F-16 fighter with Ukrainian Air Force markings?

Image shared by Ukrainian outlet shows a Lockheed Martin aircraft at what could be an air base in Romania

The scene is intriguing: an alleged member of the Ukrainian armed forces poses in front of a Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jet that bears markings belonging to the Ukrainian Air Force.

The image, which cannot be confirmed as true, was published by the Voice of America which, despite its name, is published in Ukraine. It is part of an article in which the outlet interviews a Ukrainian pilot who participates in training on the US aircraft.

Although it cannot be confirmed, the F-16 appears to be in Europe, possibly at Fetesti Air Base in Romania, used as a NATO training center for Ukrainian aircrew and ground personnel.

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Alleged Ukranian Air Force F-16 (Social media)

There are some Dutch F-16 fighters at the site, passed on for training, but not actually delivered to Ukraine. The painting of the plane’s fuselage, however, does not match the combat aircraft of the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

Advanced weapons

Despite the marks, the aircraft may have received them unofficially. The supersonic jet was equipped with an AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missile and an AMA (Acceleration Monitor Assembly) pod, used in training missions, both on the right wing, as well as an extra fuel tank.

Royal Netherlands Air Force sent five of its F-16 to Romania (RNAF)

There is also another pod under the fuselage that could be a Litening, targeting pod that has a high-resolution forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensor and camera, as well as an inertial navigation sensor and a laser designator.

These are weapons that support the future missions of Ukrainian F-16s, between defending the country’s airspace and precision attack missions against Russian targets.

It is not yet known when the Ukrainian Air Force will receive its first F-16s, but the chance of it occurring in 2024 is quite high.

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