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Norway To Supply Two F-16s For Ukrainian Training
Norway is to supply two Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters and a cadre of flight instructors to support the training of Ukrainian pilots in Denmark.
Oslo has decided to follow other European allies in supporting the coalition to provide F-16s to Ukraine, which will see European F-16 operators Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands transfer F-16s to Kyiv to bolster its existing but increasingly overworked fleet of Soviet-era fighters and ground-attack aircraft. Norway is not currently planning to transfer its surplus F-16s to Ukraine, at least not yet. But officials say pilot training and education is an important part of the Norwegian donation.
Norway withdrew its F-16s from use at the end of 2021 and is now reliant on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for air defense duties. Some F-16s have been sold to Romania, while others remain in storage.
Oslo has already made sizable defense equipment transfers, including artillery and ground-based air defense systems.
Norwegian instructors and aircraft will be sent to Skrydstrup airbase in Denmark, where Ukrainian pilots are already training on the F-16.
In December the UK defense ministry announced that several Ukrainian students had transferred to Denmark following basic flying training with the UK Royal Air Force.
“Allied partners and states will work day and night with the goal of establishing a lasting and modern air force for Ukraine,” said Bjørn Arild Gram, Norway’s defense minister. “Ukraine has for a considerable period requested support for the establishment of a modern air force. This is necessary for the country to ensure its own security, and such an independent Ukrainian capability will also be crucial for broader European stability and security.”
Norwegian officials say the length of the deployment to Denmark will be “decided through dialogue with the other partners of this program.”
After receiving training in Denmark, some of the Ukrainian pilots are expected to be sent to the European F-16 Training Center—jointly established by the Dutch, Danish and Romanian governments—in conjunction with F-16 manufacturer Lockheed Martin at Fetesti, Romania. In Fetesti, they will train on Netherlands-provided F-16s that have been transferred to the school.