Defence to make first 18 F-16 fighter aircraft available to Ukraine

The Netherlands will make at least 18 F-16 fighter aircraft available to Ukraine. Minister of Defence Kajsa Ollongren informed the Netherlands House of Representatives of this today. The Netherlands committed itself to doing so during a visit by Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy earlier this year. Now that the cabinet has decided to ready the F-16s, personnel and budget can be allocated to prepare for the delivery.

This new decision was preceded by the undertaking to deliver F-16s to the European F-16 training centre in Romania. This centre was ceremonially opened last month by the Dutch and Romanian ministers of defence.

Ollongren explained that the F-16s will improve Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against Russian attacks.

This is of major importance because there seems to be no end in sight to Russia’s ongoing aggression. Dutch support for Ukraine will therefore continue unabated.


To prevent undesirable end use, a licence is required for the export of military technology and equipment. This requirement also applies to the F-16s in question.

The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs will therefore assess the aircraft in terms of the European Union’s criteria for arms exports. The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation will decide whether to grant an export licence on the basis of that assessment. 

In addition to this licensing, a number of criteria must be met before the aircraft can actually be delivered. These criteria include trained Ukrainian personnel and suitable infrastructure in Ukraine, for example.


Before being transferred to Ukraine, all aircraft will be inspected and, if necessary, modified. Furthermore, some of the aircraft require an overhaul.