Russo-Ukrainian War 7/15/22

A U.S. Air Force crew chief assigned to the 510th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron marshals a U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon at 86th Air Base, Romania, April 30, 2022. (Image via Master Sgt. Nathan Lipscomb)

The United States has reportedly greenlit the training of Ukrainian pilots for F-15s and F-16s.

Passed by the House of Representatives, the bill was spearheaded by Republican Adam Kinzinger and Democrat Chrissy Houlahan to train Ukrainian fighter crews on American planes. Though the bill does not promise to deliver the planes to Ukraine, it prepares the pilots necessary to make a future commitment likely and rapid, as opposed to the long delays over weapon systems like HIMARS, a result of both administrative lag and training times.

Though HIMARS has received a lot of attention due to its severe impact on Russia’s logistics and command centers, planes will be able to target areas far beyond the reach of even newly disclosed negotiations for 300km HIMARS missiles. Both these assets would likely be able to strike both Crimea and the Kerch Strait Bridge and operate further away from the battlefield while remaining accurate and deadly to Russian troops.

The bill’s passage represents the growing understanding that the United States is confident of Ukraine’s ability to remain independent in the long term, hence the transition to a modern fighting force with Western materiel and intelligence.

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