Uneasy Allies at Red Flag

United Arab Emirates Air Force and Air Defence F-16E Desert Falcon 3042 turns on final for the runway. The aircraft is from I Shaheen Squadron at Al Dhafra Air Base.
Edwin Schimmel

Nate Leong travelled to Nevada to watch a new-style Red Flag with some low-key attendees.


BACK IN August, Nellis AFB hosted the most interesting Exercise Red Flag (RF) for many years. It saw the Israelis working with the Pakistan and UAE Air Forces, in what could only be described as an uneasy alliance. So although it took place over five months ago, between August 15-26, it is worthy of inclusion. They all flew into the air base with very little fanfare or prior announcement by the local media. Unlike previous RFs which involved the Israeli Air Force arriving on mass, 16-4 had just ten F-16I Sufa (Storm) Block 50/52s from several squadrons, and two KC-707 Sakania tanker support aircraft. The scenario was based around a ‘regional conflict’ so there was no heavy strategic bomber participation this time.

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