Russian pilot on upcoming F-16: ‘We’re waiting for it to appear’

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A video from the Russian resource Zvezdanews [Star News in English] of an interview with a Russian soldier has appeared on the Internet. He spoke to a resource reporter about the upcoming arrival of the first, and then the rest, of the American-made F-16 fighter jets. They will strengthen the air operational capabilities of Ukrainian combat aviation.

Sitting around a table and drinking tea, the Russian reporter asks his interlocutor about the new goal. “Everyone is afraid of the appearance of F-16s in Ukraine,” the journalist begins the conversation. The Russian soldier replies that, yes, the F-16 will appear and accordingly it becomes a new target for Russian troops. “Yes, it will appear, but so what,” says the soldier and continues, “We are not afraid; we are even waiting for it to appear.” 

Apparently, the reporter is surprised by the answer of his interlocutor and asks, “Are you serious? Are you kidding?” The soldier replies, “Yes, why not?” Further, the report continues with the capabilities of the Russian fighters compared to the incoming F-16.

Russian pilot on upcoming F-16: 'We're waiting for it to appear'
Video screenshot

Developed tactics

Russian pilots interviewed say that they have developed combat tactics against the F-16 and know all their strengths and weaknesses—even if American fighters have already been delivered to Kyiv. The Russian planes are superior to the F-16 in armament and maneuverability, and the targeting system is more modern and advanced. All pilots, both new and experienced, train regularly to assess options and develop tactics.

“The aerodynamic characteristics of the F-16 have not changed. It is still a single-engine aircraft. We know its strengths and weaknesses,” says a pilot in the cockpit of his Sukhoi. “When we meet it in close air combat, we will drive it into the conditions in which we are the king, and he is nobody,” says the Russian aviator.

Russian pilot on upcoming F-16: 'We're waiting for it to appear'
Video screenshot

The Russian pilot says that for a long time, they practiced different and all kinds of scenarios and remember how and with whom they fought. A third Russian pilot says they are well aware that the Ukrainian pilots will act cunningly, and try to ambush their Russian enemies, but “our aircraft is superior to the F-16 in maneuverability, characteristics, and armament.” “Our sight complex is much more advanced and modern,” adds the Russian pilot.

The first F-16

Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands have pledged to supply the first fighter jets to the Ukrainian Air Force. The exact country to deliver first is still uncertain, though the Netherlands seems most probable.

Ukrainians aren't ready, so we're delaying F-16 delivery - Denmark
Photo credit: AP

On July 2, Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren signed off on the export of 24 F-16s to Ukraine. This move marks a pivotal step that may result in direct engagements with Russian forces. Greek media suggests these planes “will soon confront Russian fighter jets.”

Similarly, The Brussels Times in Belgium reports that the Netherlands is set to commence the immediate delivery of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. During his visit to Kyiv, Belgian Foreign Minister Caspar Veldkamp stated, “Now that we have the green light for the first F-16s, we have promised delivery without delay.” The specifics of his visit were kept confidential until Sunday due to security reasons.

Russia gives thousands of USD

Ukrainian digital altered F-16 emerges; Russia boosts missile output
Photo credit: Twitter

Ukraine is set to acquire at least 75 fully operational F-16 fighter jets from its allies. In fact, some estimates indicate that the final count could climb even higher. These jets are anticipated to play a pivotal role in defending Ukraine against potential Russian aggression. Notably, with Denmark’s approval, the F-16s might even target locations within Russia.

According to, a Russian company has announced a substantial bounty for anyone who shoots down one of these anticipated Ukrainian F-16s. Sergey Shmotyev, the director of the Urals-based firm Fores, has pledged a reward of 15 million rubles [approximately $167,700] for the first F-16 shot down and 500,000 rubles [around $5,591] for each additional plane.

Shmotyev also recalled previous bounties offered for destroying tanks, with a reward of 5 million rubles [about $55,910] for the first tank and 500,000 rubles [roughly $5,591] for each subsequent one. He mentioned that over 20 tanks are currently lined up for their destruction rewards.

At Mach 1.9, the F-16 rapidly reduces speed and quivers - US pilot
Photo credit: USAF

F-16 Block 15

The majority of the F-16 fighters [about 40] that Ukraine will receive are from the Block 15 modification. The F-16 AM/BM Block 15 is an early variant of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, primarily distinguished by its relatively basic avionics and radar systems compared to more advanced versions. It features the AN/APG-66 radar, which, while effective for its time, has been surpassed by more modern radar systems in later F-16 variants.

In terms of avionics, the F-16 AM/BM Block 15 lacks the advanced mission computers and integrated electronic warfare systems found in newer models. The weapon systems on the F-16AM/BM Block 15 are also less sophisticated. While it can carry a variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions, it does not support some of the latest precision-guided munitions and advanced targeting pods that are standard on more recent F-16 variants.

US F-16 pilot: Su-35 looks good at air shows, but it's junk
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The engine in the F-16AM/BM Block 15, typically the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-200, offers less thrust compared to the  engines in newer models, such as the F100-PW-229 or the General Electric F110-GE-129. Later versions of the F-16, such as the Block 50/52 and Block 60, incorporate advanced fly-by-wire systems and improved structural enhancements. These upgrades contribute to better handling, increased payload capacity, and extended airframe life, making them more versatile and durable in various operational conditions.

The cockpit of the F-16AM/BM Block 15 is more traditional, with analog displays and a less ergonomic design. Newer F-16 variants also benefit from improved data link capabilities, such as Link 16, which allows for better communication and coordination with other aircraft and ground units.


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