During the annexation of Crimea by Russia, Ukrainian Air Force even lost 45 of its MiG-29s. In May 2020, Kiev adopted the “Air Force Vision 2035” plan in order to modernize its combat aviation by bringing it up to NATO standards. Currently, for political reasons, Ukraine does not have access to Russian weapons and spare parts, let alone direct contacts with the manufacturers of the aircraft which are used by the Ukrainian Air Force. This leads to a systematic reduction in the number of aircraft capable carrying out combat operations.
The Ukrainian government has made it known in Paris and Washington that it is looking for U.S. or EU-built, 4++ generation multirole fighter jets with NATO military assetsto replace its Soviet-era MiG-29s and Su-27s. A Ukrainian contract would be 85% guaranteed by France, and the French Ministry of the Economy and Finance reportedly already earmarked a budget of €1.5 billion for this purpose. The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. In the past few years, Dassault successfully sold its fighter jets to Egypt, Qatar, India, and Greece.
The offer is expected to be placed during an upcoming official visit to Kyiv of French President Emmanuel Macron. Possible sale of Dassault Rafale fighter jets will be one of the top priorities of President Emmanuel Macron during his upcoming visit. In 2018, Ukrine purchased 55 Airbus helicopters and OCEA-class patrol boats. The contract implies purchase of three models – single-engine H125, and twin-engine H145 and H225. In 2020, Ukraine inks contract with French Company OCEA for 20 FPB 98 patrol boats. It was announced last year that local shipyard Nibulon Shipbuilding has been selected to build five of the patrol vessels.
Ukrainian Air Force also is hesitating between arospace manufacturers, like the U.S. is keen to offer its Lockheed Martin F-16V and the Boeing Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Block III. Both fighter jets are the most likely candidate. The obvious choice would be to pick one of the best sellers of the United States, given the close diplomatic ties between the two countries. Another possible contender maybe the Swedish Saab Gripen AS-39 Gripen E/F. Gripen have been championing in the area of low cost per flight hour for decades.