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How many F-16s will Ukraine receive and when?

3 January, 2024 Wednesday
20:00

Defense Express editor-in-chief Oleh Katkov says that the supply of F-16s to Ukraine is a long-term program that will last for years

He said this on Espreso TV.

"Indeed, we will be waiting for years for F-16s because the aircraft will be delivered to Ukraine gradually. And this is the implementation of the program. Norway is currently sending two F-16s to Denmark to train Ukrainian pilots. Ten instructors will also be sent along with the two-seat version of the aircraft. The Norwegian newspaper writes that all the planes will be in Denmark no earlier than spring, and possibly in the summer. Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte announced the transfer of 18 fighter jets to Ukraine at once," Katkov explained.

According to the Defense Express editor-in-chief, this is a program that provides F-16s to Ukraine from donor countries, which replace them with F-35s.

"But some donor countries will be able to start delivering F-16s much later. For example, Belgium reported the possibility of delivering only the first few aircraft in 2025. A Norwegian publication noted that Ukraine could receive up to a hundred aircraft. This means that absolutely all F-16s available in the announced donor countries will be transferred. This is a significant number of aircraft that require a large number of pilots and ground personnel to be trained. Supplying Ukraine with F-16s is not a short-term task. This is one of the largest rearmament programs in Ukraine," Katkov added.

What is known about F-16 for Ukraine

On May 21, US President Joe Biden approved the training of Ukrainians on F-16s. Volodymyr Zelenskyy assured that Ukraine would not use these aircraft to strike at Russian territory. 

At the same time, Denmark said it would supply Ukraine with the aircraft if they were not used in Russia. 

The Netherlands will provide 42 fighter jets. At the same time, Norway will provide Ukraine with F-16s, but the exact number is unknown.

On September 15, Belgium joined the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16s. Earlier, the Belgian Defense Ministry said it would not provide Ukraine with F-16 fighters because they are outdated and in poor condition. Such aircraft are dangerous to operate.

According to the Estonian Defense Ministry, Ukraine was likely to receive the first batch of F-16 fighters by the end of 2023.

On December 26, the first group of Ukrainian pilots completed their basic F-16 training in the UK and are now training to fly the fighter jets in Denmark.

Norwegian Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram has announced that two F-16 fighter jets will be sent to Denmark to contribute to training Ukrainian pilots in the use of the aircraft.

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