Ukraine’s reliance on F-16 fighter aircraft from the United States and other sources is aided by a steady flow of spare parts from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). Third-party U.S. aircraft are being transferred to Ukraine from sources such as the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway, but not always with suitable spare parts. The U.S. DoD hopes to supply sufficient spare parts to keep those aircraft flying reliably and for as long as possible.
William A. LaPlante, the U.S. undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, explained the practice in providing spare parts and the importance of spare parts for maintaining the aircraft: ‘Whatever we deliver to the Ukrainians, provide 90 days of spares, please, please, that's the rule of thumb—90 days of spares.”
Since February 2022, the U.S. has committed more than $44 billion in hardware and ammunition to Ukraine, including F-16 aircraft and suitable spare parts.
Without enough spare parts, the F-16 aircraft (see image above) on loan could be grounded in a few months. Regarding the spare parts for military aircraft, LaPlante noted, “It’s oftentimes the thing that is forgotten.” He added that even for aircraft from other countries, the U.S. is prepared to help with spare parts, “Just because other countries provide their airplanes, we have to make sure if they don't provide the spares that we find the spares and provide them.”