First F-16 jets arrive at Romanian training centre
The first former Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon has been delivered to the new European F-16 Training Centre (EFTC) in Romania which could eventually be used to train Ukrainian pilots.
The aircraft touched down at the Fetești air base near Constanta, Romania, on 7 November, ahead of the formal opening of the EFTC.
A Letter of Intent (LoI) was signed by Lockheed Martin, Romania and the Netherlands in August to set up the EFTC. It will first be used to train Romanian pilots, but according to information released by the centre during the summer, it may eventually train Ukrainian pilots and other regional users of the F-16.
According to the Dutch MoD, the aircraft will remain the property of the Netherlands, but the country’s main markings have been removed. The Netherlands government said it will make between 12 and 18 aircraft available for the training centre.
'Together with Denmark and the US, the Netherlands is taking the lead in making F-16 capacity available for Ukraine,' the ministry noted in a statement.
Maintenance of the aircraft will be performed by Lockheed Martin and all training flights will be undertaken within NATO airspace, officials said.
The US has granted approval for the re-export of F-16s to Ukraine, leading to subsequent commitments from the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway to provide up to 61 aircraft to Kyiv. Additionally, Belgium has recently signalled its intention to potentially supply F-16s to Ukraine.
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