Ukraine is likely to buy Rafale, according to Paris

France Rafale Ukraine new fighter
Dassault Rafale multirole combat aircraft.

With Ukraine preparing to finalize one of the most strategic defense contracts in Europe, the United States and France have begun to duel to secure the order. The deal is very greedy, it provides for the supply of a 4.5 generation multirole fighter to replace the entire fleet of Soviet-era combat aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force (UAF).

The UAF fleet currently consists of a mix of MiG-29, Su-24, Su-25 and Su-27 fighters. It is far from good considering the ongoing territorial war between Ukraine and Russia over Crimea. Without the support of Russian companies, keeping these aircraft operational is complicated and expensive due to a lack of weapons and spare parts.

It follows that in May 2020, Kiev launched the "Air Force Vision 2035" plan to modernize its combat fleet and bring it to Western standards. In detail, the plan provides for an investment of approximately 7.5 billion euros to renew the entire fleet. The nation initially plans to acquire 6 to 12 new fighter aircraft between 2023 and 2025 in order to initiate familiarization flights and staff training, with an additional 30 aircraft procured between 2025-2030.

In October 2020, Ukrainian Minister of Strategic Industries Oleh Urusky said an in-depth study to determine the best type of fighter for the Air Force had not yet been done.

Local media said the choice could be between the Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70/72 and the Saab Gripen E/F. However, according to Intelligence Online [IO], there are other options on the table. It believes that the Ukrainian tender could result in a duel between the Dassault Rafale and the Boeing Super Hornet.

According to IO sources, it appears that the possible sale of Rafale to Ukraine is one of the main topics that French President Emmanuel Macron intends to discuss during his next visit to Ukraine. Paris believes it has 85% chance of winning the contract.

France can also rely on Arsen Avakov, Ukrainian Interior Minister in office since 2014. Under his mandate, Kiev has ordered various 'made in France' platforms such as 20 Ocea patrol boats and 55 Airbus H125 helicopters.

On the other hand, the US does not want to sit on the sidelines, especially since Washington has provided massive military aid to Ukraine since 2014 in support of the conflict against Russia.

US President Joe Biden was quick to assure that "the US will never accept the so-called annexation of the [Crimean] peninsula" and that it will stand "alongside Ukraine against Russian aggressive actions."

Undoubtedly, the US will not want to miss the opportunity to have American fighter jets at Russia's doorstep, which would be a major blow to the Kremlin.

Written by Matteo Sanzani

No comments

All comments related to the contents of our articles are welcome. It is not allowed to post promotional messages, links to external sites, or references to activities not related to this blog.

Powered by Blogger.