Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute Stephen Blank said that U.S. President Joe Biden and his administration must provide advanced F-15 fighter jets to Ukraine.
Stephen Blank calls that the need to upgrade Ukraine’s Air Force presents an opportunity for the Biden administration to cause Moscow some genuine pain, in both the real strategic sense and in terms of the long-running propaganda war.
Ukraine currently has a fleet of heavy fighters of around fifty Soviet-designed Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker interceptors. Around thirty are believed to be operational.
He thinks that the only Western alternative that can replace them is the U.S.-made F-15 Eagles, at least one hundred of which are needed for under-strength units.
“A U.S.-funded aid or “lend-lease” package of 100 or more F-15s, six to eight E-2C-2000 Hawkeyes, and eight to 12 KC-135R tankers, along with Link-16 datalink terminals, smart munitions, cruise missiles, and suitable reconnaissance and targeting equipment would send Moscow an unambiguous message and help deter any future invasion plans,” Stephen said.
There are many ways of implementing and funding a potential package of air defense equipment for Ukraine, analyst Stephen said.
He explained that the “instant capability” option is to pull mothballed F-15C/D, E-2C-2000, and KC-135R aircraft out of storage and send them to Ukraine, with downstream upgrades for the F-15s as proposed for Japan.
Alternately, the U.S. could supply new build F-15QA or F-15EX jets to Ukraine.
In addition, earlier in March 2021, opex360.com reported that France is considering proposing an alternative to Soviet-era Mikoyan MiG-29 combat aircraft for the Ukrainian Air Force’s future fighter jet.