Lt. Col. Dan Hampton, a retired US Air Force pilot, shared his thoughts on the Russian Su-35 Flanker fighter. According to him, as quoted on Twitter by @PStyle0ne1, the Su-35 only looks good but is “junk” in reality.

“My opinion, and that of most professional fighter pilots, is that the Su-35 is a typical Russian machine and it looks nice. They give it a nice paint job, put all kinds of cool stars on it and all that. But deep down, it’s not really that good of a plane. It looks good at air shows, but my personal opinion is that its junk,” said the former Air Force pilot.

Lt. Col. Dan Hampton has a wealth of experience. He fought in the wars in the Persian Gulf, Kosovo, and Iraq. According to him, Ukraine can obtain not only planes, but also retired Western pilots. That is, he believes that “mercenary pilots,” who have already retired but are still capable of fighting, can be involved in Ukraine’s defense.

Mr. Stephen Bryen, a journalist, wrote about it in his most recent material. He believes that because Ukrainian pilots have limited time to train to fly Western fighters, aircraft painted in Ukraine’s camouflage could be flown by Western-trained pilots.

This is not the first time such studies have been conducted. It should also come as no surprise that there are Western soldiers in Ukraine. The Ministry of Defense in the United Kingdom, for example, has officially confirmed that its special forces were present at the start of the conflict in Ukraine. They were in charge of training Ukrainian soldiers.

According to later reports from the war, not all British troops were withdrawn. They are said to have played a significant role in the destruction of the Russian cruiser Moskva. Let us not forget that NATO and the US provide a complete picture of Russian military movement in Ukraine based on intelligence.

The Ukrainian military appears to be losing the battle for Bakhmut at the moment. Ukrainian reports indicate that their forces are suffering and struggling despite being surrounded on all sides. Russian attacks, according to Ukrainians, are continuing. Wagner, a Russian private military company, currently has a significant presence in Bakhmut.

However, according to Western experts, the Ukrainians and their allies view the “fall of Bakhmut” as a calculated risk. Apart from reclaiming the territories temporarily occupied by Russia, one of Ukraine’s main goals is to reclaim Crimea. If the Ukrainian offensive goes ahead, “fighters and Western pilots painted in Ukrainian colors” will play a significant role.

Kyiv will require not only its own forces but also Western assistance in this offensive. As a result, it is expected that mercenary pilots will participate in this battle. Their main objective will be to cut off Russian communication in Crimea, ensuring a land advance. Western pilots with combat experience are expected to attack Russian armor and command centers in the region.

Returning to Lt. Col. Dan Hampton’s viewpoint, it strongly contrasts, but with an opposite indicator, with the viewpoint of Ukrainian pilot Lt. Col. Dmitry Vilhelmovich. In a video interview in 2022, he claims that the F-16’s performance and productivity are far inferior to his Su-27’s. He stated this after training on an American F-16.

It is worth noting that the Russian military aviation engineering standard is one. The Su-35, for example, has a similar design and integration but is far superior to the Su-27 model. “I flew the F-16 the first day, I loved the fighter. However, in terms of performance, it falls far short of the Su-27,” admits Lt. Col. Dmitry Vilhelmovich. It should be noted that the comparison is based on one of the characteristics that Russian aircraft are well-known for: maneuverability and close-combat capability.