The Netherlands, alongside Romania and Lockheed Martin, opened the European F-16 Training Center (EFTC) in Romania on Monday, where Ukrainian and Romanian pilots will be trained to fly F-16 fighter jets. Outgoing Minister Kajsa Ollongren (Defense) highlighted at the opening ceremony how this demonstrates a shift in recent years towards intensified European defense cooperation.
✈️ A training center for F-16 fighters pilots is being opened in Fătesti, Romania – Suspilne media.
🇷🇴 pilots will start training tomorrow. The start date for 🇺🇦s is unknown yet – Dutch D Kajsa Ollongren.
The Netherlands will provide 12 to 18 fighter jets for training. pic.twitter.com/WiSyVZ8IfA
— Toronto Television / Телебачення Торонто (@tvtoront) November 13, 2023
The EFTC is located at Fetești Air Base in eastern Romania. The Dutch armed forces will make 18 F-16 fighter jets available for its use, with the first five having arrived last Wednesday. These fighter jets, remaining the property of the Netherlands, will be used to train Romanian and Ukrainian pilots. The American aerospace company Lockheed Martin will provide training and maintenance.
The training center was the result of initial proposals from the Netherlands and Denmark, and the United States soon joined the initiative. “It’s a multinational effort, together with the industry, to strengthen European security. To secure the airspace. For me, this is an example of future defense cooperation,” Ollongren said. ‘Because no single European country can ensure its own security. We must work together.”
It is expected that the first Ukrainians will begin their training in Romania at the beginning of next year. Pilots and technical staff from other NATO countries can also receive training there. Several Western countries have pledged to provide F-16s for the training center, as many NATO countries are replacing this aircraft with the F-35.
https://nltimes.nl/2023/11/13/netherlands-opens-european-f-16-training-center-romania The Netherlands opens European F-16 training center in Romania