Belgium will deliver 30 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine

Ukraine is promised F-16s, but once again, there may be delays based on two main factors

Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, right, and Belgium's Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder, left, pose with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky in front of an F-16 at Melsbroek Air Base in Brussels, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

A 10-year bilateral security agreement was signed on Tuesday by Ukraine and Belgium, which includes the delivery of 30 F-16 fighter jets to Kyiv. The agreement was signed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

“The document includes at least €977 million in Belgian military aid to Ukraine this year, as well as Belgium’s commitment to provide support over the 10 years of the agreement,” Zelensky wrote in a post on the social media platform X.

The security agreement mentions “for the first time” that the number of F-16s Ukraine will receive will be 30, with the first arriving this year, Zelensky said. Earlier, Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib announced that “we will immediately sign an agreement committing Belgium to deliver 30 F-16s by 2028” to support Ukraine in its war with Russia.

“We hope to have deliveries starting at the end of this year,” she told a Belgian radio station. Belgium is participating in a “coalition” with other European countries, such as the Netherlands and Denmark, to send F-16s to Ukraine and, during the first stage, to train Ukrainian pilots to operate the aircraft.

Last week, the Belgian Ministry of Defense explained that the delivery of the planes depends on two factors. First, Belgium will await the arrival of F-35 fighter jets meant to replace the F-16 fleet, and second, various spare parts are needed to restore the Belgian F-16s to operational status, as they are now grounded for maintenance.

Belgium has 24 F-35 fighters on order from the United States.

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