14:21 15 Apr 2024

United to win: Norway commits to supplying Ukraine with advanced F-16 fighters capable of striking beyond front line

F-16 Fighting Falcon

The Fighter Jet Coalition plans to transfer many F16 fighter jets to Ukraine, equipped with the latest weapons to strike behind enemy lines.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway, Espen Barth Eide, stated this at a joint briefing with the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba.

"I am convinced Ukraine should also strengthen its strike potential by striking behind the front line. And this is one of the reasons we are delighted to join the F-16 coalition, where we will transfer Norwegian F-16s, which are updated and in good shape," he said.

According to him, Norway, together with Danish and Dutch colleagues, conducts training of Ukrainian pilots.

"And maybe there will be even more long-range strike capabilities, which are very important for Ukraine now," he added.

Answering media questions about the number of planes, Eide noted that Norway is currently cooperating with Denmark, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

"There will be a significant number. When you ask how much will be from Norway [F-16—ed.], I cannot tell you the exact number because there are also updated planes in better combat shape and some fuselages that can be used, including for repairs. I will be careful here. I will not say the exact amount," he said.

Eide said that he has experience in defense and knows that the F-16 is a very powerful platform, and everything depends on how it is equipped.

"Because this is a very advanced technological platform, but the most important thing is also a weapons system that can be hung on the platform. Therefore, it will be a significant contribution together as a system. Therefore, the planes capable of flying will be equipped with the latest weapons," the minister added.

It is worth noting that the Commander-in-Chief of the NATO Joint Forces in Europe, General Christopher Cavoli, mentioned the difficulties in training Ukrainian pilots on the F-16. The American general also emphasized the importance of fighter jets for Ukraine.

For reference:

On August 20, 2023, the Netherlands and Denmark agreed to transfer F-16 aircraft to Ukraine after training Ukrainian pilots.

In particular, Ukraine will receive 42 American F-16 fighter jets from the Netherlands and 19 aircraft from Denmark.

In late September, the Air Force unveiled a video showcasing how pilots acclimated to the F–16 in Ukraine. They became proficient in operating American F–16 fighter jets by practicing on a flight simulator.

The US Air Force reported that a few Ukrainian pilots started receiving training in the fundamentals of the F–16 at the 162nd Aviation Unit of the Arizona National Guard at the end of October.

In November, the first F-16s for training pilots from Ukraine, which the Netherlands previously sent, arrived at the training center in Romania.

It is worth adding that on February 5, 2024, the Netherlands decided to transfer six more F-16 fighters to Ukraine than initially planned. Six aircraft planned for sale will be added to the 18 aircraft.

In his turn, at the end of March, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, said that Ukraine should receive Western F-16 fighter jets according to previously established plans and schedules.

It should be added that Ukrainian pilots who are trained on F-16 fighter jets in Denmark and the United States are already practicing the tasks they will face in Ukraine, in particular, striking missiles and missiles.

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