- There are eight countries in Europe that fly the F-16, and they would love to trade them in for more advanced versions of the fighter.
- Lockheed Martin weapons have been a big reason why Ukraine has been able to keep the Russian military at bay.
After sending main battle tanks to Ukraine in a controversial move to help its weak military, the US is now thinking about making more F-16 fighters to send to Ukraine.
Thursday quotes Frank St. John, the chief operating officer of Lockheed Martin, which makes the F-16, as saying that there was “a lot of talk about third party transfers of F-16s.” This means that countries would re-export American aircraft they already have to help Ukraine defend its airspace against Russian fighters.
St. John said that Lockheed Martin would “ramp up production of F-16s in Greenville (South Carolina) to the point where we will be able to backfill pretty well any countries that choose to do third-party transfers to help with the current conflict.”
So far, the US has turned down Ukraine’s requests for high-tech fighters because they could be used to attack targets in Russia, which would make the situation worse.
Any country, even a close political ally of the US, that sent F-16s to Ukraine would have to get permission from the US government first.
Lockheed Martin has also said that it wants to move the F-16 production line from the US to India if it is chosen as the winner of the Indian Air Force (IAF) tender to supply more than 100 fighters to India.
At the beginning of the war, one of the US’s allies in Europe, Warsaw, offered to send its MiG-29 fighters from the Soviet era to Kyiv if the US gave the Polish air force new F-16 fighters.
There are eight countries in Europe that fly the F-16, and they would love to trade them in for more advanced versions of the fighter.
Lockheed Martin weapons have been a big reason why Ukraine has been able to keep the Russian military at bay. The high mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS), the guided multiple launch rocket system (GMLRS), the Javelin anti-tank guided missiles, and the Patriot anti-aircraft missile system are some of the weapons systems used in Ukraine.