Ukraine won’t receive Dutch F-16 fighter jets until end of 2024

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

Ukraine will have to wait for the promised Dutch F-16 jet aircraft until the end of next year, as some of the planes are currently still in active duty in the Netherlands, Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet reports.

“The Dutch Air Force will first have to switch to the new F-35, a process that could take until the end of next year,” a spokesman for the Dutch Ministry of Defense told the NRC Handelsblatt newspaper on Tuesday.

As Remix News reported recently, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has secured a promise of up to 61 F-16 fighter aircraft from Denmark and the Netherlands during his latest Western European tour for support. The first six aircraft are expected around the new year.

According to NRC Handelsblatt, the Netherlands does have 42 F-16s, but none are immediately available. At Volkel Air Base, one of the Netherlands’ main military airfields, the air force continues to use 24 F-16s to monitor Benelux airspace. “These aircraft can only be delivered to Ukraine when the F-35s take their place,” a defense spokesman told NRC.

The spokesman said the transition to F-35s could happen more quickly if training and other prerequisites go well, but confirmed that the process would still take several months.

In addition to the F-16s in service, the Dutch air defense has 18 such aircraft in reserve. Twelve of these were to be sold to the U.S. defense company Draken International, but this was scuppered by a dispute over the maintenance status of the aircraft. The defense ministry is now examining whether the two-seater aircraft could be used to train Ukrainian pilots in Denmark and Romania.

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