Transferring Western combat aircraft to Ukraine and training pilots to operate new machines will take time, but Ukraine needs to make the best use of what it has to protect its sky right now, says military pilot Vadym Voroshilov.
Ukraine puts a lot of effort into communication with its allies about the possibility to upgrade its heavily aged military jet fleet. But meanwhile, other things can be done, too. For example, Vadym mentions that old MiG-29s can be upgraded, and this could provide a short-term boost to their combat capabilities.
“While we are waiting for the moment of transfer of fighter jets, we have to work with what we have,” the pilot said.
He also explained that there are two specific areas where Ukraine could improve the operation of its aircraft and aviation equipment.
The first logical step would be to upgrade the available fire control and flight control systems. For example, fighter pilots need their planes to support outboard fuel tanks and newer guns. The pilot is certain that many useful modifications to existing avionics systems could be done by Ukrainian engineers.
The second step is to improve the existing weapons that are carried onboard. For example, fighter jets could be equipped with extended-range air-to-air missiles. These weapons could be bought or acquired through military aid mechanisms from NATO countries.
“There are such missiles on the market specifically for the MiG-29, they are being sold, I will not announce the names. I believe that we also really need them to improve the efficiency of work on these aircraft. I believe that during the year of the war, the Air Force withstood, showed its effectiveness despite the technical and quantitative superiority of the enemy, closed the sky of Ukraine,” Vadym Voroshilov explained.
In October 2022, Vadim Voroshilov received a serious injury while fighting Shahed-136 drones during a large-scale attack, after explosion debris hit the cockpit of his MiG-29 aircraft, causing a fire. But the pilot managed to eject. His treatment lasted four months, but now he is piloting a fighter jet once again.
Vadim Voroshilov is a military pilot. He has been awarded the official title of the hero of Ukraine.
Full interview can be watched below: