A few weeks ago, the USA approved the training of Ukrainian pilots on American F-16 fighter jets. The planes will probably be delivered in the autumn. The fourth-generation fighters can carry a wide range of missiles and bombs. It is possible that some of them will be handed over to the Ukrainian Air Force so that the planes will not arrive empty-handed.
Ukraine already uses several US bombs and missiles. However, Soviet aircraft are being used to launch them. For example, MiG-29s hit anti-aircraft radar stations with AGM-88 HARM missiles, while frontline bombers destroy targets in the rear with Storm Shadow cruise missiles.
In addition, Storm Shadow and HARMs. The Ukrainian Air Force uses AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles. Probably in AIM-120A/B modifications (AIM-120B version pictured above). NASAMS surface-to-air missile systems are used for launch.
The White House has included AIM-7 Sparrow missiles in its recent military aid package, while Canada has promised to provide AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles. Also not forgetting the JDAM / JDAM-ER smart bombs and the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS).
By the way, back to NASAMS, the Ukrainian Defence Forces have IRIS-T surface-to-air missile systems handed over by Germany. The missile of the same name was originally developed for aircraft, while the air defence version appeared only a few years ago. The airborne version under the wing of the F-16A MLU can be seen in the photo above.
Apparently, the AIM-160 MALDs are also already in service with the Ukrainian Air Force. During one of the strikes on Luhansk, wreckage of the missile was found and used as a target to divert enemy air defences.
All of the munitions we have written about above are already in use by various units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The same applies to the AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles (pictured above) and future deliveries of GBU-53 bombs as part of GLSDB precision-guided munitions will begin.
However, there are a number of missiles that will become possible once Ukraine obtains fourth-generation fighters. For example, the availability of F-16s will allow the United States to transfer AGM-65 Maverick missiles and Paveway bombs.
The U.S. also has the AGM-154 Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW). This air-to-ground missile (pictured above) is ideal for the situation in Ukraine. The AGM-154, when paired with the F-16, will be able to hit enemy targets at distances of more than 100 km. The missile has a low signature, so it will be difficult to intercept.
Another important component of the F-16 is a radar station. So far there is no information on which version of the fighter will be transferred to Ukraine. The F-16A/B is equipped with an AN/APG-66 radar, while the F-16C/D has a more powerful AN/APG-68. In this case, even the AIM-120A/B missile would be a big step forward for the Ukrainian Air Force.
There have been rumours that Ukraine might get an upgraded radar, but this is hard to believe. Nevertheless, a radar station with an active phased array could unlock the full potential of even an AIM-120C missile.
We can conclude with a bit of a dream. The dreams lie in the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) stealth missile, which is pictured above. It exists in the ER modification, which has a maximum launch range of about 1000 km. But the chances of Ukraine receiving such missiles are close to zero because of the technological risk.
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