The Netherlands and Denmark will supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets to enhance the country’s combat capabilities against the ongoing Russian military aggression.
American and European officials have confirmed that the U.S. authorized the F-16 donations but noted that Ukrainian pilots should first undergo six to eight months of training prior before the aircraft are deployed for combat. Delivery of the fighter jets needs approval from the United States since the air vehicle is produced by Lockheed Martin and uses technologies from other U.S.-based companies.
The training will commence in the coming weeks. In July, 11 Western countries committed to supporting F-16 training for Ukrainian pilots, Defense News reported.
Kyiv has been requesting the F-16 jets, acknowledging that Russia dominates the airspace over the battle area. According to Capt. Yevgen Rakita, a spokesman for Ukraine’s 18th Army Aviation Brigade, his country continues to employ Soviet-era fighter jet models that may not withstand Russian air-to-air missile attacks.
Denmark said the F-16 transfer to Ukraine will commence following the arrival of F-35 jet fighters, which are expected to be delivered beginning on Oct. 1.