The training of Ukrainian pilots and technicians on F-16 fighter jets can take 6-8 months, said Minister of Defense of the Netherlands, Kajsa Ollongren, as reported by RBC-Ukraine.
Ollongren emphasized the importance of a thorough training process due to Ukraine's need for the aircraft in the ongoing war, stating, "The pilots need to know how to fly and fight on these aircraft. You need technicians to service the fighters. You need to know how to use the F-16 weaponry."
She estimated that it would take around 6-8 months to properly prepare these teams. Ollongren expressed optimism that the process would be expedited compared to other countries if everything goes smoothly. Additionally, she assured that the Netherlands is committed to swiftly transferring the aircraft to Ukraine.
Kajsa Ollongren said that the Netherlands will hand over all of its F-16 fighter jets to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but a few will be kept for the training of Ukrainian pilots.
"We have 42 aircraft, but some of them will be used for training, and the rest will be handed over to the Ukrainian Armed Forces," the minister said in an interview with Ukrainska Pravda.
According to her, training for pilots is ongoing and should be a continuous process.
"By the way, it won't necessarily be in the Netherlands, as we are currently considering a training centre in Romania. So these aircraft will be used wherever the training takes place, which you will always need. As long as you are using the F-16, you will be training new pilots, and you will need this training centre," Ollongren explained.
The Netherlands has announced that it will provide Ukraine with 42 F-16 fighters. In turn, Denmark will provide 19 aircraft, six of which will be delivered by the end of this year.