Ukraine prepares airfields for F-16 fighter jets

F-16 of the Royal Netherlands Air Force training with the Arizona Air National Guard. (
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

Difficult and painstaking work is being carried out in Ukraine to prepare the airfield infrastructure to receive F-16 fighter jets, announced Ukrainian First Deputy Minister of Defense Lieutenant General Oleksandr Pavliuk on his Telegram channel.

According to Pavliuk, Ukraine is working on the implementation of a “fast track” by the end of 2024.

“Airfields for multi-role fighter jets have been assessed within its limits. Also, our pilots and engineers have been training on F-16s since August 2023 for a wide range of programs,” Pavliuk said.

He noted that training is carried out under conditions where there is constant wear on airfield infrastructure, and where engineers and pilots carry out combat missions around the clock.

Bloomberg reported that the arrival of the first six F-16 fighter jets from Denmark to Ukraine has been delayed by about half a year. In mid-August, Denmark pledged to supply Ukraine with 19 F-16 jets, with the first batch of six to have been delivered by the end of 2023 and the rest by 2025, as part of an allied effort to arm Ukraine in the face of Russia’s air superiority.

“According to the current schedule, the donation should be delivered in the second quarter of 2024,” the Danish Defence Ministry said in a press release to AFP. Meanwhile, Ukrainian pilots are currently being trained on Danish soil.

“This is mainly about completing the training of Ukrainian personnel who will operate the aircraft after this donation,” the release said.

Denmark, which is replacing its F-16s with state-of-the-art F-35s, has promised Ukraine 19 aircraft. The Netherlands, which is also training Ukrainian pilots, said it will donate 42 such aircraft but has not made its timetable public.

In his New Year’s message, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky assured that his country’s pilots have already mastered the aircraft, which he expects to see flying in Ukrainian skies this year.

“The timing of the training depends on a number of factors, such as material and weather conditions,” the Danish ministry warned.

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