting them to Ukraine.

The move however was bound up in red tape as US officials however have to give the final sign off as they contain “sensitive” tech.

Washington opening the door paves the way for potentially dozens of the jets to be sent to Ukraine.

F-16s are fourth generation fighter planes – the second most advanced type used by the West.

Also known as the Fighting Falcon or Viper, the multi-role planes are the most popular fighter jet in the world – with nearly 4,500 deployed.

It is used the US along with nations such as Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, South Korea and Turkey.

The planes can hit speeds of Mach 2 – around 1,350mph – and can carry 17,000lbs worth of missiles and bombs.

Alongside their devastating 10mm Vulcan rotary cannons, the planes can be equipped with weapons such as Sidewinder and Maverick missiles as well as Paveway bombs.

Retired US Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton said the fighter planes will be a “game changer” for Ukraine.

“Its really versatile and can be used in many different ways,” he told CNN.

“And it’s also an aircraft that can potentially use its electronic jamming capability to go after some of the Russian radars.

“It’s a very important aircraft, it’s probably the best aircraft for all the different capabilities the Ukrainians could want, and its probably the only aircraft that has all those in one package.”

US President Joe Biden had been urged by US politicians to sign off the deployment of jets to Ukraine.

Washington however is believed to not be planning to send their own planes.

The issue is expected to be a subject of debate at the next Nato summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, in July.

Western nations are believed to be planning to train Ukrainian jet pilots on how to fly the 4th general fighter planes.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has been on a whistlestop international tour this week trying to drum up more weapons for Kyiv.

Zelensky said earlier this week after a meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak that Ukraine and the UK are “actively moving forward” on a plan to get the fighter planes.

Andriy Yermak, head of the office of the Ukrainian president, said: “We need F-16s.

“And I am grateful to our allies for their decision to work in this direction, including training our pilots.”

Russia has been launched missile barrages towarded Kyiv this week – which is pushing the capacity of their air defence.

It is understood Ukraine may have used a US-made Patriot defence missile to shoot down a Russian jet which was flying in Russia.

Ukraine argues it needs the jets to mainly help with air defence cover as Putin deploys weapons such as hypersonic Killjoy missiles against them.

And it comes as Kyiv is expected to launch a counter-offensive to dislodge the Russians across the frontline.

But it’s unclear if this operation will be enough to totally end the war and finally defeat Russia.

Much of the fighting continues to be focused around Bakhmut – with Ukraine claiming gains as they push back the Russian mercenary company, the Wagner Group.

Vlad and his generals had expected to steamroller Ukraine in days – but it became very obvious very quickly that was not going to happen.

Despite hurtling towards Kyiv in the first days of the invasion, they were thrown back and are now bogged down in the East.

And now the future of his Putin’s regime appears to be linked to the war’s success or failure.

Russia invaded Ukraine last February – claiming it would simply be a “special military operation” which would only last two weeks.

Now tens of thousands of Russians are lying dead in the fields across Ukraine.

The Tribulation is commencing..

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