Netherlands Commits 24 F-16s as Part of 10 Year Security Pact with Ukraine

Netherlands has prepared 24 F-16s for delivery
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  • 11:52 AM, February 26, 2024
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Netherlands Commits 24 F-16s as Part of 10 Year Security Pact with Ukraine
Dutch F-16A Block 15

The Netherlands has pledged to dispatch 24 F-16s to Ukraine as a crucial component of its decade-long security agreement with the nation.

Announced during the NATO summit in Vilnius on 12 July last year, the agreement mirrors G7 countries' security arrangements with Ukraine. Ongoing negotiations aim to finalize details, covering medium and long-term military support, collaboration for defense industry enhancement, and initiatives to fortify Ukraine's cyber resilience and interoperability with NATO forces.

Leading the air force coalition of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group (UDCG) with Denmark and the United States, the Netherlands has prepared 24 F-16s for delivery, supported by a comprehensive package for operational readiness. Additionally, the Netherlands contributed to 24 training courses, with over 35,000 Ukrainian service members trained, and ongoing training for navy personnel.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte had previously announced on December 22, 2023, the preparation of an initial batch of 18 F-16s for delivery to Ukraine. Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said earlier this month that the Netherlands is set to dispatch an additional six U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. These six additional F-16s became available for Ukraine due to the cancellation of an agreement to sell these planes to the Draken International company.

Denmark, Norway, and Belgium have also pledged to contribute F-16 jets to Ukraine, although the precise number of aircraft remains undisclosed. Denmark committed to providing 19 F-16s in mid-August 2023, with the first batch of six expected to be delivered in the spring of 2024 and the remaining jets scheduled for delivery by 2025. Belgium aims to send its promised jets in 2025, while Norway is expected to dispatch between five and ten planes. Ukraine could have operational F-16s by late spring or early summer this year. However, officials from Denmark and the Netherlands have emphasized that the delivery schedule hinges on the readiness of Ukraine's infrastructure and its pilots, among other factors.

Ollongren stressed that Ukraine's fight is not only for its own freedom but also for Europe's. The security agreement solidifies a shared commitment for the next decade, ensuring sustained support. The Netherlands, in collaboration with international partners, actively assists Ukraine in IT infrastructure strengthening and provides diverse training for Ukrainian defense personnel.

The agreement also sends a strong signal to the Kremlin. The government disclosed in a letter to the House of Representatives that the Netherlands has contributed over €2.8 billion in military support, including financial contributions, direct deliveries of weapons, ammunition, and materiel, coordinated with Ukraine and allies. Minister Ollongren acknowledged Ukraine's sacrifices and challenges, emphasizing the need to defeat Russia. She expressed concern about conditions in occupied areas and highlighted the atrocities in liberated regions.

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