NEW YORK, May 21. /TASS/. The US-manufactured F-16 fighter jets may suffer significant losses in Ukraine, as a result of Russian strikes on their airfields or air combat, which would be a major blow to the reputation of that jet, the US' Military Watch Magazine reported on Saturday.
"A likely key reason for the discrepancy in the American and European positions is that the United States still has a very large stake in the F-16 program, not only as the fighter will continue to form the backbone of the U.S. Air Force for decades, but also because it continues to offer modernized variants of the class for export at times for hundreds of millions of dollars per airframe," the article said.
"Thus should F-16s be deployed to Ukraine, the United States would be bearing the primary risk. Not only is there a possibility that the fighter or its technologies could fall into Russian hands, as other Western equipment has in considerable quantities, but there is also a much greater chance that the fighters could suffer significant losses both to strikes on their airfields and in air to air combat which would be a major blow to the F-16’s reputation," the article reads.
On Friday, NBC reported that the US and its allies had plans to provide F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, and that Washington’s allies may help Ukraine procure the planes. US President Joe Biden told G7 leaders in Hiroshima that Washington supports international efforts to train Ukrainian pilots on modern fighter jets, including F-16s. Zelensky said that he looking forward to bringing this issue up at the G7 summit.
On Saturday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said commenting on F-16 potential supplies to Kiev that Western countries continued down the path of escalation in the Ukraine conflict and Russia would keep this in mind in its plans.