The Dutch government has entered into a contract to sell 12 F-16 jets belonging to the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNAF) to a private U.S. company, Draken International as it makes way for F-35 aircraft which it is gradually inducting.
Draken International offers contracted air support to air forces around the world during exercises. The company earlier bought F-16 Fighting Falcons which were retired from the Israeli Air Force.
The RNAF F-16's are expected to be withdrawn from service during 2022. The contract contains an option for a further 28 F-16's to be sold, out of the 48 F-16s that are in the inventory of the RNAF.
These Fighting Falcons are expected to be phased out in batches by the end of 2024.
Dutch state secretary for defence B. Visser informed the Dutch parliament on June 29, according to notice published on the Netherlands Parliament website.
“I inform your House that agreement has been reached with Draken International on the sale of 12 F-16 aircraft, including associated materials. The aforementioned company is also the end user of the equipment. Draken International has been contracted by the US government for years to take on the role of adversary in US Air Force and Navy exercises. These aircraft will be used exclusively on the basis of government contracts for support tasks during (inter)national exercises and training on American territory. The US government monitors compliance with these agreements.
The aircraft will be available from the F-16 End Life of Type (ELOT) program, in which the F-16 fleet will be phased out. This concerns the sale of 12 F-16s that are expected to be taken out of service in 2022 as a result of the introduction of the F-35. In addition, the contract includes an option to sell another 28 F-16s. When using this option, I will inform your room in more detail. The 28 aircraft under the option are expected to be phased out in batches through the end of 2024. The phasing out plan for the F-16 aircraft is leading in the transfer of all aircraft, even if the phasing out plan is delayed and the end date of the F-16 is pushed back. Within the F-16 End Life of Type (ELOT) program, one other F-16 has already been sold to Belgium.”