Training of Ukrainian F-16 pilots to start in the coming months

News item | 15-06-2023 | 17:00

According to a letter sent today by Netherlands Minister of Defence Kajsa Ollongren to the House of Representatives, the Netherlands and a number of other European countries are working to ensure that the training of Ukrainian pilots to fly the F-16 can start as soon as possible. To this end, a training centre is being set up in an eastern European NATO member state. Furthermore, the Netherlands is again contributing to the strengthening of Ukraine’s air defence.

Enlarge image F-16's in de lucht.

Minister Ollongren sent the letter also on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.

The Netherlands Ministry of Defence is working on a plan for the provision of F-16 training to Ukrainian pilots. Together with Denmark and with the support of the United States, the Netherlands has been tasked with coordinating European efforts in this area. The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, members of the industrial sector and other parties are currently working on the content of the F-16 training courses.

The plan consists of 3 elements:

  1. Provision of the first F-16 conversion training courses for Ukrainian pilots as soon as possible,
  2. Language proficiency and initial, or basic, flight training, and
  3. The establishment of an F-16 training centre in an eastern European NATO member state.

The plan will ensure that needs continue to be met also in the longer term.

Training will initially be provided to a limited number of Ukrainian pilots. The number may increase in the future.

Contribution to Ukraine’s air defence

The war in Ukraine reached a new low when the Nova Kakhovka dam was destroyed. Furthermore, Russia is continuing to fire on Ukrainian civilian and military targets from the air. This again resulted in deaths and injuries yesterday and today. Strengthening Ukraine’s air defence therefore remains important. Together with its allies, the Netherlands is contributing to these efforts.

The International Fund for Ukraine (IFU) will make € 92 million available for air defence. The expectation is that this will happen before the end of the year. The defence ministers of the Joint Expeditionary Force announced this measure on 13 June. In addition, during the Ukraine Defence Contact Group (UDCG) meeting on 15 June, it was announced that the Netherlands will be making € 40 million available for the purchase, in a multilateral partnership, of air defence equipment that will be delivered to Ukraine in the very short term.

Radar systems

Furthermore, the Netherlands Ministry of Defence will purchase four VERA-EG passive radar systems at the cost of € 150 million. This radar system can detect, locate, track and identify targets in the air, on land and at sea. The Netherlands will therefore be contributing to Ukraine’s integrated air defence. These capabilities will be in addition to those already delivered.



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