09:32 26 Jan 2023

F-16 fighters manufacturer ready to supply jets to countries that will re-export theirs to Ukraine

The company that manufactures American F-16 aircraft is ready to provide them in exchange for European countries that will re-export their fighters for use in the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Financial Times reports, citing the chief operating officer of Lockheed Martin, Frank St. John.

The director of Lockheed Martin, the most prominent American defense contractor, said there was "a lot of conversation about third-party transfer of F-16s."

That is, about the fact that the countries will re-export their American fighter jets to Ukraine to protect airspace.

St. John said the company is not directly involved in the negotiations.

However, Lockheed Martin "was going to be ramping production on F-16s in Greenville [South Carolina] to get to the place where we will be able to backfill pretty capably any countries that choose to do third-party transfers to help with the current conflict."

It is noted that the Biden administration rejected Ukraine's request to provide modern F-16 fighter jets due to fears that they could be used to strike russian territory.

First, the United States government must approve the sale or transfer of American-made fighter jets to third countries.

And this means that European countries will need political support from the Biden administration.

A US Department of Defense representative said, "At this time, we have nothing to announce regarding F-16s."

Europe believes the re-export of F-16 by EU member states directly to Ukraine is one of the possible options.

In particular, Western countries could also send American planes to the former Warsaw Pact countries, which could then send their Soviet-designed planes to Kyiv.

We will remind you that at the beginning of the war, Warsaw offered to hand over Soviet-made MiG-29 fighters to the Ukrainian Air Force.

Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said last week that the Netherlands would consider any request to send F-16s with an "open mind." He emphasized that there are "no taboos" on military support.

The Netherlands has about 40 F-16 fighters and is gradually replacing them with more modern F-35s.

In addition to the Netherlands, seven other European NATO countries use the F-16, including Poland, Norway, and Romania.

We will remind you that President Volodymyr Zelensky believes that Ukraine should start getting the supply of aircraft after the decision on tanks. This is an important task.


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