Multinational PAF drill ‘in full swing’

ISLAMABAD: The air forces of the United States and Saudi Arabia are participating “in full swing” in a two-week drill organised by the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).

The commencement of Aces Meet 2021-1 — a multinational air force exercise aimed at maximising combat readiness of participating troops through air-to-air combat training — at an undisclosed operational airbase was announced earlier this week.

Saudi Arabia and the US have brought their combat aircraft and fairly large contingents of pilots and technical staff. The Royal Saudi Air Force contingent consists of 180 officials, including pilots and technicians, who arrived with several Tornado multirole combat aircraft and the Lockheed C-130 Hercules.

While the two armies are “actively participating” in the exercise, the air forces of Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan are invited as observers.

PAF Deputy Chief of Air Staff (Operations), Air Vice Marshal Waqas Ahmed Sulehri, was the chief guest at the opening ceremony held on Monday.

Addressing the exercise participants, Sulheri said the international exercises were not new but the particular cycle of ‘ACES Meet’ was unique due to the vast experience of the participants in combat operations in counterterrorism and composite flying domains.

“Multinational air exercise, ‘ACES MEET 2021-1’ is in full swing at an operational base of PAF. Participating air forces are actively engaged in multiple missions across the spectrum of airpower,” PAF said in a statement.

“The exercise also involves synergetic employment of various assets including special forces to enhance coordination and harmony between ground elements and air component of the campaign.”

The first exercise in this multinational series was organized by PAF in 2017.

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