Senate urges Pentagon to consider moving military jets to Ukraine, fighter pilot stresses ‘urgent need’

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This week, a bipartisan group of senators urged the Pentagon to “consider” combat aircraft deployment Ukraine as it continues to fight Russia’s months-long deadly war.

In a letter led by Sept. Dan Sullivan, D-A, to Secretary of Defense Lliod Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, a bipartisan group of six senators urged the Department of Defense to “consider building a fourth-generation fighter jet and the necessary flight training” included in the upcoming military aid packages.

Speaking to Fox News Digital while on duty in Ukraine at 2 a.m., one fighter pilot, who goes by the call sign “Juice,” supported the move and said the modern aircraft was “critical” to repel Russian forces.

Ukrainian pilot "Juice"

Ukrainian pilot “Juice”
(Photo provided by the Ukrainian pilot “Juice”)

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“Not just fourth-generation fighters,” he explained, “but actually American-made fighters.”

Juice went into detail that US-made military jets include “critical capabilities” that the outdated MiG-29s and Su-27s that Ukrainian fighter pilots rely on mostly don’t have.

“American aircraft are multifunctional platforms with advanced sensors and weapons that could help us, first of all, protect our cities, our infrastructure and our civilians from missile attacks and bombers, gain air superiority over the front line and ensure the security of land troops. . “

The pilot, whose squadron gained international attention in the early weeks of the war when they took to the skies to defend Kyiv, said the next step would be to use modern aircraft for counter-offensives.

Juice, along with fellow fighter pilot Moonfish, traveled from the front lines to Washington, D.C. last month to meet with Sullivan and other lawmakers, and explained that without aircraft equipped with state-of-the-art security, they were flying “suicide missions” encountering the Russians. flights in the sky.

“They heard our urgent needs, promised to help and now they are keeping their word,” Juice said in response to a letter from Fox News Digital.

The fighter pilot made special mention of Sullivan and said he hoped the Pentagon would help them find a solution as they continue to fend off Russia’s advance.

Ukrainian fighter pilots fly in a segment led by "Juice."

Ukrainian fighter pilots fly on a segment led by “Juice”.
(Photo by Yuri Kisil)

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The Biden administration has yet to back down support for sending combat aircraft to Ukraine, with officials on both sides arguing that this could escalate the war and could prove logistically difficult to properly maintain aircraft and train pilots.

However, U.S. and Ukrainian officials told Fox News Digital that Ukrainian pilots are “more than capable” of being trained on modern fourth-generation U.S. aircraft. within a few months.

Speaking Wednesday at the Aspen Security Forum, US Air Force General. Charles Brown, who is also the military unit’s chief of staff, reiterated his support for training Ukrainian pilots and said the US and its allies have a responsibility “to be ready to train them in various capabilities and abilities.”

However, the four-star general did not comment on the type of aircraft that the US or its allies would use for exercises or potentially provide to Ukraine.

Juice also dismissed the suggestion that the Ukrainians could not properly maintain advanced aircraft.

“There were a lot of concerns and misinformation on this issue, but now the senators have the real picture,” he said. “It’s not a problem, it’s a challenge.”

He said the Ukrainian Air Force should work in coordination with allied countries to prepare runways, expand training and logistical training by arranging for delivery. spare parts and cartridges.

“We need to start this yesterday to be ready for the fight,” he said, expressing a sense of urgency.

Poland, which joined NATO in 1999, intends to replace its fleet with used F-16s and train its pilots to fly them.

Poland, which joined NATO in 1999, intends to replace its fleet with used F-16s and train its pilots to fly them.
(U.S. Air Force photo taken by Staff Sergeant Andrew Lee)

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In a letter sent on Monday, Sens. Tammy Duckworth, Illinois, Roger Wicker, Texas, Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut, Robert Portman, Ohio, and Lindsey Graham, a member of the royal family, called on the Pentagon to increase the speed at which it deployed defensive aid agreed in May as part of the package. “Additional Appropriations for Ukraine” in the amount of $20 billion.

“While the medium and long range air defenses and HIMARS included in the June 27, 2022 and July 8, 2022 aid packages are a good start, these systems must be delivered at a pace and in sufficient numbers to make a difference. hostilities in the Donbass, Kherson region and other regions,” the senators wrote in a letter received by Fox News Digital.

“We urge you to act quickly, in coordination with allies and NATO partners, to immediately hand over this equipment to the Ukrainian military,” the letter says.