Ukraine to welcome first F-16 fighter jet by summer— Belgian PM

F-16 для України в Нідерландах
F-16 для України в Нідерландах

The first multi-role F-16 fighter jet with trained Ukrainian pilots is set to touch down in Ukraine by the summer of 2024, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced during a press conference on April 18.

De Croo emphasized Belgium's significant role in training Ukrainian pilots, highlighting the move as a boost to Ukraine's air defense capabilities.

Read also: Ukraine’s F-16 pilots near completion, sharpening skills to target Shahed UAVs and missiles

"F-16 fighter jets represent a substantial upgrade for Ukraine's military, and Belgium plays a crucial role here because we ensure that Ukrainian pilots are trained," De Croo stated.

F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine

The United States has authorized Denmark and the Netherlands to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets. This was confirmed when the Netherlands and Denmark announced they would provide Ukraine with 61 F-16 aircraft — 42 and 19, respectively, on Aug. 20, 2023.

Norway and Belgium have also confirmed their intentions to supply F-16 jets to Ukraine, with Belgium's contributions starting in 2025.

Read also: F-16 no ‘silver bullet’ for Ukraine against Russia — Stoltenberg

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry reported on Jan. 10 that Ukrainian pilots are still being trained on F-16 fighters in different programs worldwide.

Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said on March 20 that Ukraine would receive its first F-16 fighter jets this summer, with the first batch of aircraft coming from Denmark.

The UK government announced on March 22 that the first 10 Ukrainian pilots had completed basic flight, ground, and language training on F-16 fighters in Britain. The military will now move on to advanced flight training provided by the French Air Force.

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Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on March 27 that Western F-16 fighter jets should appear in Ukraine's skies in mid-summer.

Media reported on April 2 that Greece may send 32 F-16C/D Block 30 fighters to Ukraine. They have undergone two modernizations and have reached 60% of their service life. Greece may also transfer 24 Mirage 2000-5 Mk2 aircraft to Ukraine or sell them to India with the permission of France.

Norway will transfer F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry capable of striking along the front lines, Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said on April 15.

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