US Air Force officials have said sending older aircraft, like the A-10, to Ukraine is a possibility.
The A-10 could be too "slow" and "vulnerable" to use against Russia in Ukraine, an adviser said.
The Ukrainian defense adviser said the country needs "fast and versatile" aircraft like the F-16.
Although top US Air Force officials have suggested that sending A-10 Warthogs to Ukraine to support the country in its fight against Russia is a possibility, a Ukrainian defense adviser said recently that the decades-old ground-attack aircraft are too "slow" and "vulnerable to the enemy's air defenses."
In an interview with Air Force Magazine, Yuriy Sak, an adviser to Ukraine's minister of defense, said Ukraine needs "Western-standard" fighter jets and combat aircraft. Sak said while the A-10, a close-air support platform, is a great "support machine," one that is "durable" and "very deadly," Ukraine needs "fast and versatile" aircraft like the F-16, a multirole fighter jet.
"If we look at these needs of the Ukrainian Air Force today, it kind of leads us to conclude that the most optimal option would be something fast and versatile, and fast and versatile are F-16s," Sak said, also noting that "the function that could be hypothetically performed by A-10s in Ukraine is performed by Su-25," a Soviet-era close-air support plane.
The A-10 Thunderbolt II, nicknamed the "Warthog," is known for its aggressive appearance, which often features teeth painted on the nose. This US Air Force plane, which was first introduced in the 1970s, is armed with a powerful GAU-8 Avenger 30mm gatling gun and has effectively provided low-altitude support to ground forces in conflicts such as the war in Afghanistan.
The A-10 was built for "a very different war" than the one happening in Ukraine, current A-10 pilots told The Aviationist, explaining that the "permissive environment" needed for the A-10 to operate successfully and carry out the mission for which it was intended just is not there.
Last week, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., suggested that Ukraine could obtain aircraft from the US, as well as other Western countries.
"We'll be open to discussions with them about what their requirements are and how we might be able to satisfy them, but there are a number of possibilities," Brown said. He added that whatever they decide to send to Ukraine it will likely be non-Russian aircraft, like a MiG.
When asked directly about supplying Ukraine with A-10s that the US Air Force is seeking to retire, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall declined to comment on specifics but said that "older" US jets like that are "a possibility" for Ukraine depending on what their needs are.
After a July 20 virtual meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, US Air Force leaders said conversations on how to provide Ukraine with older US aircraft — such as the A-10s — had begun, but a decision on what would be offered had not been made.
Sak said Ukraine is continuing to lobby the US and other nations for weaponry, but also for advanced training.
"Why not start training our pilots in advance? Advance training is a very important issue so that we don't lose time," Sak told Air Force Magazine. "So that by the time the political decision is made, we have pilots ready to fly those jets."
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