US President Joe Biden’s decision on 19 May to help facilitate Ukraine’s efforts to procure advanced fourth-generation fighter aircraft was a significant shift in America’s posture. Announced at the G7 summit in Tokyo, the US reversal demonstrated that Biden had overcome his reticence to make such a move, which he had said could send escalatory signals to the Kremlin.

Kyiv has sought this outcome for a while, but until recently it had been met with Western vacillation. This time, like in the earlier impasse about heavy armour—broken when the UK announced it would send Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine—the British government was again the first mover, promising to begin training Ukrainian pilots to fly a variety of Western military aircraft.

But why does Kyiv want Western warplanes so badly? Can it realistically put them to use in the foreseeable future? And which of its friends and partners might be able help?

Please click here to read the full “Why Western fighter jets are critical to Ukraine’s success—and how Australia could help” article published at The Strategist, written by Griffith Asia Institute Adjunct Fellow, Dr Mattew Sussex.