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China and UAE go wing to wing in first joint exercise

A two-seat JL-10 trainer attached to a regiment of the Naval Aviation University rises up to the sky during a flight training exercise in early February, 2023. Photo: Xu Yinglong.

The People’s Republic of China and the United Arab Emirates will host their first joint air force exercise later this month.

The People’s Republic of China and the United Arab Emirates will host their first joint air force exercise later this month.

Aircraft from both countries will take part in the China-UAE Falcon Shield-2023 joint air force exercise in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in August, according to the PRC Ministry of National Defense.

The inaugural military exercise builds on an export deal announced in February this year for the sale of China’s domestically developed two-seater L15 (JL-1) advanced trainer jet to the UAE.

That sale reportedly included 12 L15 aircraft with aerial refuelling capability for an undisclosed amount, with an option for 36 additional aircraft which can be used for fighter jet training, air-to-air combat and ground attack missions.

The training aircraft has previously run demonstration flights in the UAE at the biennial Dubai Airshow and was displayed with UAE markings as a stationary exhibit at IDEX 2023 defense exhibition in Abu Dhabi earlier this year. At that time, it reportedly had a max level flight speed of 1,000km/h, service ceiling of 13,500 metres, and range of 1,700 kilometres.

The aircraft has been in service with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force since 2012 under the designation JL-10.

Robert Dougherty

Robert Dougherty

Robert is a senior journalist who has previously worked for Seven West Media in Western Australia, as well as Fairfax Media and Australian Community Media in New South Wales. He has produced national headlines, photography and videography of emergency services, business, community, defence and government news across Australia. Robert graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in Public Relations and Journalism at Curtin University, attended student exchange program with Fudan University and holds Tier 1 General Advice certification for Kaplan Professional. Reach out via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via LinkedIn.
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