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Denmark expects to deliver F-16 jets to Ukraine in spring 2024

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 11, 2023 11:31 PM 2 min read
F-16 fighter jet is displayed at the Skydstrup Air Base on Aug. 20 in Vojens, Denmark, where Ukrainian pilots and technical staff started training to operate them. (AFP via Getty Images)
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Denmark expects to deliver the first F-16s to Ukraine in the spring of 2024, Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen told the press in Brussels on Oct. 11.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers, Poulsen said that Denmark expects to be able to donate the aircraft "in March or April."

However, "there is a lot of work" ahead to ensure Ukrainian pilots receive enough training in how to operate and maintain the aircraft.

The delivery date "depends on how the training effort goes," Poulsen said.

The same day, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also said that Ukraine could receive F-16 fighter jets as early as spring of next year.

‎This Week in Ukraine: F-16s and the irrational politics of military aid on Apple Podcasts
‎Show This Week in Ukraine, Ep F-16s and the irrational politics of military aid - Aug 25, 2023

"The earliest is next spring when we can begin to see additional capability," Austin said in response to a question from the Kyiv Independent during a press conference at the NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Denmark and the Netherlands are leading the allied efforts to provide Ukraine with the fourth-generation F-16 jets.

The "fighter jet coalition" to provide training for Ukrainian pilots and technical staff was officially established in July by the two countries, as well as Belgium, Canada, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Since then, other nations, such as the U.S., Greece, or Bulgaria, have also pledged to assist with the training efforts.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said in August that Ukraine would receive 42 F-16s after reaching an agreement with the Netherlands, adding that "this is just the beginning."

Denmark pledged to provide 19 of its aircraft to bolster the Ukrainian Air Force.

On Oct. 9, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said that Denmark is working to "expand and deepen" the coalition of countries willing to provide Ukraine with F-16 aircraft.

Belgium to provide Ukraine with F-16 jets from 2025
The minister did not specify the number of the planes Belgium intends to send but said that the transfer will depend on “the build-up of our new F-35 capabilities.”
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