Ukraine now wants this weapon from Germany

Ukraine now wants this weapon from Germany

Updated on 05/30/2023 – 15:32Reading time: 3 min.

Fighter jet for Ukraine? Footage shows the agile F-16 in action. (What: t-online)
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So far it has been said that Ukraine only wants the American F-16s. But now the Ukrainian defense minister is making a surprising proposal.

In order to be able to adequately protect its airspace from Russian attacks, Ukraine needs a functioning fighter jet fleet. Just a few days ago, Russian authorities reported the destruction of five Ukrainian fighter jets at an air force base in the west of the country in the Khmelnitsky region. Thus, the Russian invaders managed a heavy blow against the Ukrainian air defenses.

It is therefore clear that Ukraine needs operational fighter jets to protect its airspace and thus its population from Russian cruise missiles. Added to this is the threat of Iranian-made Shahed drones fired from Russian territory. Kiev also needs the planes to successfully conduct its counteroffensive. Now the Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov has made another push on the issue of fighter jet deliveries.

“If Great Britain and Germany were to pool their capacities for the Eurofighter, that would be an important step,” he told the newspapers of the Funke media group and the French “Ouest-France”. So far, the discussion about the delivery of fighter jets has always focused on the American F-16. The US has already agreed to train Ukrainian pilots on this weapon system. A delivery of the jets, however, has not yet been decided.

Ukraine wants a wide range of fighter jets

The F-16 is considered one of the most advanced fighter jets currently in use. For Ukraine, the delivery of this type would mean a quantum leap, because according to Western experts, the F-16s are technologically far superior to the Russian jets. With regard to the weapon systems in particular, the F-16 is “decades ahead of the Russian-type machines,” General Philipp Breedlove told the specialist magazine “Airandspace”.

A Eurofighter Typhoon of the British Royal Air Force Eurofighter (archive image).  Ukraine is interested in the planes.
A Eurofighter Typhoon of the British Royal Air Force (archive image). Ukraine is interested in the planes. (Quelle: Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

So far, Ukraine has already received a number of Mig-29s from the stocks of the Polish and Slovak armies. With Western-made machines, they could protect their airspace more effectively. The Ukrainian Defense Minister Resnikov is therefore relying on a broad coalition of partners, similar to the delivery of tanks.

Thus, as the core model of tank deliveries, Ukraine received the German Leopard 2, but also American Abrams M-1 and the British Challenger. Likewise, one could form a fighter jet coalition with the core model F-16, Eurofighters and Swedish Gripen jets, said the Ukrainian defense minister.

In the middle of the month, Germany and Great Britain had ruled out supplying fighter jets to Ukraine in the foreseeable future. British Defense Minister Ben Wallace said on May 17 at a press conference with Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) in Berlin that Eurofighters in the British fleet are not suitable. In the short term, it is more important to equip Ukraine with capabilities comparable to those that fighter jets can provide, he said.

How many of the 138 Eurofighters are operational?

However, it is questionable whether and to what extent the Bundeswehr would be able to deliver Eurofighters to Ukraine at all. Although the troops advertise the fighter jet as a highly modern and effective weapon system, as the “backbone of the German fighter jet fleet”, it is not known how many of the 138 jets in the Luftwaffe’s inventory are currently actually operational.

In recent years there have been repeated reports of the lack of operational capability. Sometimes only 42 of 109 aircraft were operational, sometimes technical defects caused a stir. The Eurofighter was therefore already considered by many to be a “breakdown aircraft”.

The Bundeswehr is trying to allay concerns about the defense readiness of its air fleet. At the beginning of the year, Lieutenant Colonel Jürgen Schumann announced in a Bundeswehr podcast that the Eurofighters could be used to meet international obligations within the framework of NATO (five machines in the Baltic States, six in Romania) and to ensure national defense. For the “entire German airspace surveillance” are currently “eight aircraft ready”.

Fighter jet pilot Schumann did not say what happened to the other 120 or so Eurofighters. Only that some of the jets went through regular maintenance intervals at the industry.


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