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Bahrain 2012: UAE backing Bahrain Show

Posted 19 January 2012 · Add Comment

Bahrain's GCC ally the UAE is strongly supporting BIAS. The UAE Air Force and Air Defence has dispatched its new Al Fursan aerobatic team with its seven Aermacchi MB339NATs (plus two spares), as well as a quartet of fighters.

Dassault MirageThe latter consist of two Dassault Mirage 2000-9s (pictured) and a pair of Lockheed Martin F-16E Desert Falcons, all drawn from the Fighter Wing at Al Dhafra in Abu Dhabi.

Both the F-16 and the Mirage 2000 are displaying at the show. Captain Massuad Al Alfalahi is flying the Mirage 2000 using wingtip ‘smokewinder’ smoke generators to highlight its formidable slow speed handling and high angle of attack capabilities, while the F-16 flies a more dynamic ‘classic fast jet’ display routine.

The UAE Air Force and Air Defence is actively seeking a replacement for its Mirages, and for several years was widely expected to sign up for the Dassault Rafale.

The French bid seemed to have been derailed at the Dubai Air Show, however, when Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the UAE Armed Forces, criticised what he called “uncompetitive and unworkable” commercial terms, and when renewed UAE interest in the Boeing F-15 Eagle and Eurofighter Typhoon was revealed.

Earlier this month, it was reported that the General Staff of the UAE Air Force (UAEAF) had proposed limiting its future fighter plans to the F-15, F-16 and the Eurofighter Typhoon.

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