Pakistani aircraft will fly alongside US, UAE and Israeli fighter jets during a military exercise in Nevada later this month, the US media reported on Wednesday.
The Aviationist magazine reported that six Pakistani AFF16C/D Block 52+ combat jets had already arrived in the United States to take part in the Green Flag and Red Flag exercises at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
The US Air Force describes Red Flag as its “premier air-to-air combat training exercise,” in which participants simulate dogfights to improve their aviation skills. Green Flag prepares pilots to fight in a combined air, ground and electronic threat environment.
In 2016, the US Air Force is holding four Red Flag exercises in Nevada. The first ran from January to February, the second from February to March and the third in July, while the final exercise will be conducted on Aug 15-26.
Besides USAF, Pakistan, UAE and Israeli air forces are also participating in the August exercise. The Israeli media reported that Israel is sending both fighter jets and cargo planes for the exercises.
“For the second and fourth Red Flag, we will be including foreign players which include the United Kingdom, Australia, Turkey, Italy, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, and Spain,” Col. Jeffrey Weed, a Combat Training Squadron commander in the US Air Force, announced after the 2015 Red Flag exercise.
The Israeli military said that their air force was only participating as a guest and the decision to include them in an exercise with aircraft from two Muslim nations was taken by the host country, the United States.
Earlier this year, a senior Israeli official told his country’s media that such exercises also gave Israel the opportunity to take part in “a form of roundabout” diplomatic strategy.
“[International exercises] are not just military, but strategic in nature. “And the strategic benefits are not always direct; they can also be roundabout.”