The first American-made F16 fighter jets that the Netherlands is donating to Ukraine will arrive at the training center in Romania within two weeks

The first US-made F16 fighter jets that the Netherlands is donating to Ukraine will arrive at the training center in Romania within two weeks, acting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said earlier this week. „I expect Patriot missiles to be delivered soon to help Ukraine this coming winter, and the same applies to the F16,” Mark Rutte said during a video conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, posted on X, formerly Twitter, and quoted by The Guardian. For now, the number of planes deployed by the Netherlands for the center in Romania is not known. The Dutch Air Force operates 42 F16 fighter jets, and in mid-August Prime Minister Rutte pledged to donate some of them to Ukraine. Denmark, Norway and Belgium have also announced they will provide Kyiv with F16s.

Previously, on August 29, Romania, the Netherlands and the Lockheed Martin company had signed a letter of intent to establish a training center for the F16. It was designed as a regional center for NATO countries, based at Air Base 86 near Fetești (southern Romania), but which would also benefit Ukrainian pilots. In Toledo, Spain, where the informal meeting of the defense ministers of the European Union took place, the document was signed by Romania as the host country, by the Netherlands as the supplier of training aircraft and by the Lockheed Martin aircraft manufacturing company .

The establishment of the center at the 86th Air Base „Lieutenant aviator Gheorghe Mociorniță” is „intended to support the development of the skills of Romanian pilots in the operation of F16 aircraft” and „in the performance of a varied spectrum of strategic missions”, said the Romanian Minister of Defense, Angel Tîlvăr. But, „through this center, Romania is committed to providing a high-quality training environment, with access to technical resources and state-of-the-art know-how not only for Romanian pilots, but also for those from allied and partner states, including Ukraine”, added the minister, according to a statement issued by the Defense Ministry. In other words, Romania joins other allied nations, such as Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and Great Britain, in supporting the training of Ukrainian pilots for the future use of F16 aircraft. (Roxana Vasile, Radio Romania International)