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Netherlands completes export license for 24 F-16s, jets to reach Ukraine 'soon'

by Abbey Fenbert and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 2, 2024 2:11 AM 1 min read
An F-16 jet performs during the Air Show in Radom, Poland on Aug. 26, 2023. (Jakub Porzycki/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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The Netherlands has finalized export licenses for the fleet of F-16 fighter jets that will be delivered to Ukraine, Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren announced on July 1.

The Netherlands has pledged to deliver 24 of its fourth-generation U.S.-made jets to Ukraine as Kyiv seeks to bolster its Air Force. Denmark, Belgium, and Norway have promised  additional F-16s.

"(D)elivery of the first aircraft will proceed soon," Ollongren said.

The defense minister did not disclose the exact date or other delivery details, citing "operational security" concerns. The announcement confirmed that export licenses for the aircraft had been issued.

Ollongren told the media in June that the Dutch F-16s would reach Ukraine at some point in the summer. Previous projections were more pessimistic, suggesting a fall delivery date.

The jets will arrive a year after Denmark and the Netherlands co-founded the "fighter-jet coalition" for Ukraine at the NATO summit in Vilnius in July 2023.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said on July 1 that Ukraine expects to expand and strengthen its air defense capacities in the coming month.  

Politico: Democrats urge Pentagon to train more Ukrainian F-16 pilots
House Democrats say in a letter obtained by Politico that Kyiv “will have more F-16 aircraft than they will have qualified pilots to fly them by the end of the year,” which “threatens to undermine the strategic advantages” that these aircraft can provide to Ukraine.

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