The United Arab Emirates not only attracted the Lockheed Martin F-22 to the Dubai air show, but also staged perhaps the first mock dogfights between F-22s, Dassault Rafales and Eurofighter Typhoons.
In parallel with the air show, the advanced tactical leadership course at Al Dhafra air base near Abu Dhabi hosted a five-nation fighter exercise, says the UK Royal Air Force.
France, the UK and the USA each sent six of their top-line fighters to the exercise, and those were joined by jets from the UAE and Pakistan. The Abu Dhabi manoeuvres marked the first publicly known event where the F-22 met Europe's two most advanced fighters.
The Rafale previously flew against USAF Boeing F-15Cs during the Red Flag exercise at Nellis AFB in August 2008. The USAF, however, withheld the F-22 from the Red Flag manoeuvres, which also included South Korean Boeing F-15Ks and Indian air force Sukhoi Su-30MKIs.
Multinational exercises provide air forces the rare opportunity to become exposed to the tactics, capabilities and limitations of countries using rival equipment.