Secretary Austin is a f.cking liar. Why? To protect the reputations of others as Defence Minister Lambrecht did when she inhibited the availability of stored Leopard tanks?
It's not two months since he claimed it would take eighteen months to convert Ukrainian pilots onto F-16s.
The USAFs assessment - conducted before that lie by Austin - was four months
So why did Austin lie to Congress about how long it would take? The time it would take obviously isn't the reason, but the real reason is clearly something the administration are ashamed of. Are they still believing Russia's b.llsh.t about so-called "red lines"? Storm Shadow was a redline. They threatened a military response. Then a few days later they claimed it wouldn't really make much difference - the usual thing they can't respond and don't want to admit that they can't respond. Modern western MBTs were a "red line" right up until they were sent, then magically no better than a T-62 meaning Russia didn't have to conduct a response they couldn't survive. HIMARS was a "red line" right up until they were sent, then magically no better than a BM-27 Uragan meaning Russia didn't have to conduct a response they couldn't survive.
That assessment ended mid March. Ukrainians could have been in F-16s in two months time if the US foreign policy establishment were not packed to the brim with cowards. They are - per reports - still taking seriously Russian b.llsh.t about "red lines" while our own government is setting them, with the likes of Sullivan emitting nonsense about "world war three" as if Russia - unable to capture the 56th biggest city in Ukraine after nine and a half months - could be a threat to the USA.
Why does it matter? Well, Russian aircraft still threaten Ukraine, especially with glide bombs. AIM-120 AMRAAMs from the late C-block or D-block would deny them the ability to do that without exposing the F-16s to much danger. They'd be able to push the Su-34 SEAD patrols well back past the border to protect Ukrainian air defence. They'd be able to launch standoff munitions against Russian logistics and C3. And while I believe AAMs were used recently, anything that tries to launch a western AAM from a Warsaw Pact aircraft will be a lashup less effective than just launching them from a western aircraft.
There seems to be an attitude that's developed that the best way to end a war is by negotiations. The problem is that doesn't really work in a conflict like this one, a rare example of completely one-sided aggression. And to corollary to the desirable to end by negotiations bit is the need for neither side to be able to achieve all their goals by force. While it would be better if the Russian army saw sense and left Ukraine - all of Ukraine's internationally recognised borders - it may be necessary to drive them every inch of the way by force, and that is a less bad scenario than Russia holding as much as a square inch of Ukraine's internationally recognised territory. The precedent that sets would, at the bare minimum, embolden the fascists in Beijing.