- F-16s are “critical” to rapidly defeat Russia, retired Air Force Col. Jeff Fischer told the Kviv Post.
- It would only take two to six months to train Ukrainian pilots to use the jets, Fischer argued.
- The Biden administration previously said it would not send the US-made fighter jets to Ukraine.
American-made F-16 fighter jets would help Ukraine defeat Russia and rapidly end the drawn-out conflict, according to an experienced former US Air Force serviceman.
In an exclusive interview with the Kyiv Post, retired Air Force Col. Jeff Fischer laid out his thinking on why the US should provide F-16s to the war-torn country.
“I have come to the conclusion that F-16s or a fourth-generation multi-role fighter is critical for Ukraine, and there’s a simple reason why,” Fischer said in an interview this week.
“If you can dominate in the battle space and in the air domain, we can get away from this air parity, which exists right now,” he added.
Fischer served for over 30 years in the US Air Force and completed seven combat tours.
While it may seem “counterintuitive,” using greater force or having “air dominance” is actually likely to “bring the war to an end much faster,” he said.
“Send F-16s to Ukraine so Russia can be defeated now,” he added.
When asked about American Defense Undersecretary Colin Kahl’s evaluation that it would take 18 months to train Ukrainian fighters to use F-16s, Fischer responded that he believed that assessment was “a little bit disingenuous.”
While it would take someone without any experience 18 months to learn, he said, a transition program for “already trained and skilled Ukrainian pilots” would only take two to six months, he argued.
The retired colonel added that it would be simple to find people to help provide technical and logistical support for the jets because they already exist “in massive numbers.”
There are 4,500 fighter jets already manufactured, he said, and the US is still producing them.
Fischer, noa an author and military analyst, noted that the current “war of attrition” means not only the cost of human lives but also a continued decrease in missiles and artillery shells for Ukraine’s military. The jets, he said, would help to improve this situation.
The stalemated war in Ukraine has been ongoing for over a year, and the question of whether the country’s military should be supplied with Western-built fighter jets has been contentious.
While some have argued the single-seat fighter jets would be a “game changer” for the country, other experts believe it might prove more complicated. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged the White House to send the jets, the Biden administration has said it is not a priority.