The conflict in Ukraine has prompted a change of plans in the Netherlands' defense strategy. Initially, the Dutch had intended to sell F-16 fighter jets to American private company Draken International. Now, they seek to support Ukraine's military efforts.
Change of Plans: From Draken International to Ukraine
The Netherlands had originally planned to sell a minimum of twelve F-16 jets to Draken International, with a potential addition of twenty-eight more. It seems, however, that ongoing strife in Ukraine has altered the situation. The Dutch government has decided to offer their F-16s to the Ukrainian Air Force instead, marking the first time such an offer has been made.
Details of the Deal
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte did not specify how many jets would be delivered to Kiev. The Dutch Air Force currently owns 42 F-16s, including the six initially promised to Draken, of which 24 are operational.
Dutch Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren stated that these jets will not be withdrawn until they can be replaced by F-35A jets. This decision resulted in the cancellation of the sale of F-16 jets to Draken International, allowing the Netherlands to increase the number of jets to be delivered to Ukraine to 24.
Delivery Details Unknown
No set timeline has been provided regarding when the jets will be transferred to the Ukrainian Air Force. Meanwhile, Denmark has delayed the delivery of 19 F-16 jets previously promised to Kiev. This postponement was due to unmet conditions, including the training of pilots and mechanics, along with a shortage of spare parts.
Future Use of Dutch F-16 Jets
The remaining 18 Dutch F-16 jets will be utilized by the European F-16 Training Center. This newly established training center in Romania operates in partnership with Lockheed-Martin.