Ukraine receives devastating news about the F-16

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The delivery of the first Danish F-16 fighter jets bound for Ukraine could be delayed by up to six months, damaging kyiv’s hopes of challenging Russia in the air in early 2024.

Ukraine will receive the initial six fighter jets in the second quarter of 2024, rather than in the first days of the year as originally suggested, according to Denmark’s Defense Ministry.

“According to the current schedule, the donation should take place in the second quarter of 2024. It is mainly about finishing the training of Ukrainian personnel who will operate the planes,” Copenhagen said in a statement cited by He guardian and the Kyiv Post.

The schedule change was originally reported by Danish media. Berlingske. A Ukrainian air force spokesman appeared to suggest shortly afterward that Ukraine had not received official confirmation of the reports and was expecting to receive the planes in the spring.

news week has contacted the Danish Ministry of Defense and the Ukrainian Air Force for comment via email.

Danish F-16 fighters
Danish F-16 fighters are seen during the Danish Airshow 2014 at Karup Air Base June 22, 2014. Delivery of the first Danish F-16 fighter jets bound for Ukraine will be delayed by up to six months, according to a new report, in a blow to kyiv’s hopes of challenging Russia in the air in early 2024.

In August 2023, Denmark and the Netherlands announced that they would send F-16s to Ukraine, with the first six fighter jets arriving in Ukraine around the New Year.

kyiv had clamored for the planes, which would boost Ukraine’s ability to compete with Russia in the skies and help launch more strikes against key targets. The F-16s are equipped with more modern avionics and radars and are designed to launch NATO-standard weapons that Ukraine has been using with its older Soviet-era aircraft.

Ukraine’s air force has also weathered nearly two years of war against Russia, reducing its available aircraft.

But integrating the new, more advanced platform is no easy task, requiring new facilities, training, infrastructure and upgrades to the aircraft before Ukrainian pilots can take to the skies.

On December 22, the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky He said the Dutch government was beginning preparations to deliver a batch of 18 F-16 aircraft to Ukraine.

“The delivery of the F-16s is one of the most important elements of the agreements reached on military support to Ukraine,” said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Norway said earlier this week it will send two F-16 fighter jets to Denmark to help train Ukrainian pilots on the aircraft. Belgium will also send two F-16s to Denmark for training Ukrainian pilots throughout 2024, Belgian broadcaster RTBF reported on Thursday.

The UK Ministry of Defense said in late December that the “first cohort” of Ukrainian pilots trained by the UK military have completed their basic training in the country and are “now learning to fly F-16 fighter jets in Denmark, after having completed a basic course.” training program in the UK.”

At the beginning of Novemberseveral F-16s arrived at a Romanian facility designed to train Ukrainian pilots, and others were trained at an air base in Arizona.