Skip to main content

Belgium first country in the world to confirm the delivery of F-16s fighter jets to Ukraine.

Belgium has announced a military aid package worth 977 million euros for Ukraine. During a meeting in Brussels on May 28, 2024, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo signed a bilateral security pact. This agreement outlines Belgium's long-term support and military aid for Ukraine, including the provision of 30 F-16 fighter jets.
Follow Army Recognition on Google News at this link

Belgian F-16 fighter jet could be one of 30 sent to Ukraine. ( Picture Source: US DoD)

Zelenskyy announced on social media that this historic agreement ensures Belgium's unwavering support for the next decade. He specified that, for the first time, there is a clear commitment for the delivery of 30 F-16 fighter jets, with the first deliveries set to begin this year and to be completed by 2028. Previously, Belgium had announced its intention to deliver F-16s but had not specified the exact number.

Zelenskyy emphasized that the F-16s are a crucial element of Ukraine's defense strategy, enhancing the capabilities of its air force. However, this statement is nuanced by some high-ranking Ukrainian officials who believed that F-16s were relevant in 2023 but may be less so in 2024, and even less by 2028.

The agreement also includes modern armored vehicles, air defense systems, naval security measures, demining equipment, and artillery ammunition. Additionally, it covers military training and defense industry cooperation, all designed to meet Ukraine's comprehensive security needs. For more details on the agreement, you can refer to an Army Recognition article dated May 28, 2024.

Several countries have committed to sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine to bolster its defense capabilities against Russian aggression. Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway have joined Belgium in this effort. Denmark plans to deliver 19 F-16s, with the first batch expected in the second quarter of 2024, once pilot training is completed. The Netherlands has committed to providing 42 F-16s, with deliveries also set to begin in 2024. Norway has promised 2 F-16s to support Ukraine's air defense efforts. Greece has also discussed the potential delivery of 32 F-16C/D fighters. This totals 93 F-16s promised to Ukraine, a significant number.

A Belgian F-16 fighter jet that is a part of Operation Guardian Falcon. ( Picture Source: US DoD)

As part of his visit to Brussels, Zelenskyy will also tour a military airbase, where he will meet instructors training Ukrainian pilots to operate US-made F-16 fighter jets. This initiative aligns with a broader effort by European allies to provide advanced military aircraft to Ukraine, with Belgium hoping to start deliveries this year.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon, also known as the F-16A/B, is a multi-role aircraft originally built by General Dynamics, now Lockheed Martin. Designed for great versatility, this aircraft has been in service since its commissioning on August 17, 1978, and remains operational today. Its first flight took place on February 2, 1974.

This aircraft is equipped with a Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 turbofan engine with an afterburner, producing a thrust of 79 kN without an afterburner and 130 kN with. The F-16 features a wingspan of 9.8 meters, a length of 14.8 meters, a height of 4.8 meters, and a wing area of 27.87 m². Empty, it weighs 8,272 kg, but with armament, it can reach a weight of 12,000 kg, with a maximum mass of 16,900 kg.

The F-16 is capable of reaching a maximum speed of 2,173 km/h (Mach 2.04) and can climb to a ceiling of 15,200 meters. Its climb rate is 15,240 meters per minute, and it has a range of 550 km. The thrust-to-weight ratio of this aircraft is 0.90, which, combined with a wing loading of 431 kg/m², gives it great agility and exceptional maneuvering capabilities.

In terms of armament, the F-16 is equipped internally with a 20 mm M61A1 Vulcan cannon. It can also carry a variety of air-to-air missiles such as the AIM-7 Sparrow, Sidewinder, ASRAAM, Magic 2, and AMRAAM, as well as air-to-ground missiles like the Maverick and anti-radar missiles like the HARM. It is capable of deploying laser-guided bombs and JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) such as the Mk 82, Mk 83, Blu 109, or Mk 84, as well as rockets.

The advanced avionics of the F-16 include fly-by-wire controls, a head-up display, a HOTAS (Hands On Throttle-And-Stick) configuration, and various radars, including the AN/APG-66, AN/APG-68, and more recently, the AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. It also features a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) radar, an ALR-56M radar warning receiver, a GPS, Link 16 for communications, and an AN/ALQ-131 electronic warfare pod.

The commitment to provide 30 F-16 fighters by Belgium represents a significant boost to the Ukrainian air force, enhancing its ability to defend against ongoing threats and ensuring long-term support from European allies. However, a small fleet of F-16s may not be enough to be a game changer, as it will provide a beneficial impact for Ukrainian forces but likely not enough to reverse the course of the war, thus requiring even more substantial aid.

US F-16 Fighting Falcons conduct armed aerial patrols over Somalia. ( Picture Source: US DoD)

Copyright © 2019 - 2024 Army Recognition | Webdesign by Zzam