Netherlands may send F-16s to Ukraine after pilot training – media

KYIV. May 26 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The Netherlands is likely to send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine after pilot training, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing its own sources familiar with the matter.

“The Netherlands currently has 42 F-16 fighter jets in its inventory, 24 of which are currently 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 but the government delayed the transfer of the aircraft in December without disclosing an explanation, citing commercial confidentiality. Although the final decision on deployment has not yet been made, Ukraine may get some of the jets that are on sale or some of the currently operational 24 jets next year depending on the training timeline,” the report notes.

The publication emphasizes that the Netherlands maintains the airworthiness of all its F-16 aircraft through regular maintenance.

A spokeswoman for the Dutch defense ministry said Thursday the government would consider the possible delivery of F-16s to Ukraine at a later date. Pilot training is the priority now, she added. At the same time, the Netherlands, together with Denmark, is now leading a coalition for the training of Ukrainian pilots with the support of Great Britain and Belgium.

“The Dutch government is already looking into and discussing with its allies possible deployment plans, one of the people said. Despite the willingness of the Dutch government to help beef up Ukrainian air defenses as soon as possible, pilot training and mapping out deployment and logistics could take many months,” the publication reports.

According to the Dutch Ministry of Defense, to date the Netherlands has provided about EUR 1.6 billion of military aid to Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, including equipment for EUR 732 million.


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