Al Fursan to display at Royal International Air Tattoo
The UAE's aerobatics display team, Al Fursan, is to take its place among the world's top military performers when it makes a debut appearance at the UK's Royal International Air Tattoo in July.
The event is the highlight in the world calendar of military aerobatics and includes air forces from around the world. It takes place at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire on July 7-8.
Featuring seven Alenia Aermacchi MB-339A Italian trainer aircraft, the team first performed at the Dubai Airshow in November to mark the UAE’s 40th anniversary. The fighter pilots were trained in formation flying by the Italian Air Force display team the Frecce Tricolori, who also fly the same aircraft.
The team was then outstanding at the Bahrain International Airshow in January where it made its international debut.
Al Fursan team leader Lt Col Nasser Ahmad said: "The Al Fursan pilots and their director, Brigadier staff pilot Khaled Omar, are privileged to represent their country at the world’s largest military airshow. For us, the Air Tattoo offers an important opportunity to exchange ideas, build relations and share our experience with other military display teams. It will be an honour to perform our aerobatic display in the UK in July which we dedicate to our new British and European friends. Equally, the Al Fursan team will be very proud to paint the lovely British sky with the colours of the UAE flag."
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, head of the RAF, said he was pleased to welcome his Arab partners. He said: “I am delighted that Al Fursan has agreed to perform at this summer’s Air Tattoo. This will be the team’s first display in Europe and I can think of no better place for the team to demonstrate their flying prowess than at one of the world’s largest military airshows.”
Al Fursan will join a number of other international aerobatic display teams at this summer’s Air Tattoo, including the Patrouille Suisse.
Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said: “During the past 46 years, the Red Arrows team has performed more than 4,300 displays, projecting both the professionalism and capability of the Royal Air Force around the globe. That such a fledgling display team as Al Fursan, representing a comparatively young nation, should have the enthusiasm and confidence to make its European flying debut on such a significant stage speaks volumes. We are honoured to have been chosen by the UAE Air Force as the European airshow at which to demonstrate its military pilots' close formation aerobatic skills."
The Air Tattoo is staged annually in support of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust. Countries that have already confirmed they will be sending aircraft to the airshow include Brazil, Hungary, France, the US, Switzerland, Poland and Latvia.
PICTURED; The Al Fursan team ready to set the UK skies alight with the colours of the UAE. Image by Katsuhiko Tokunaga.