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Ukraine to position some of its future F-16s at foreign air bases

This will protect them from Russian strikes and create an operational reserve of aircraft.
Two Portuguese F-16AM-15MLU and a Canadian CF-18 Hornet protecting the Baltic States.
Ukraine to position some of its future F-16s at foreign air bases

To protect them from Russian strikes, some of the F-16 fighter jets provided to Ukraine by partner nations will be stationed at secure air bases abroad, said General Serhii Holubtsov, Chief of Aviation of Ukraine’s Air Force.

An aviation coalition consisting of the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and Belgium is set to equip Ukraine with advanced F-16s, with initial deliveries expected this summer.

“There is a certain number of aircraft [F16s] that will be stored at secure air bases outside of Ukraine to prevent them from becoming [Russian] targets here. This will be our reserve for replacing malfunctioning aircraft during scheduled maintenance. This is to ensure that we have a certain number of aircraft in our operational fleet that will correspond to the number of pilots we have,” Holubtsov told RFE/RL.

Additionally, some of these Ukrainian-owned jets will remain at Western training centers to train Ukrainian pilots and personnel.

While Holubtsov didn’t specify the exact number of F-16s Ukraine will receive, he expressed optimism that the quantity may increase over time.

“Almost all countries that have F-16s in service are gradually re-equipping themselves with F-35s. Therefore, there will be more of these aircraft. And they will probably also be offered to Ukraine,” noted Holubtsov.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy previously stated that Ukraine needs 120-130 aircraft to achieve air parity with Russia, aligning with the number of pledged F-16s. However, deliveries will be gradual, starting this summer and extending until 2028.

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