The first five Ukrainian F-16 multirole fighters have landed at the new EFTC (European F-16 Training Centre) at Romania’s 86th base (Baza 86 Aeriana Fetesti). EFTC will provide training for Ukrainian pilots and technicians. For now, four European countries – the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Belgium – have theoretically promised up to 80 F-16 fighters to the Ukrainian Air Force.
The operation and construction of the EFTC at Fatesti Air Base, located in southeastern Romania, is coordinated by the Netherlands. It will also provide 12 to 18 F-16 multi-role fighter jets for the center. The aforementioned five F-16s remain the property of the Netherlands for the time being.
The EFTC’s first task will be to train Romanian and Ukrainian F-16 instructors, after which pilot training will begin. It will only be flown in NATO airspace. The grand opening of the EFTC will take place on Monday.
“Given the current geopolitical context and Romania’s strategic position in the Black Sea region, this center becomes essential for cross-border cooperation and strengthening security and solidarity within NATO,” Romanian defense officials said.
The introduction of the “F-16 system” into the Ukrainian Air Force is managed by the Netherlands together with Denmark. The necessary training and operational support is provided by the United States and especially by the American company Lockheed Martin.
A Dutch F-16 with camouflaged insignia before departing for Romania; larger photo / Minister of Defence