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Kiev’s newly built host airfields for F-16s to be wiped out before paint dries — experts

It is noted that the Russian Armed Forces will wait until the construction work reaches a certain point and then carry out strikes to destroy what has been built

MOSCOW, August 21. /TASS/. Ukraine currently lacks infrastructure suitable for hosting F-16 fighter jets and if attempts are made to build such airfields and other facilities, they will be destroyed during the construction process even before they are fully built, said military experts interviewed by TASS.

On August 20, the Danish Defense Ministry announced its readiness to transfer 19 F-16 fighter jets to Kiev, saying that the first six aircraft would be delivered to Ukraine before the year-end.

According to retired Colonel Viktor Litovkin, in order to use the US-made aircraft, Kiev will need complex infrastructure facilities, including properly equipped airfields, radar stations, and special pre-flight preparation and post-flight maintenance equipment, as well as aviation fuel purifying devices and missile storage sites. "Ukraine doesn’t have anything like that. If they start to build it all, Russia will not turn a blind eye to it. The Russian Armed Forces will simply wait until the construction work reaches a certain point and then carry out strikes [to destroy what’s been built]," the expert said.

Alexey Leonkov, editor of the Arsenal Otechestva (or Arsenal of the Fatherland) magazine, is certain that the US-made aircraft will be maintained in third countries. He noted that the F-16 - a fourth-generation fighter jet - is a standard target for air defenses, so it will take part in military operations in Ukraine from distant areas in an attempt to avoid being destroyed by Russia’s S-300V4 and S-400 missile systems. "That said, they will try to launch missiles without entering the air defense zone the way [Ukraine’s Soviet-made] Su-24 planes are doing, which have been re-equipped to carry [Western-made] Storm Shadow and SCALP missiles. However, such tactics don’t prevent us from shooting such planes down," he noted.

Litovkin explained that "the F-16s are single-engine aircraft that aren’t capable of performing complicated maneuvers in the air," unlike Russian aircraft that have two engines and a deflected thrust vector. "Our planes can actually spin in place, slipping away from missiles thanks to their high maneuverability," the expert stressed.

F-16 fighters

The US air force developed the F-16 fighter jet in the 1970s to replace the outdated Phantom aircraft and to augment the existing F-15 twin-engine planes capable of flying at extremely high speeds and altitudes. The F-16 was designed as a less powerful but more maneuverable single-engine plane. Its standard weapons include a 20 mm six-barrel gun, which has a rate of fire of about 6,000 shots per minute, and eight Sidewinder and Sparrow guided missiles, along with guided and unguided aviation bombs.