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How many jets does Ukraine have? Netherlands and Denmark to donate F-16s

The US provides the most military aid, followed by the UK and the EU (Joe Giddens / PA)
The US provides the most military aid, followed by the UK and the EU (Joe Giddens / PA)

The Netherlands and Denmark said they will provide up to 61 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine once pilot training has been successfully completed.

The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, has been visiting both nations following months of appeals to strengthen the Ukrainian air force.

Mette Frederiksen, the prime minister of Denmark, announced that her country would donate 19 jets: “hopefully” six around the beginning of the year, eight more the following year, and the final five in 2025.

The Dutch have not given a specific number, although Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands, did note that the country has 42 in its air force. The nation was already in the midst of swapping them out with more modern F-35s built in the US.

Reznikov informed Ukrainian media last week that training for the F-16 had started and mentioned that a number of Ukrainian engineers and technicians were also receiving training.

Previously, Ukraine revealed that it will not be able to operate the US-made F-16 fighter jets this coming autumn and winter due to a lack of training.

An air force spokesperson revealed the news during a telethon broadcast by Ukrainian television channels, adding: “We had big hopes for this plane, that it will become part of air defence, able to protect us from Russia’s missiles and drones terrorism.”

In March, the country had announced that Poland had agreed to send Kyiv heavy weaponry, taking a leading position among Nato partners.

Here is a look at how many jets Ukraine is estimated to have, what Poland promised to send over, and the countries that are helping to arm Ukraine.

How many jets does Ukraine have?

According to Forbes, Ukrainians had around 105 MiG-29s, Su-24s, and Su-25s before the Russians attacked — and, a year later, still have around 105 of these types.

It is estimated Ukraine still has up to 50 Su-27s. Forbes claims these might be Ukraine’s most useful jets as they are fast, manoeuvrable, and flexible.

How many jets is Poland sending?

Poland had promised Ukraine four MiG-29 fighter jets, which had been inherited from the former German Democratic Republic.

The German government approved Poland’s request in mid-April, with the defence minister Boris Pistorius saying: “I welcome the fact that we, in the federal government, have reached this decision together.”

Even before Russia invaded Ukraine, Poland was one of the loudest opponents of the Russian leadership in Europe.

It is one of the few Nato countries that by law is required to meet its two per cent of GDP defence spending commitment and is an active member of the European defence community.

Deploying MiGs is not out of the ordinary for Poland, and it fully complies with its Nato membership. That might alter the dynamic inside the alliance, serving as a stimulus for more nations to do so, or it might enrage nations like Hungary, who are against Nato getting more involved in the fight.

Who else is arming Ukraine?

Similarly to Poland, Denmark and the Netherlands are making generous donations of up to 61 jets to the nation.

At a news conference held in conjunction with the president of Ukraine at an airbase in Eindhoven, Rutte stated, “We can announce that the Netherlands and Denmark commit to the transfer of F-16 aircraft to Ukraine and the Ukrainian air force,” once “the conditions for such a transfer have been met,” he continued. The planes would be transferred from existing stockpiles.

The F-16s won't be moved until ground workers and pilots have received the necessary training. The process will takes six months to obtain the necessary pilot skills, plus an additional four months for the pilot crews to acquire the necessary level of technical English.

But by a wide margin, the US provides the most military aid, followed by the UK and the EU.

However, no other Nato countries have yet agreed to requests from Ukraine to send fighter jets, except for Poland, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

Recently, President Zelensky has declared that his country's forces urgently require Western battle tanks to protect its borders and drive Russian troops out of occupied territory.

The US, the UK, and Germany are sending tanks, and Germany is allowing other Western countries to send German-made tanks from their fleets.

The US is sending 31 Abrams tanks, the UK is sending 14, Germany is sending 14, and the US is sending 14 Challenger 2 tanks.

Many European nations employ the Leopard 2, which is said to be more fuel-efficient and easier to maintain than the majority of Western tanks.

Six Leopard 2 tanks are reportedly being sent to Ukraine by Spain.