According to an official Telegram post by Ukrainian President Zelensky, Dutch Prime Minister Rutte has pledged 42 F-16 fighters to Ukraine. President Zelensky arrived at The Hague approximately two hours ago and was shown the aircraft. The announcement reads below:
”Today we are taking another step to strengthen Ukraine’s air defense. F-16.
The planes we will use to keep Russian terrorists away from Ukrainian cities and villages.
Mark Rutte and I agreed on the number of F-16s that will be provided to Ukraine – after training our pilots and engineers. 42 planes. And this is just the beginning.
Thank you, Netherlands!”
Currently, the Royal Netherlands Air Force has (24) F-16AM (Block 20 MLU) in its inventory, signaling the other 18 will come from partner nations. The United States approved a transfer of F-16s from the Netherlands and Denmark.
The addition of F-16s to the Ukrainian Air Force inventory will significantly increase its air-to-air capability as its aging fleet of MiG-29s and Su-27s have been degraded by Russian airstrikes and shoot downs. However, the transportation and storage of these aircraft to Ukraine presents significant challenges as the Russian Federation continues to prove its ability to strike Ukrainian airfields deep in the country.
On 17 September 2013 the F-35A was officially selected as the replacement for the Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 MLU, the Ministry of Defense announced that it will buy 35 additional F-35As between 2014 and 2023, bringing the total to 37, the maximum number fitting the original budget for F-16 replacement. In February 2014 Parliament approved the purchase of the first batch of eight F-35 aircraft, to be delivered from 2019. The purchase of fifteen additional aircraft was announced by the Dutch government in December 2018 for a third squadron to NATO, totalling 52 jets, the first batch of nine additional aircraft was ordered in 2019. In 2022 the acquisition of six additional F-35s was announced to set up a third squadron as requested by NATO. (Wiki)