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US, Saudi Arabia and other allies to take part in PAF ACES MEET 2021

Pakistan is hosting its second ACES MEET airforce exercise from March 27 onwards. Many of Pakistan's Middle Eastern allies and the US airforce will be participating in this exercise.

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is hosting a two-week multinational air exercise from March 27 onwards. Some of Pakistan’s top Middle Eastern allies, including Saudi Arabia and Palestine, are also going to participate, a PAF spokesman confirmed while talking to Arab News on Thursday.

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

Reportedly, The Royal Saudi Air Force and the United States Air Force will be participating with their aircrafts, however, the Iraqi Air Force and Palestinian paratroopers will attend the ACES MEET without any fighter jets.

The exercise is designed to help the participants benefit from each other’s diverse experiences and different aircrafts operations.

The participating crews usually simulate contemporary air combat tactics, utilizing state-of-the-art training aids.

Paratroopers of the Palestinian National Security Forces, which will be participating at ACES Meet 2021 hosted by the Pakistan Air Force, are seen in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on March 17, 2021. (Photo courtesy: Palestinian National Security Forces/Facebook)

The PAF spokesman while talking to Arab News 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.

Recently, Pakistan also participated in the Al-Saqoor II exercise in Saudi Arabia with the country’s fighter jets have been doing in the past as well.

In the past, Pakistan has also participated in the Zilzal exercise with Qatar, the Anatolian Eagle exercise with Turkey, and the Shaheen exercise with China.

The PAF spokesperson told the Saudi-based Arab News 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.

Pakistan ACES MEET 2021 is happening at a time when US has blocked exports of Engines to T129 Atak Helicopters to Turkey, which were supposed to be a part of deal between Pakistan and Turkey.

Read More: Pakistan again extends T129 helicopters deal with Turkey

In 2017 too, Pakistan hosted the first-ever multinational counter-terrorism air exercise. A total of eight countries participated at an unnamed operational base in Pakistan. Royal Saudi airforce and Turkish Airforce were a part of them.