October 3, 2007:
Air Force has built a high tech air warfare training center in the Persian
Gulf, without anyone really noticing. There, "Red Flag" type training
has been provided for over six years. This all began in the 1990s, when the UAE
(United Arab Emirates) decided to establish closer ties with the United States,
especially military relationships. The UAE was particularly interested in
upgrading its air force.
There are two reasons for
this type of training at the UAE Air Warfare Center. The obvious one is to
improve the combat skills of pilots in the UAE, and other Arab nations. But
another reason, is to prepare Arab fighter pilots to defeat any Iranian
aggression. Despite the decrepit state of the Iranian military (as a result of
decades of embargoes), Iran is still a large nation, with large armed forces.
The UAE occupies most of the western coast of the Persian Gulf, but has a
population of less than three million and armed forces of only 65,000. There
are 70 million Iranians, and about half a million of them are in the military.
While the Iranian air force only has about 200 operational, and quite elderly,
combat aircraft, sheer numbers can be intimidating. The UAE has a hundred more
modern warplanes, and it uses the training assistance from the U.S. Air Force,
to provide a qualitative edge. The Americans also work with UAE commanders to
figure out what kind of surprises the Iranians might try to pull. Arab nations
fear the Iranians, who have dominated the region for thousands of years, and
have a long history of coming up with imaginative tactics, and using them
aggressively and often with success.