Why giving fighter jets to Ukraine is more complicated than it seems?

For several weeks, the very day after the agreement given by Washington and Berlin regarding the delivery of heavy tanks, President Zelensky and his government have undertaken to put pressure on their Western allies to obtain a new type of equipment. defense, and not the least, since they are combat aircraft. And in fact, since that date, not a day has gone by without press articles or official declarations from Kyiv calling for F-16s in the United States, Typhoon and Tornado to the British and Germans, and Rafale and Mirages to France, without forgetting the Swedish Gripen. As has been the case since the start of this conflict, the majority of reactions to these demands, whether in favor of delivery to Ukraine, or in opposition to it, are based above all on a powerful emotional component. To answer this question, it is necessary to analyze all aspects, from the reality of the Ukrainian operational need to the constraints that such transfers could cause on the Ukrainian war effort, but also on the defensive capabilities of the countries which would transfer these devices, without ruling out, of course, Moscow's possible response to such an initiative.

First of all, it is clear that the Ukrainian Armies today have a real interest in having significant air power. Indeed, it seems more and more likely that the Russian Armies took advantage of the Bakhmout episode delegated to Wagner's mercenaries, to reconstitute a powerful military force capable of carrying out major offensive operations in the weeks or months to come. According to Ukrainian intelligence itself, the Russian armies have gathered, trained and equipped 500.000 men from the armies, mobilization and conscription for this major phase to come. Very tested by the fights for a year, the Ukrainian armies, as for them, do not have, today, the means necessary to sufficiently harden the some 800 km of front, knowing that the Russian forces could carry out a major attack with a relatively short notice anywhere along this front.

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The Russian armed forces have apparently recomposed and trained a battle corps of 500.000 men to carry out a second major offensive against Ukraine

In this context, we understand the urgency, now perfectly perceived by Western capitals, to deliver as quickly as possible new artillery, anti-aircraft defense and new heavy armored vehicles such as tanks and combat vehicles. infantry, to harden this line, and have sufficient reserves to quickly reinforce the areas under pressure. However, given the length of the front, we understand the interest of having an air force capable of providing, on demand, at any point, and within very short timeframes, the surplus firepower essential for counter any attacks. In fact, and even if there is also very probably a political calculation on the part of Kyiv aimed at increasing the involvement of NATO and in particular of the major economic and nuclear powers of the Alliance in the conflict, it is indisputable that air power would bring decisive added value to holding the line. It is still necessary that it can be implemented to be truly effective, and that it has devices adapted to the mission. Of course, this is where the subject gets tricky...


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