Netherlands open to supplying F-16 fighters to Ukraine if requested

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The Dutch government has said it is ready to consider the delivery of F-16 fighters to Ukraine with an “open mind.” 

The position was expressed by Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra on January 19, 2022, a day before a meeting of the U.S.-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group in Ramstein, Germany.  

Hoekstra added that there were “no taboos” for the Dutch authorities regarding the delivery of equipment to Ukraine, local media RTL Nieuws reported. 

The Koninklijke Luchtmacht is currently phasing out its fleet of F-16A fighters, progressively replacing them with 52 F-35A stealth fighters. 12 Dutch F-16s have already been sold to Draken International, a US-based private company providing realistic training to fighter pilots. 

The delivery of fighter jets to Ukraine: a controversial issue 

Since the beginning of the invasion of their country by Russia, Ukrainian leaders have requested that Western nations supply them with modern warplanes.  

The delivery of F-16 would undoubtedly be subject to the approval of the United States, their country of manufacture. Though the Biden administration was initially reluctant, the United States House of Representatives earmarked $100 million for training Ukrainian pilots to fly US combat aircraft in July 2022.  

Other nations said they were ready to transfer Soviet-era aircraft already operated by the Ukrainian Air Force. Slovakia agreed to deliver its 11 MiG-29 fighter jets on the condition that Poland and Czechia protect its airspace until it receives Lockheed Martin F-16s sometime in 2023. 

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