Ukraine’s Air force will be receiving 61 F-16 fighters from Denmark and the Netherlands of which the former has agreed to send 19 aircraft.
The Netherlands could transfer up to 42 F-16s to battle-ravaged Ukraine.
“Today we are taking another step to strengthen Ukraine's air defense. F-16. (Dutch Prime Minister) Mark Rutte and I agreed on the number of F-16s that will be provided to Ukraine - after training our pilots and engineers. 42 planes. And this is just the beginning,” Zelensky posted on Telegram.
While Rutte did not put a number on the Dutch donation, but said the Netherlands had 42 F-16s in its air force. The country is already in the process of replacing them with more advanced U.S.-made F-35s.
Denmark and the Netherlands together have about 87 aircraft, including those in storage.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said her country would provide 19 jets – “hopefully” six around new year, eight more next year and the remaining five in 2025.
F-16s will not be transferred until pilots and ground crews are properly trained. Learning pilot skills could take about six months, plus about another four months for the pilot crews to learn technical English to the required standard.
The Netherlands and Denmark have F-16AM (Block 20 MLU) fighter jets. This modernization is equivalent to Block 50/52. Modernization work was carried out on F-16A/B fighter aircraft to improve their specifications.
F-16AM (Block 20 MLU) fighter jets were able to use radar-guided air-to-air missiles and generally received improved specifications.