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Ukraines F-16 timeline revealed Politico

The delivery timetable remains “up in the air” ahead of the July NATO summit, sources told the outlet

NATO members supporting the Ukrainian war effort against Russia may begin supplying F-16 fighter jets to Kiev in early 2024, unnamed Western officials have told Politico. Romania may host the training of Ukrainian pilots, the news outlet reported earlier.

The issue of providing F-16s is expected to be among the topics discussed during the summit of NATO leaders in Lithuania next month. According to Politico’s National Security Daily newsletter from Friday, aircraft transfers may start next year, but the delivery timeline “remains up in the air.” The Netherlands and Denmark are the nations likely to supply the jets, according to the update.

The information comes from current and former Western military officials, who spoke to Politico on condition of anonymity. Earlier this week, the outlet reported that Romania will probably be chosen to host the training program for Ukrainian pilots selected to fly the F-16s. The instruction would be provided by Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the jets.


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Romania has a fleet of 17 F-16s that it acquired from Portugal and seeks to procure an additional 32 jets from Norway, according to Politico. The training for Ukrainian pilots is backed by a coalition of NATO members that includes Denmark, the Netherlands, UK, US, Portugal, Norway, and Belgium.

Ukrainian officials have for months been asking for Western aircraft in order to achieve air superiority and have identified the F-16 as their preferred model. Kiev has been successfully lobbying foreign donors to hand over an increasingly large array of military capabilities. Main battle tanks and long-range air-launched cruise missiles have been among the latest additions to the Ukrainian arsenal.

Skeptics point out that Ukraine does not have the ground infrastructure to host Western warplanes, so they would presumably be based in other nations. The airfields would risk Russian retaliation and a subsequent call for NATO members to use their own militaries in response.


Russian President Vladimir Putin has downplayed the boost that Kiev would get from Western aircraft. They “will burn” just like Western tanks are burning in the Ukrainian counteroffensive, he predicted last week.

June 23, 2023 at 04:59PM

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