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Netherlands MoD: Five Dutch F-16s en route to Romania for Ukrainian pilot training

Five Dutch F-16 fighter jets headed to Romania’s training center to train Romanian instructors and Ukrainian pilots in NATO airspace, as Dutch, Danish, and US collaboration enables Ukraine’s F-16 capabilities.
The Netherlands’ F-16. Credit:
Netherlands MoD: Five Dutch F-16s en route to Romania for Ukrainian pilot training

On 7 November, the Defense Ministry of the Netherlands reported that five Dutch F-16 fighters were at the time on their way to the European F-16 Training Center (EFTC) in Romania. The aircraft are intended to train Romanian and Ukrainian pilots. 

The Netherlands took the initiative to set up the EFTC and is making 12 to 18 F-16s available for this purpose, but the fighter jets will remain under Dutch ownership, the ministry noted.

This collaborative effort involves the leadership of the Netherlands, Denmark, and support from the United States, aiming to coordinate European efforts to enable F-16 capabilities for Ukraine.

Earlier announcements suggested that Lockheed Martin would provide training and aircraft maintenance services as part of this initiative.

The training center in Romania will first use the aircraft for refresher training of the hired F-16 instructors. This will be followed by Ukrainian pilot training, exclusively within NATO airspace.

“The ceremonial opening of the training center will follow soon,” the ministry wrote.

Earlier, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that F-16 jets for Ukraine were soon to arrive in Romania, meaning the training course start for Ukrainian pilots.

Ukraine’s Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat said that Kyiv expected to receive the first F-16 fighter jets in spring 2024 but the exact date of the transfer remained unknown.


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