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NATO Fighter Jet Deliveries to Kiev — Point of No Return?

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NATO Fighter Jet Deliveries to Kiev — Point of No Return?

Friday, March 17, 2023

Drago Bosnic, independent geopolitical and military analyst

Air dominance is one of the key aspects of modern warfare, particularly for the political West and its numerous vassals and satellite states. At present, the Kiev regime is still not very reliant on such a doctrine as its dwindling stock of Soviet-era aircraft allows for very limited use of jets, particularly as Russian platforms, vastly superior in both numbers and capabilities, dominate the skies. Thus, the Neo-Nazi junta troops are forced to make do with what they have. The former USSR’s massive long-range ground-based air defenses somewhat offset this, as the Kiev regime inherited an enormous quantity of SAM (surface-to-air missile) systems, but this too is fading away as Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) hunt down the remaining air defenses.

In order to prevent this, NATO is moving toward fighter jet deliveries to Kiev as the very last step in conventional weapons supplies. The main issue with this has been the training of Ukrainian pilots to be able to fly NATO platforms, as the process normally takes years. Another important segment is that the pilots themselves are not too keen on transitioning to Western aircraft such as the F-16, for instance, which is much lighter and less capable than the Soviet-era Su-27 jets the Kiev regime forces have been flying. However, the chronic lack of spare parts and munitions for these jets is certainly making them less viable, even with the integration of Western weapons such as the AGM-88 HARM (High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile) and JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) bombs.

The issue could be partially sidestepped in the coming days and weeks as Slovakia and Poland are moving to send their legacy MiG-29 fighter jets. Warsaw seems to be closer to completing this than Bratislava, as its much larger defense sector already has plans to replace the Warsaw Pact-era aircraft with the F-35A and South Korean FA-50. On the other hand, Slovakia hopes to make a barter deal with the US, aiming to get F-16s for the delivery of its MiG-29s to Kiev. It remains to be seen how the Biden administration will respond to these requests. Poland is the likelier candidate for immediate deliveries, in part due to its larger fleet of MiG-29 jets, as well as the fact that most of these are still operational, unlike the Slovakian ones (officially retired in 2022).

On March 16, Polish President Andrzej Duda confirmed that at least four jets will be handed over to the Kiev regime “within the next few days”, which would mean that Polish deliveries have been greatly accelerated. Duda stressed that “the rest are being prepared, serviced”. CNN claims that the total number of MiG-29s to be transferred is between 11 and 19. As Poland officially operates up to 30 of these jets, it can be assumed that no more than 19 are in good enough condition to be delivered to the Neo-Nazi junta. Various reports indicate that the FA-50 light jets are due to be delivered to Poland from South Korea this summer, which would explain Warsaw’s readiness to accelerate the plan.

In addition, there’s a growing bipartisan initiative among the Washington DC warhawks, particularly Republican neoconservatives and Democrat neoliberals, to directly send F-16s to the Neo-Nazi junta. A recent report by Politico claims that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is “under increased pressure to send the jets”. The senators are adamant that “the F-16s are badly needed at this critical juncture to give the Ukrainians the edge they need”. The initiative, led by an Arizona Democrat, Senator Mark Kelly, is also supported by seven other senators from both parties. However, others, such as Republicans Tom Cotton and the infamous Lindsey Graham are insisting on “doing more”, with Cotton recently slamming the White House for “half measures” and calling for the delivery of cluster munitions.

The escalating rhetoric, as well as the resulting weapons shipments to Kiev are certainly making things worse. And while the Neo-Nazi junta cannot hope to achieve any meaningful results against Russian forces even with the delivery of MiG-29s, which can be integrated with relative ease considering that it still operates them, sending F-16s and other Western aircraft will require significant changes. It’s not only the issue of the Kiev regime running out of time for this, but also the fact that NATO will need to mobilize much of its resources to maintain an entirely Western-made fleet of aircraft in Ukraine, a monumental effort even in peacetime, let alone in the middle of a conflict with a military superpower defending its borders.

Another major point of contention is the supply of armor, particularly Western-style heavy tanks. Despite pompous announcements of “imminent deliveries” back in January, nothing came of it in the last two months. With only one whole battalion expected to be operational by the end of March, the Kiev regime will get no more than 60 tanks, a meager sum considering the fact that it’s losing hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles on a monthly basis. Several NATO and EU members are delaying their deliveries, while others are withdrawing from the plan, including the Netherlands, Denmark and Finland, citing bureaucratic procedures and their own defense needs, with Sweden waiting for its NATO membership bid to be approved by Turkey and Hungary.

As the political West pledges more support for the Neo-Nazi junta, it’s making it increasingly difficult (if possible at all) to come to a peace settlement with Moscow. This undermines the emergence of a new security architecture in Europe and by sending fighter jets, the US and NATO are raising the stakes even higher, making it virtually impossible to disengage, as Russia is bound to mobilize much (if not most) of its massive resources to ensure the success of the counteroffensive against NATO aggression in Europe. Political elites in Washington DC (and Brussels) are desperate to win somewhere after several consecutive defeats (particularly after Afghanistan), especially as the political West is running out of cohesion factors, with factionalism and unrest on the rise in both the EU and the US.

Source: InfoBrics

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