Australia Could Send 41 Retired RAAF F-18 Fighter Jets to Ukraine

Australia Could Send 41 Retired RAAF F-18 Fighter Jets to Ukraine
Royal Australian Air Force F-18A Hornets taxi at RAAF Williamtown, during Exercise Diamond Shield 2017 in New South Wales, Australia, March 21, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Steven R. Doty)

According to The Australian Financial Review report, Australia, the United States, and Ukraine are discussing sending 41 Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 Hornets fighter jets to Kyiv.

Sources have told the publication that the U.S. which recently gave permission to other Western allies to supply Ukraine with advanced fighter jets, including US-made F-16s, is favorably disposed to the idea of sending Ukraine the F/A-18s.

The retired F/A-18s are sitting in a hangar at the Williamtown RAAF base outside Newcastle and unless sent to Ukraine, will either be scrapped or sold to a private sector aviation company, RAVN Aerospace, to train American pilots.

In exchange, Australia is buying 72 F-35 fighter jets from the US.

It is noted that the planes are in good shape and can be operational within four months and used to help repel the Russian invasion.

Ukrainian pilots and ground crew could be quickly brought up to speed to operate the Hornets with Ukrainian language training manuals to be produced.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has long pleaded with Western allies to send their modern fighter jets, but the U.S. has repeatedly rebuffed those requests. Instead, the U.S. has sent tanks, artillery, and ammunition.

The U.S. has aided Ukraine’s air force so far by providing munitions, including High-Speed Anti-Radiation missiles (HARMs) that the Ukrainians have jerry-rigged to operate from their aging Soviet-era planes. In recent months, the U.S. has also provided extended-range JDAM-guided bombs.

Poland and Slovakia are providing Ukraine with MiG-29s from their inventories. But there is no debate the F-16 will mark a quantum leap over the planes currently in Ukraine’s inventory.

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