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Netherlands Buys Ammunition for F-16s Multirole Fighter Sent to Ukraine.

| Defense News Army 2024

The Dutch government has allocated more than 150 million euros for the purchase of ammunition for F-16 fighter jets that will be sent to Ukraine, according to a statement from the Netherlands' Defense Ministry.
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Dutch government has allocated more than 150 million euros for the purchase of ammunition for F-16 fighter jets that will be sent to Ukraine. (Picture source: US DoD)

The statement specifies that this funding is intended for the purchase of air-to-ground weapons for the F-16s designated for Ukraine. These munitions, which can be released by F-16s, will be bought directly from the manufacturers. Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren announced this initiative following a recent meeting of the Defense Contact Group for Ukraine.

Additionally, the Netherlands is delivering (as previously promised) F-16 fighter aircraft to Romania for a training program intended for Ukrainian and Romanian pilots. This initiative includes not just the aircraft themselves but also all necessary spare parts and ammunition.

The Netherlands, in cooperation with Denmark and the United States, leads the air force segment of the UDCG. Eighteen Dutch F-16s have been made available for use in Romania for training purposes, while another batch of twenty-four F-16s is intended for delivery to Ukraine. Part of this group is currently being prepared for this transfer, in coordination with coalition partners.

The F-16 A/B Fighting Falcon, originally designed by General Dynamics and now produced by Lockheed Martin, is a multi-role fighter aircraft that has played a key role in the aerial arsenals of several armed forces around the world since its introduction. The F-16's first flight took place on February 2, 1974, with an official service start date of August 17, 1978. To this day, this aircraft remains in active service, demonstrating its durability and adaptability to technological advancements and military requirements. Its unit cost for the A version is around 20 million dollars.

The F-16 is equipped with a Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 jet engine, capable of delivering a thrust of 79 kN without an afterburner and 130 kN with an afterburner, enabling it to reach maximum speeds of 2,173 km/h (Mach 2.04). Its dimensions include a wingspan of 9.8 meters, a length of 14.8 meters, and a height of 4.8 meters, with a wing area of 27.87 m². The F-16 can fly at a maximum altitude of 15,200 meters with an impressive climb rate of 15,240 meters per minute, and it has a range of 550 kilometers.

In terms of load capacity, the F-16 can carry up to 12,000 kg of armament on an airframe that weighs 8,272 kg empty, with a maximum takeoff weight of 16,900 kg. Its internal armament includes a 20 mm M61A1 Vulcan cannon, while its external armament can vary between air-to-air missiles (such as the AIM-7 Sparrow, Sidewinder, and AMRAAM), air-to-ground missiles (such as the Maverick), anti-radar missiles (like the HARM), laser-guided bombs, JDAMs, or rockets.

The F-16 is also equipped with advanced avionic technology, including fly-by-wire flight controls, a heads-up display, a HOTAS (hands-on throttle-and-stick) system, several generations of radars (AN/APG-66, AN/APG-68, and more recently the active electronically scanned array AN/APG-83), a forward-looking infrared radar (FLIR), an ALR-56M radar warning receiver, Global Positioning System (GPS), Link 16 tactical data link, and AN/ALQ-131 electronic warfare pod.

Furthermore, the Netherlands plans to invest more than 200 million euros in drone technology, to purchase and donate a significant number of ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) drones to Ukraine. This purchase is being made in partnership with other allies and the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Minister Ollongren confirmed that these drones have already been used in combat and have proven their effectiveness on the battlefield.


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