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Ukraine conflict: Netherlands cancels F-16 sale to Draken International, freeing up airframes for Kyiv

The Netherlands is to provide Ukraine with 24 surplus F-16s. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The Netherlands has cancelled a previously announced sale of Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft to private training contractor Draken International, freeing up additional airframes for Ukraine.

The Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced the cancellation on 5 February, saying that negotiations had been suspended and that both parties had agreed to the move.

“The Netherlands had made agreements with [Draken International] in 2021 about the sale of 12 F-16s,” the MoD said. “However, this sale did not take place, after which the Netherlands offered Draken the opportunity to buy six F-16s in the future. This would be done under conditions to be determined. Now that the talks with Draken have ended, this is no longer the case.”

As noted by the MoD in its announcement, these six aircraft will now be added to the 18 F-16s that are now being prepared for delivery to Ukraine for a total donated fleet of 24. The remaining 18 aircraft from the RNLAF's recently retired F-16 fleet are destined for an F-16 training centre in Romania.

News of the cancelled sale to Draken International came weeks after the Netherlands said in late December 2023 that it had made the first 18 F-16s available to Ukraine. No details on the delivery timeline were provided, except that it would happen when trained pilots and suitable infrastructure were in place in Ukraine.

For more information on Dutch F-16 transfers to Ukraine, seeUkraine conflict: Netherlands makes first F-16s available for Ukraine

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