The Netherlands will likely send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine after the training of Ukrainian pilots is complete, according to two people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported.
The government of the Netherlands has been actively discussing the issue with US officials in the past weeks to press Biden’s administration to give the green light to deliver the aircraft that Ukraine requested, Bloomberg reported. After months of pressure from Kyiv and allied governments, US President Joe Biden announced last week that the US would support efforts to train Ukrainian pilots to use F-16 fighter jets.
Ukraine will not use F-16s to strike Russian territory, Biden says
The Netherlands and Denmark are leading the fighter jet coalition to train Ukrainian pilots, with the support of the UK and Belgium. According to Bloomberg, the government of the Netherlands discusses with its allies possible deployment plans to provide Ukraine with F-16s as soon as possible.
However, according to Bloomberg, pilot training and “mapping out deployment and logistics” could take many months.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry claims that four squadrons of F-16s (48 aircraft) would be enough for Ukraine to liberate all Russian-occupied territories.
At this point, what country will supply Ukraine with F-16s remains unclear. The US has the largest stockpile of F-16s (1,017 aircraft), while Türkiye has the most F-16s (243 aircraft) among all NATO countries after the US. Israel (224), Egypt (218), South Korea (167), Greece (153), and Taiwan (136) come next.
The Netherlands currently has 42 F-16 fighter jets in its inventory, 24 of which are presently being used by the Dutch army and cannot be sent to Ukraine until mid-2024. A dozen of the other 18 jets were to be sold to Draken International. Still, the government delayed the aircraft transfer in December 2022 without disclosing an explanation, according to Bloomberg.
- Norway to take part in training Ukrainian F-16 pilots – Minister
- Ukraine F-16 pilot training has not yet begun, only preparations are underway – Air Force spox
- Ukraine F-16 training has begun in Poland, says EU’s Borrell – France 24
- Denmark joins Ukraine’s F-16 fighter jet coalition
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Tags: F-16, military aid to Ukraine, Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ukraine