Air Force Chief Warns Portugal Falling Behind on End of F-16s

Air Force Chief of Staff Joao Cardaço Alves warned this Thursday that Portugal was “falling behind” as F-16 fighter jets near the end of their lives while other European countries adopt the F-35.

“We know that our F-16s are 30 years old, and to replace them, if any decision is made, will take ten years. This means that the F-16s will have to fly for more than 40 years”, according to the head of the military, the air force on the NATO mission in Lithuania and In statements to Lusa and TVI/CNN, on the sidelines of Defense Minister Nuno Melo’s visit to the naval unit.

According to Cardaxo Alves, the Air Force “has a great responsibility to guarantee the sovereignty and integrity of the national airspace”, but, to fulfill this mission, the country must decide the means by which it will act.

“Aircraft are typically designed for 30 to 35 years, depending on the efforts they make throughout their life, they command continuity in operation”, according to the general. In the case of the F-16, these fighters are characterized by lethality, survivability and connectivity, the latter of which, “is very important in modern warfare.” important,” he pointed out.

“These factors have degraded” in these North American fighters and are subject to subsequent modernization and upgrades, “while all other countries make this transition to the F-35”.

“We are lagging behind in this initiative, which is increasingly a European initiative”, Cardaxo Alves warned, adding that the number of countries that have not yet made this transition is small.

See also  Ukraine: EU advises non-essential workers in Kiev to leave the country - News

In this sense, the Air Force is gathering a lot of information, “reliable and secure,” the military chief said. .

In this process, similar forces that already have F-35s are being consulted, as well as the manufacturer and the United States Air Force, revealed the Cortaxo Alves, that there is no alternative for this North American aircraft.

“There was no other way,” he said, adding that the Air Force had followed the development of the European war program so closely that it had become a victim of global instability and especially after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. , “Fifth-generation upskilling in Europe”.

“From the moment Germany, Europe’s largest aircraft manufacturer, decided to purchase eighty F-35s, the future of the European fighter jet fell into the ground, and there was no other way,” says the president. State – Major in Air Force.

In this regard, while addressing journalists at the Siauliai base, where four F-16s and 87 airmen are stationed, the Defense Minister promised “a permanent negotiation based on reality, prioritizing investment in the armed forces”. And so should not fail”, with military leaders, apart from the army, listening to him during these statements.

“What I’m saying is that it’s very unusual that the people most responsible for the various departments don’t demand better technology. That’s what should happen, political power and budgetary possibilities are assumed to be able to adapt to what the armed forces want,” he opined.

It was Nuno Melo’s first official visit to Portuguese missions abroad, which included a trip to Kyriai in Lithuania, home to 146 marines, with the aim of countering threats from NATO’s continued military presence in the eastern flank.

See also  More soldiers are leaving the armed forces. Allies Prepare 'Draconian' Actions - Executive Digest

The mission has been marked since 2017 by “very strong cooperation relations” with Lithuania, Cardaxo Alves said, creating a “very positive” assessment of “the image of Portugal strengthened”.

Since the invasion of Ukraine, Lithuania’s proximity has given new relevance to the country’s existing F-16 fleet and its air patrol duties in the Baltic Sea, particularly near the Russian border in Kaliningrad.

Jono Gonçalves, commander of the F-16 wing, described the operation as normal, with interceptions of Russian aircraft every week following the escalation of tensions over the war in Ukraine.

According to the air force chief, intercepted Russian planes are almost always military, sometimes they are fighters escorting other planes, and other times they are transport planes.

“These factors bring the war closer to us, but it does not change our mission in any way,” assured Jono Gonçalves. Increased activity in policing operations in the Baltics.

In most Russian aircraft interceptions, the pilots reconnoitre the plane, identify it, photograph it, and gather all the available elements, for example, whether it carries weapons or not, that it controls itself. Cockpits of airplanes happen all the time.

“Obviously, if they’re taking a plane that’s carrying some company, they don’t want us to get that close, so we, on our side, what we do is maintain our professionalism,” he explained. A provocation that caused problems in the safety of aircraft in the air.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *