The first five F-16 fighter jets of the Royal Netherlands Air Force have landed at the Fetesti Air Base in Romania to train pilots from Ukraine and NATO countries at the European Training Center (EFTC), the Dutch Defense Ministry announced on Nov. 7.
Between 12 to 18 F-16s will be provided for the training initiative. All the jets will remain the property of the Netherlands.
The EFTC will initially use the F-16s for a refresher course for its hired F-16 instructors, followed by pilot training. Training flights will be conducted exclusively in NATO airspace.
The Netherlands, Lockheed Martin, and Romania agreed on Aug. 31 to set up an F-16 Pilot Training Centre in Romania. This comes after the US approved the re-export of the F-16s to Ukraine, which was closely followed by the Netherlands and Denmark, which pledged to donate 42 and 19 jet respectively.
Norway later also confirmed its intention to provide F-16s, followed by Brussels' recent announcement of a possible delivery of F-16s to Ukraine in 2025.
Romania announced on July 6 the opening of a regional training center for F-16 fighter pilots that will be available to its NATO partners and allies, including Ukraine.
The training of Ukrainian pilots on American F-16 fighters could take from five to nine months, said Pentagon spokesperson Brigadier General Pat Ryder on Oct. 31.
Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine