The Cost of Closing the Sky Over Ukraine 

by Roman Cheplyk
Monday, January 30, 2023
The Cost of Closing the Sky Over Ukraine 

A minimum of 190 aircraft of various purposes and $32.3 bln

The Air Force of Ukraine has released data on the number/direction and cost of the air fleet capable of entirely securing the skies over Ukraine. If to count by the minimum requirements, then with the air defence, our country's airspace should be protected by 5 brigades of 3 squadrons. Each squadron consists of 12 aircraft, i.e. the total minimum fleet size is 180 aircraft. This is the average number of fighter fleets in NATO countries. However, it should be noted that none NATO country is hit by missiles on a daily basis.

What specific planes does Ukraine need? First, the F-16 is the Block 70/72 version. According to Bulgaria's military order, 1 such aircraft costs $162.5 million. Accordingly, 180 units of F-16 will cost from $29.25 billion. Using the example of Finland's contract from 2021, 62 units of F/A-18 cost $11 billion.

F-35. The cost of the plane directly depends on the terms of the order. Timing deliveries, such as Germany for 2026, will cost €10 billion for 35 units of the F-35A.

Long-range radar tracking aircraft. Of course, the most desirable would be the E-3 Sentry AWACS, but we will consider Saab's GlobalEye. The queue for these aircraft is full, and orders are currently being accepted for delivery from 2027. 1 unit of LRRT aircraft of Swedish production costs $355.5 million, 5 aircraft are needed by Ukraine — $1.77 billion.

Air tanker. The Air Force of Ukraine cited the Airbus A330 MRTT as an example. The estimated cost of one plane — $330 million, 5 planes — $1.3 billion.

Results. The cost of the air fleet with GlobalEyes, F-16 Block 70/72 and Airbus A330 MRTT, according to the most optimal forecast, is $32.3 billion. It is worth noting that the amount is indicated with training and projectiles, and the fleet's formation will take years.

You will be interested