US-led Coalition To Bolster Ukraine's Long-term Air Defense Capabilities

The United States will lead a newly formed coalition focused on developing Ukraine’s air force in a bid to bolster that country’s long-term capability to defend itself against Russian aggression.

This was announced by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin after a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, or UCDG, in Brussels.

It marks the formation of several distinct coalitions focused on building Ukraine’s future force capabilities. Those coalitions are comprised of the more than 50 countries that make up the UDCG.

“By leading this capability coalition, the United States will coordinate closely with Ukraine and other partners with the focus on developing Ukraine’s F-16 fighter aircraft capabilities,” Austin said.

Austin said Denmark and the Netherlands will join the U.S. in leading the effort to ensure Ukrainian forces can defend their skies.

The two European countries previously announced that they would supply Ukraine with F-16s. Norway has also joined the effort to outfit Ukrainian pilots with the U.S.-made jets.

The U.S. has joined the countries in training Ukrainian pilots and aircrews on how to employ and maintain the advanced fighters.

Austin also announced Estonia and Luxembourg will lead a group of countries focused on supporting Ukraine’s information technology infrastructure.

Lithuania will lead a separate coalition focused on neutralizing mines in Ukrainian territory.

Separately, the United States announced the latest tranche of security assistance package to strengthen Ukraine’s defense against continuing Russian attacks.

The $200 million package includes a series of air defense systems, as well as additional artillery and rocket ammunition, precision aerial munitions, antitank weapons, and equipment to counter Russian drones.

This is in addition to more security assistance pledged by many other countries to Ukraine.

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