The Netherlands is preparing to send Ukraine an additional six U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets, Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren announced on Feb. 5.
This brings the total number of jets pledged to Ukraine by the Netherlands to 24.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Dec. 22 that the Netherlands was preparing the initial batch of 18 F-16s for delivery to Ukraine. There have been no updates on the status of those 18 jets since then.
Ollongren didn’t provide any details on the delivery schedule.
“Ukraine’s aerial superiority is essential for countering Russian aggression,” Ollongren said on X (formerly Twitter).
In a separate announcement, the Dutch Defense Ministry explained that the six additional jets became available for Ukraine since an agreement to sell these planes to the Draken International company was canceled.
The Netherlands has another 18 F-16 aircraft in its arsenal, but it is giving them all for an F-16 training center in Romania. The Dutch Air Force is transitioning to more advanced F-35 fighter jets.
Denmark, Norway, and Belgium have also pledged to provide Ukraine with some of its F-16 jets. The exact number of the jets to be delivered has not yet been announced.
Experts told the Kyiv Independent that Ukraine will likely have at least some F-16s operational in late spring or early summer.
Danish and Dutch officials have said the delivery schedule depends on the readiness of Ukraine’s infrastructure and pilots, among other factors.
Ukrainian pilots and technicians continue their training on F-16s in several European countries and the U.S., with the latter expected to complete later in 2024.