Netherlands to deploy F-35 fighters in Bulgaria under NATO Air Policing mission

Netherlands deploy F35 Bulgaria NATO
Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35A.

The Netherlands will soon deploy two fifth generation F-35A aircraft in Bulgaria under the NATO Air Policing mission. The stelth fighters will conduct aerial surveillance activities in the Black Sea region in April and May, according to NATO Allied Air Command.

"All efforts are aimed at de-escalating the situation through dialogue and diplomacy. Ultimately, this is in the interest of all parties involved. At the same time, it is important to be prepared for the undesirable scenario that conversations fail", said Kajsa Ollongren, the Netherland's Minister of Defence.

The news comes a few weeks after the Dutch Lightning II fleet reached Initial Operational Capability (IOC).

The Netherlands is the first ally to deploy fifth-generation fighter jets on this mission in southeastern Europe, strengthening its contribution to NATO's collective defense.

At home, Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 fighters have conducted NATO Air Policing above the BENELUX area with the Belgian Air Force since 2017. The Netherlands deployed their F-16s to lead NATO's Baltic Air Policing in 2005 and 2017 and augmented the mission in 2014.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Source: NATO Allied Air Command

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