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December 1, 2023 2:00 pm

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Dutch F-16s Arrive At European Training Centre To Train Ukrainian And Romanian Pilots

Dutch F-16 Ukraine


Dutch F-16 Ukraine
One of many F-16s within the hangar earlier than departing for Romania. (Picture: Dutch Minister of Protection)

The EFTC’s F-16s, which stay property of the Netherlands, can be used to coach Ukrainian and Romanian pilots.

The primary batch of 5 F-16s flew from the Netherlands to Romania earlier at present to be assigned to the brand new European F-16 Coaching Centre (EFTC) at Baza 86 Aeriana Fetesti in Romania. The plane, outfitted solely with exterior gas tanks, had been seen in few images with solely their serial quantity on the tail and subdued Dutch roundels, whereas the opposite markings have been eliminated.

The EFTC, introduced in August 2023 by Lockheed Martin and the governments of Romania and the Netherlands, will improve mission readiness by way of a comprehensive F-16 training solution for Romanian  and Ukrainian pilots, in addition to different regional F-16 operators. The Netherlands took the initiative and made 12 to 18 F-16s, which is able to stay property of the Dutch authorities, accessible for this function.

The primary 5 F-16s, a mixture of single seater F-16AM and two-seater F-16BM plane, flew this morning to Romania, with an official assertion confirming the ferry flight whereas a few of the plane had been seen on flight monitoring web sites. In line with the Mode-S identification, at the very least considered one of this Vipers comes from those that the RNLAF used to coach its pilots at Tucson Air Nationwide Guard Base, Arizona, and returned to Europe last year.

In line with the statement, the coaching middle in Romania will begin engaged on a refresher course for the employed F-16 instructors and later will begin coaching pilots. A selected emphasis has been placed on the truth that the plane will fly solely in NATO airspace.

Earlier this yr, on August 20, the Netherlands and Denmark announced the transfer of their F-16s, which are within the technique of being changed by the F-35, to Ukraine. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen mentioned that Denmark will switch 19 of their 43 F-16s, with the primary six as a result of be delivered round new yr, adopted by eight in 2024 and 5 in 2025. As for the Netherlands, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte mentioned the nation has 42 F-16s accessible however has but to determine whether or not all of them can be donated.

The route of one of many F-16s seen on Mode-S throughout the ferry flight to Romania. (Picture through RadarBox)

The Danish protection ministry confirmed that the coaching would begin in August in Denmark, run by a coalition of 11 nations, with Denmark saying that the primary outcomes of the coaching are anticipated in early 2024. The United States later joined the effort and a number of other Ukrainian pilots and maintainers already obtained language coaching at Lackland Air Pressure Base in San Antonio, Texas, and at the moment are coaching at Morris Air Nationwide Guard Base in Tucson, Arizona, facilitated by the Air Nationwide Guard’s 162nd Wing.

As for Romania, the nation at present operates 17 former Portuguese F-16s which can be joined quickly by 32 F-16s, lately acquired from Norway, whose deliveries are anticipated to start out this yr. The latter, that are anticipated to fly at the very least for ten years following a modernization program, substitute the lately retired MiG-21 Lancer. Romania, nonetheless, is already engaged on the post-F-16 future and has plans to acquire 32 F-35.

Stefano D’Urso is a contract journalist and contributor to TheAviationist primarily based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he is additionally finding out to attain a Grasp Diploma in Aerospace Engineering. Digital Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT methods utilized to the world of army operations and present conflicts are amongst his areas of experience.


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