“From air bases in Poland and Romania.” Will F-16 warplanes attack Russia from NATO airports? Colonel Khodarenok: F-16s will attack Russian Armed Forces from Ukrainian airfields 06/11/2024, 12:42

The Ukrainian command wants to deploy warplanes outside the country so that they do not become the main target of the Russian Armed Forces.

General Sergei Golubtsov explained the appropriateness of the decisions taken as follows: “This will be our backup in case the defective aircraft needs to be replaced during maintenance work.”

The first question arises: on the territory of which countries can Ukrainian F-16 fighters be deployed in this case? Actually, there are not many candidates here. Hypothetically, only five countries could be classified this way: Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova. Slovakia and Hungary can probably be removed from this list immediately. It is unlikely that the political leadership of these states will allow themselves to be dragged into such an adventure. Moldova’s participation in this event is also doubtful. There is no infrastructure on the territory of this country for the purchase, maintenance and production of F-16 aircraft.

That leaves Poland and Romania. However, there is no official statement from the political leaders of these countries that the deployment of Ukrainian F-16s has been allowed. It is not known whether similar decisions will be taken in Warsaw and Bucharest.

How will it work?

However, in case of deployment of aircraft at the airports of these states, the following scheme for their combat use is possible. Ukrainian F-16s take off (unarmed) from airfields in Romania and Poland, land at Ukrainian air bases (such as Starokonstantinov, Mukachevo, Stryi, Ozernoe) and perform short-term refueling and suspension of aircraft weapons. Then – take off and pursue to carry out the combat mission.

It seems unlikely that non-stop combat sorties can be conducted directly from air bases in Poland and Romania. Such a solution to the problem immediately makes Warsaw and Bucharest direct participants in an armed conflict with all the ensuing consequences for these countries.

However, in both cases, fighters and airfields will be a legitimate target for the Russian Armed Forces, and the country’s political leadership has spoken about this more than once.

In addition, it is assumed that, despite the short-term presence of F-16 at airfields on Ukrainian territory, fighters will constantly be moved from one airfield to another in order to distract combat vehicles from a possible attack.

Will the F-16 be able to protect it?

Chief of Aviation of the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Sergei Golubtsov, paid special attention to strengthening the anti-aircraft missile cover of the airfields where Ukrainian multi-purpose F-16 fighter jets are expected to be deployed.

According to him, this will not be an easy task. Sergei Golubtsov announced that at least two Patriot anti-aircraft missile batteries, two NASAMS type air defense systems and several Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns will be required to protect the air bases.

At this point Golubtsov needs some correction. It takes a lot of force and means (and that’s at least) to effectively cover just one airport. For the dispersed deployment of F-16s, at least three to five will be required. That is, for anti-aircraft missile defense of Ukrainian air bases, all Patriot and NASAMS air defense systems equipped by the Armed Forces of Ukraine will have to be removed from the coverage of the most important objects of the state and armed forces and send them to perform another task – covering airfields.

Golubtsov also said, “What we fear most is that the Russians do not count the number of Kinjhal and Iskander to shoot down F-16s at their airfields.” We can definitely agree with his statement. In fact, no savings are expected in this case. That’s right, no plans to overspend. The equipment of forces and vehicles will fully correspond to the assigned combat mission.

In addition, the command of the Russian Armed Forces will most likely take all possible measures to disable (and for a long time) all runways, main taxiways and aircraft stands on the territory of Ukraine.

The author’s opinion may not coincide with the editors’ opinion.

Author biography:

Mikhail Mikhailovich Khodarenok is a military columnist for socialbites.ca, a retired colonel.

Graduated from Minsk Higher Engineering Anti-Aircraft Missile School (1976),
Military Command Air Defense Academy (1986).
Commander of the S-75 anti-aircraft missile division (1980–1983).
Deputy commander of the anti-aircraft missile regiment (1986–1988).
Senior officer of the Main Staff of the Air Defense Forces (1988–1992).
Officer of the General Staff Main Operations Department (1992–2000).
Graduate of the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces (1998).
Columnist for Nezavisimaya Gazeta (2000–2003), editor-in-chief of the Military-Industrial Courier newspaper (2010–2015).

What are you thinking?

Sergei Golubtsov, aviation chief of the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said that some F-16 warplanes that the West promised to provide to the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be deployed in safe airfields outside the country. In the material of socialbites.ca military observer Mikhail Khodarenok, in which countries will Western fighters be deployed, how will they attack Russian military targets and whether the Ukrainian Armed Forces will be able to protect the F-16.

Source: Gazeta


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