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U.S. Repositioning Aircraft in Dubai Ahead of Sandstorm

Nov. 20, 2013 - 11:06AM   |  
The US plans to reposition aircraft on display at the Dubai Airshow ahead of a sandstorm expected to hit Thursday morning. (MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

DUBAI — The U.S. military is repositioning a dozen aircraft away from the flightline at the Dubai Airshow in advance of a sandstorm that is expected to hit the area Thursday.

A decision to move the aircraft from the flightline at the show was made Wednesday afternoon as forecasters called for high winds and lightning.

Safety of aircrews and aircraft is the major concern, said Maj. Dave Faggard, a spokesman for Air Forces Central Command.

The storm is expected to begin around 6 a.m. Thursday. Winds of more than 60 miles per hour were expected inland, according the United Arab Emirates National Center for Meteorology and Seismology.

Some U.S. aircraft were being moved to the Dubai World Central airport, about 30 miles south of downtown Dubai. Other aircraft are being flown from the site.

The U.S. military operates dozens of aircraft from bases in the region. It is not clear if the show aircraft would relocate to those installations or if the aircraft at those locations would be moved as well.

“It is our understanding that the U.S. DoD aircraft are due to be moved to the maintenance area at the Dubai Airshow as a precaution to any adverse weather over night and will be repositioned on the static display tomorrow,” F&E Aerospace, the air show organizer, said.

U.S. aircraft at the show included Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets, Bell-Boeing V-22 Ospreys, a Northrop Grumman E-2D Hawkeye, Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle, Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules, Bell AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom and Boeing P-8 Poseidon.

U.S. officials were going to reassess the situation Thursday morning local time.

A British government official confirmed all exhibitors have been advised of the potential adverse weather on Thursday. A spokesman said all engineering equipment and aircraft would be secured in hangars, if available, or moved to safer locations at the airport.

The Royal Air Force has a Eurofighter Typhoon and a squadron of BAE Red Arrow Hawk trainers.

Airbus officials said they have no plans to move the A400M or CN-295 at the show. They did note that they are monitoring the situation.

A sandstorm canceled flying displays on the first day of the show.

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