Saudi Arabia, Middle East to participate in PAF counterterror exercise


Islamabad – Staff Reporter:

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) will host a two-week-long multinational air exercise from March 27 in which some of the country’s top Middle Eastern allies, including Saudi Arabia and Palestine, are also going to participate, a PAF spokesman confirmed.

The ACES MEET 2021 exercise is designed to maximize the combat readiness of all participants by providing them a realistic training environment for air combat and counterterrorism operations.

“The Royal Saudi Air Force and the United States Air Force will be participating with their aircrafts,” added the spokesman who did not want to be named. “However, the Iraqi Air Force and Palestinian paratroopers will attend the exercise without fighter jets.”

“The exercise will help the participants benefit from each other’s diverse experiences and different aircrafts operations,” he continued.

The PAF spokesman said the Pakistani side would use F16 and JF17 fighter jets while the Royal Saudi Air Force would bring Tornado aircrafts. He said the PAF enjoyed close cooperation with many countries in the region and frequently participated in bilateral exercises with them.

“We have been part of different exercises with Saudi Arabia in the past,” he said. “Recently, we participated in Al-Saqoor II exercise in Saudi Arabia with our aircrafts.”

The PAF official added that Pakistan had also participated in Zilzal exercise with Qatar, Anatolian Eagle exercise with Turkey and Shaheen exercise with China.

“The full participation of the Royal Saudi Air Force is a reaffirmation that both countries are doing their best to enhance bilateral cooperation and ties,” he noted.

The PAF spokesperson said the participants of the exercise would follow strict COVID-19 protocols, adding that the Pakistan Navy had also successfully conducted the recent Aman-2021 exercise during the pandemic.