The UAE Air Force have for the first time participated in exercise Red Flag, held at Nellis Air Force Base in the US.

The Red Flag exercise is designed to test airmen skill regardless of aircraft capability and will build upon the military-to-military relationships between US and allied forces.

The UAE’s airmen flew a squadron of UAE-owned F-16E Desert Falcons based at the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Fighter Wing.

F-16Es feature conformal fuel tanks mounted on the top of the fuselage, digital colour screens in the cockpit and a powerful engine.

The fighter, known as generation 4.5 fighter, does not have capabilities equivalent to the fifth-generation F-22 Raptor or F-35 joint strike fighter, it possesses advanced avionics, thrust and fuel capacity.

The UAE airmen underwent an advanced training exercise before the Red Flag to familiarise themselves with US airspace.

The exercise takes place between 22 August and 5 September 2009.