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Zelenskyy: Netherlands prepares to send the first of eighteen F-16s to Ukraine

F-16 is to become Ukraine’s main combat aircraft, according to Ukraine’s Air Force.
The Netherlands’ F-16. Credit: defensie.nl
Zelenskyy: Netherlands prepares to send the first of eighteen F-16s to Ukraine

The Dutch government will deliver 18 F-16 jets to Ukraine, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelesnkyy said on 22 December on X (Twitter)

Ukraine’s Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat said on October 2023 that Ukraine expected to receive the first F-16 fighter jets in spring 2024 but the exact date of the transfer remained unknown.

The Netherlands has 42 F-16 fighter jets in total, of which 24 are still in use. The Netherlands Air Force is transitioning to the F-35, also known as the JSF, so the F-16s are no longer needed.

During the phone call with Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, Zelenslyy thanked the Dutch government “for its decision to start preparing the initial 18 F-16 jets for their delivery to Ukraine,” Ukraine’s President wrote on social media. It is not yet known when exactly the planes could arrive in Ukraine.

Earlier, Western leaders were discussing the transfer of combat aircraft to Ukraine. After the G7 summit in May, the United States unblocked training for Ukrainian pilots in fighter jets. Subsequently, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Western allies would determine individually when to start training Ukrainian pilots on F-16s.

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

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