The EU is sending fighter jets to Ukraine, but they’re limited to jets that Ukrainian pilots know how to fly.
The EU official who made Sunday’s announcement said he understands that the Ukrainian Air Force has no time to get up to speed on unfamiliar aircraft.
[…] But according to the Flight International 2022 World Air Forces database, the Ukrainian air force flies Soviet-made MiG-29s and three types of Sukhoi jets. Three NATO nations, Poland, Slovakia, and Bulgaria, also fly the MiG-29, a twin-engine fighter jet developed in the 1970s. Bulgaria also flies the Su-25, a close-air support jet also flown by Ukraine.
[…] The F-16, to name another plane popular with NATO militaries, would not be of immediate use. Even though there are thousands of U.S. made F-16s flying in the United States and around the world, it would take time to familiarize the Ukrainans with American equipment.
I was completely enchanted by this (h/t Mark Sumner):
It made me wonder whether a pilot who knows both Ukrainian planes and more modern planes like the F-16 could explain the differences between the two planes to Ukrainian pilots. TikTok is going to allow 10-minute videos (current limit is 3 mins), so I have to ask stupid question #7895374:
Could a pilot who knows how to fly both a MiG-29 and an F-16 (for example) make a series of 10-minute vids that describe the similarities and differences, along with a “Here’s how to pilot an F-16” demo?
Even if we don’t have a bunch of MiG-29 pilots in the US (an expert cited in the linked DefenseOne piece is described as having flown MiG fighters “as part of a U.S. Air Force squadron that tested Soviet warplanes secretly acquired by the U.S. government”), I’ll bet that there are dual-trained pilots in Europe.
I’m not a pilot and am utterly clueless about the intricacies involved. But if someone could get Ukrainian pilots up to speed quickly on modern planes, the EU would likely supply the planes. And that could make a huge difference in Ukraine’s ability to defend itself!
So the purpose of this uneducated post is to get the idea out there. After all, even if it’s preposterous, it could generate new ideas that are more workable.