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Canada allocates $44 million to support Ukraine's future F-16 fleet

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 14, 2024 6:07 PM 2 min read
An F-16 fighter jet lands at the 86th Romanian Military Airbase in Fetesti, Romania, on Nov. 13, 2023. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Andrei Pungovschi/AFP via Getty Images)
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Canada has allocated $44 million to support Ukraine set up its fleet of F-16 fighter jets, Canadian Defense Minister Bill Blair said on Feb. 14.

The announcement was made during the 19th Ramstein-format meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG), which is being held in a hybrid format in-person in Brussels and online.

According to Canada's Defense Ministry, the allocation is part of the 500 million Canadian dollar ($368 million) package for Ukraine that Canada announced in June 2023.

The $44 million will go toward equipment such as "spare parts, weapons stations, avionics, and ammunition," the Canadian Defense Ministry said.

Canada will also "contribute to training efforts by providing civilian instructors, planes, and support staff contracted from Montreal-based Top Aces Inc.," as well as providing English language training to Ukrainian Air Force personnel.

The training support is valued at 15 million Canadian dollars ($11 million) and "will last from February 2024 into 2025."

The training of Ukrainian pilots began in Denmark this August in partnership with other nations of the "fighter jet coalition," led by the Netherlands and Denmark.

Washington later announced that it would launch its own training sessions for Ukrainian aviators in October. A training center for Ukrainian F-16 pilots officially opened in Romania on Nov. 13, 2023.

The first Ukrainian pilots are expected to have completed their F-16 training by the end of 2023 and will be able to fly the jets in Ukraine by the spring or summer of 2024.

Denmark, Norway, and Belgium have agreed to supply their own F-16 aircraft to bolster Ukraine's Air Force.

The Netherlands announced on Feb. 5 that the country is preparing to send Ukraine an additional six U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. This brings the total number of jets pledged to Ukraine by the Netherlands to 24.

The total number of the jets to be delivered has not yet been announced, but The Telegraph estimated that Ukraine may receive as many as 60 F-16s.

F-16s for Ukraine: When will they arrive and what can they do?
The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is an American air superiority fighter that Kyiv has begged for since the start of the full-scale invasion and is expected to finally start receiving this year. It’s a versatile workhorse of a jet that’s fought in dozens of wars and is
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