Ukraine may receive F-16 by year end, ISW says
Ukraine, according to the Estonian Defense Ministry, is likely to receive the first batch of F-16 fighters by the end of 2023
This was reported by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
American analysts recalled that Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte confirmed on December 22 during a telephone conversation with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that the Dutch government would prepare the first 18 F-16 fighters for delivery to Ukraine.
"While Rutte did not confirm the timeline for F-16 delivery, a recent Estonian Ministry of Defense strategy document stated that the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and Belgium have already committed to donating F-16s to Ukraine "before the end of the year ," ISW analysts conclude.
F-16 fighters for Ukraine: what is known
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.
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says that the first F-16 fighter jets are likely to fly in Ukraine's skies by the end of March 2024.
On August 17, the United States approved the shipment of F-16 multi-role fighters to Ukraine.
At the same time, Denmark said it would supply Ukraine with the aircraft if they were not used in Russia.
On September 15, Belgium joined the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16s. The Belgian Defense Ministry had previously said it would not provide Ukraine with F-16 fighters, but later the government suggested that several F-16s might be delivered to Ukraine next year. In 2024, the Netherlands plans to provide Ukraine with the first batch of F-16 fighters.
On October 11, Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen said that the country would be able to deliver the first F-16s to Ukraine in March-April 2024.
On October 12, it is reported that the Netherlands will send F-16s to Romania, where Ukrainian pilots will begin training in a few weeks.
On October 26, Ukrainian pilots began flight training on F-16 fighter jets at an air base in Arizona, USA.
On November 1, the Pentagon said that the training in Arizona could last from 5 to 9 months.
On November 7, five Dutch F-16 fighter jets arrived in Romania, where a training center will soon open to train Ukrainian and Romanian pilots.
Ukraine's Defense Minister Rustem Umerov met with his Belgian counterpart, Ludivine Dedonder, to discuss the transfer of F-16s to Ukraine and pilot training.
On December 22, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that the Netherlands had begun preparations to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets.