Netherlands Boosts Military Aid to Ukraine with Six More F-16 Fighter Jets

Six extra jets available for Ukraine after canceling the agreement to sell them to Draken International: Dutch MoD
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 04:54 AM, February 6, 2024
  • 841
Netherlands Boosts Military Aid to Ukraine with Six More F-16 Fighter Jets
@Ukraine MoD

Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren revealed on Monday that the Netherlands is set to dispatch an additional six U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

This announcement amplifies the total number of pledged F-16s from the Netherlands to 24, as the country intensifies its support for Ukraine in countering Russian aggression.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte had previously announced on December 22, 2023, the preparation of an initial batch of 18 F-16s for delivery to Ukraine. However, there have been no recent updates on the status of these initial 18 jets. Minister Ollongren refrained from providing specific details regarding the delivery schedule for the latest batch of six aircraft.

"Ukraine’s aerial superiority is essential for countering Russian aggression," Ollongren emphasized in a statement posted on X (formerly Twitter).

In a separate announcement, the Dutch Defense Ministry clarified that the six additional F-16s became available for Ukraine due to the cancellation of an agreement to sell these planes to the Draken International company. The Netherlands possesses another 18 F-16 aircraft in its arsenal, all of which are earmarked for an F-16 training center in Romania, as the Dutch Air Force transitions to the more advanced F-35 fighter jets.

Denmark, Norway, and Belgium have also pledged to contribute F-16 jets to Ukraine, although the precise number of aircraft remains undisclosed. Denmark committed to providing 19 F-16s in mid-August 2023, with the first batch of six expected to be delivered in the spring of 2024 and the remaining jets scheduled for delivery by 2025. Belgium aims to send its promised jets in 2025, while Norway is expected to dispatch between five and ten planes.

Ukraine could have operational F-16s by late spring or early summer this year. However, officials from Denmark and the Netherlands have emphasized that the delivery schedule hinges on the readiness of Ukraine's infrastructure and its pilots, among other factors.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian pilots and technicians are actively engaged in F-16 training programs in various European countries and the United States. The training in the U.S. is expected to conclude later in 2024.

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